Your ethical quandary for the day: Your family is trapped on a hot-air balloon falling fast to the ground. Who do you throw overboard to save the others – your kids or your spouse?
In an article in the Daily Mail, Jim Keeble, a father of three, describes his reaction to the question.
His first response: "Neither, I’d throw myself first." (Not an option, his wife correctly told him.) And after that he … hesitated.
His wife, Jessica, did not: "You," she told him. "Obviously."
Which leads to Mr. Keeble’s revelation: While his wife may love the kids more than him (or at least be willing to sacrifice his life for their future), he acknowledges that he loves his wife more than the children. And that’s taboo, he argues, because you are never supposed to admit that you might love someone more than your children.
"Was I wrong for not knowing instantly whom I love more, my wife or my children?" he asks in the article. "When I clearly should have saved my offspring?"
Ultimately, the essay is a love letter to his wife, with whom he is "besotted." And he does point out that he wouldn’t hesitate to throw himself "in front of a bus" for his three tots, now between the ages of five and two. But when it comes to ranking them, it would seem, Jessica is the one he couldn’t live without.
In these child-centric times, other parents have trod into controversy with public declarations of their love standings. As Mr. Keeble points out, country singer Keith Urban earned kudos and criticism when he said he loved his wife, Nicole Kidman, more than their two daughters. "As a kid, all I needed to know was that my parents were solid. Kids shouldn’t feel like they are being favoured. It’s a dangerous place.’
Writer Ayelet Waldman caused the same mixed reaction when she confessed in a New York Times piece that she also loved her husband more than her kids, and could imagine, should tragedy strike, life without them, but not life without him.
In the end, Mr. Keeble puts it all down, too simplistically, to biology: "My wife," he concludes, "cannot help saving her children and I cannot help saving the woman I find so attractive."
Do you think mothers and fathers tend to answer this question differently? How would you answer it (and explain your reasons)?