The passing of life from parent to child is one of the greatest privileges that come to men and women. seeing one’s children grow and develop is one life’s great satisfactions. A parent delights in the observation that his child is like himself.
With the privilege of parenthood comes responsibility for the child’s welfare. A parent’s care of the child does much to determine how strong and healthy the child will be. A parent’s influence to the child, both by word and example, does much to determine what the child’s intellect and character will be.
This passing on of life from one generation to the next has physical components as well as philosophical. In this section we are concerned mostly with the physical components of parenthood.We shall begin our study of the human body and human relationships with conception, the beginning of life, which occurs nine months before the birth of a baby.
Six-year-old Sally questioned her mother: “Mamma, why did you tell the neighbor lady that baby brother Edward look likes Daddy? Daddy wasn’t even here when Edward was born. He was on trip to chicago. Remember?”
Obviously Sally was not yet acquainted with the facts of life. The actual beginning of a human life dates back nine months before birth to the occasion when the father and mother shared in making available the sex cells which, as they combined, provided the biological elements from which a new human life is formed.
In terms of the inherited traits parents pass on to their children, the father’s influence is as great as the mother’s each parent has contributed one sex cell. The two cells unite to form a single cell from which the entire body of the child develops. From conception onward to the time of birth the mother’s relationship to the child is more important than that of the father, for it is within her body that the child develops. But in terms of parenthood, embracing the responsibility for bringing the child into existence, a child’s father and mother are involved equally.