By some accounts, it's a miracle. A 96-year-old dad named Ramajit Raghav from India has become the world's oldest father, again. Two years ago he was named the world's oldest dad when he fathered a son at 94. But now that his wife has once again delivered a child, bringing him to two kids at 96, he's broken his own world record.
Woohoo. Pass the Metamucil, and let's celebrate! Just don't pass him the baby, he might not be able to hold it.
OK, I kid there. Sort of.
The proud new papa is apparently pretty spry even though he's facing 100 right in the eyes. The 96-year-old father has spent a life eating healthy and avoiding alcohol, which explains how he's made it some 30 years longer than the average life expectancy in his country.
It's a pretty amazing feat. But the distinction of "world's oldest dad" points to the very obvious question. What happens next? What happens when his age catches up with him? What happens when he can't care for his kids because he decided to wait so long to have them?
It reminds me of the sort of parent who helps create a child and then provides only child support to his or her ex, refusing to have physical contact with the child. We wouldn't call them a good parent for making that choice, even if they are financially supporting the child. They're a parent, sure, but a good one? Not really.
The same has to be said for parents who create a child at an age so advanced that science dictates they won't be around much longer.
Raghav may have provided for these kids and for his wife financially -- although he admits his financial resources are limited -- but actual parenting extends far beyond creation and monetary support. Kids need emotional support from a parent. They need someone who kisses boo boos, who tests them on their spelling words, who is there to take pictures on prom night.
Most parents can reasonably expect they'll be around to do that. I should be clear: good parents die all the time, sadly. What sets them apart from someone who creates a child in their 90s is that they didn't go into parenting expecting to leave their kids behind. They didn't set their kids up to be short a parent on purpose.
A man who decides to make a baby at 96 does. He has made the decision to be a father selfishly, based more on his own needs than his ability to be a good dad. That's not a miracle.
What do you think of the world's oldest dad? Miracle or selfish dad?
Image via robscomputer/Flickr