96-Year-Old Is World's Oldest & Most Selfish New Dad

Rant 57

baby handBy 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

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Rhodin Rhodin

The way I understand it, if your marriage doesn't produce children in India, you're considered cursed.  That's why you see senior citizens going into fertility clinics over there and that's why this guy had two kids at 96.  He didn't want his wife to be an outcast.

nonmember avatar Anna

The Indian culture is waaaay different from your prom-going, boo-boo-kissing one. Parenting is a lot different for them than it is for us.

zandh... zandhmom2

I don't call it a miracle or selfish.  You're right, people die all the time leaving behind small children. My dad died at 36 leaving behind 4 children, so I personally know that it sucks but it is life.  On the other hand, my old boss was 64 when he started his "second" family.  Everyone talked behind his back about how horrible it was of him to do this but it has been 17 years now and his 2 boys are 17 and 12 and he is still going strong.  The love that he has given to his kids will and has exceeded the judgement that he had received for having them so late in life.

Nancy Dukewich

Who is going to support these two children when dad dies? How old is his wife? Does he have any grown children? It takes more than donating sperm to be a dad. Time will tell.

nonmember avatar marie

It all depends on how you look at life or the culture. Look at the Bible story of Abraham and Sarai, she was barren and both were in their late nineties when they were blessed with their first child. I think it's a blessing and at times wished I had more other than my 2 boys. It was not God's designed to limit children or use contriceptives.

nonmember avatar MrsPinkey

I think it's a beautiful thing. I don't think it's just about the Indian culture. It's human nature. I would like to know how old was the mother? Did they use fertility drugs? Had she not gone thru menopause? It's still a beautiful thing and a blessing. Congrats to them.

Hannah Mills

I don't understand how his age makes him selfish. With modern science, women going through menopause can get their periods again and concieve, well past their prime, yet people get excited when a 60 year old woman gives birth. I think this is just judgmental for the sake of judging.

Erica Stein

I think it's his business. Judgmental article.

nonmember avatar Sonier

I agree with Ms. Stein in that this article is judgemental. I don't consider this to be good journalism at work.

Rebecca E. Venegas

OMG I did not think that was possible but well I am living proof of elder parents. My natural parents were past their early years for parenting. My natural dad was 67 years old and my natural mother was 42 years old. I am 45 years old with a 17 year old. I had my child when I felt it was the right time too. So when is the right time in life to have a baby I suppose when the child is wanted and loved by two people that really love children. Is it a crime to create a family? Last I heared it was pretty much a choice... Afterall, maybe this child has a purpose in the world... and needed to be this 96 old man's child...

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