Book Review Of The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide For Parents

January 5, 2013 at 12:09 am , by 

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I believe if there is any change I feel I need to make in my life, I need to make that change no matter what day it is, as long as that day is still “today.”

However, it just so happens that around January 1st of 2013, I officially decided I want to make a point to stop participating in the polarization of America.

To quote Jimmy in one of my favorite movies,That Thing You Do, “I….. I quit. I quit. I quit…”.

In other words, I am choosing to see both Democrats and Republicans as good people.

I am rejecting the belief that “the other side” is completely irrational and/or evil, no matter how extreme or overzealous I am conditioned to believe they are, thanks in part to pseudo news channels like CNN and Fox News.

That goes for whatever “the other side” happens to be, not just political affiliations: pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-gay marriage vs. anti-gay marriage, attachment parenting vs. supporters of the “cry it out” method, gun control reform vs. no gun control reform…

Basically, on all of these controversial issues, the side I am now on is technically… neither. Because I now publicly associate with the third party in favor of removing the “vs.” between the two polarizing sides.

Granted, I still have my personal opinions of how I feel about these polarizing topics, but I am much more interested in attempting to help tone down the collective angst regarding all the controversial issues that divide America.

I am tired of adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.

With that being said, I was pretty skeptical a couple of months ago when I was approached by Susan Terkel, one of the authors of the then-upcoming book, The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide for Parents.

Knowing that my collection of blog posts on circumcision had put me in the hot seat with dozens of my readers, on several occasions, I had officially decided to retire from ever writing about circumcision again.

Then I received a preview copy of The Circumcision Decision in the mail. After reading it, I decided I actually wanted to participate in promoting the book, as much as possible.

In fact, I was so passionate about this book that the authors asked me to write a blurb for it, which is printed on the very first page, as well as, the back cover of the book:

“With grace, wisdom, and class, The Circumcision Decision impressively presents both sides of the story in such a balanced narrative, that some of us who have already made up our minds beforehand may now find ourselves challenged by the flip side.”

I proudly associate my name with The Circumcision Decision and am pleased to announce it was nominated as a 2012 finalist for the Books For A Better Life Award: Childcare/Parenting.

This book, which is now officially published and available for sale on its website, is the perfect answer to the circumcision controversy and, more importantly, to any soon-to-be parents of a son who are trying to best educate themselves on deciding whether to circumcise their son, or to leave him intact.

My guess is, no matter which side of the circumcision decision a parent lands, reading this book will simply give them the courage, confidence, and closure on how they honestly personally feel about circumcision to begin with.

 

Love,

Daddy

Yes, Facial Cream Is Made From Foreskins… Why, Does That Bother You?

Intactivists’ Responses To AAP’s Revised Circumcision Policy

August 28, 2012 at 5:16 am , by 

21 months.

Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its stance on circumcision, saying the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you are a soon-to-be parent of a baby boy who has been trying to figure out whether or not circumcision is right for your son, then the AAP’s statement is good news. Now you can have some closure on this subject.

Circumcision it is. Done.

But if you are an Intactivist, one who actively campaigns against circumcision, then the American Academy of Pediatrics’ revised circumcision stance is bad news:

After all, it means that an organization that most parents would find to be respectable and trustworthy is justifying an unnecessary tradition of genital mutilation.

The AAP’s revised policy takes away the credibility of what Intactivists have been trying to tell us all along.

So much for the neutrality of this article: I’m not an Intactivist, by the way.

Like most parents who have decided to circumcise their son, I am not and have never been passionate about the subject of circumcision.

However, on three different occasions now, I have explained what propelled me to choose circumcision:

Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?

Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral?

Dadvice #7: A Skeptic’s Letter To Intactivists

When it was all said and done, I had no problem saying this to Intactivists:

You may be right.” It’s just that ultimately, I don’t care if they’re right. What’s done is done.

It became evident to me that the only way I could find shelter from the tidal wave of violent comments I received in those three Dadvice articles was to A) repent of the sin of circumcising my son, B) start using The Dadabaseas a platform to preach Intactivism, and C) make an oath to not circumcise my next son, should I ever have one.

That sort of parenting extremismsimply turns me off to their ideas, as valid as some of their points may be.

The vibes I have received from most Intactivists have been saturated in condescension, sarcasm, and prejudice.

I realize that stating my opinion on this today is only throwing gasoline on the fire; further perpetuating the frenemy relationship I have with Intactivist readers. Maybe I’m just curious to see if Intactivists will collectively be clever enough to learn how to be relevant in how they communicate with us unbelievers?

Will Intactivists kill me with their kindness? Will they prove me wrong when I say they are condescending to those of us who do not believe the same way as they do?

For their sake, I hope so.

Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?

March 20, 2012 at 11:19 pm , by 

16 months.

Though usually this series is for readers asking my unprofessional and unlicensed opinion as a dad, today’s episode is a strange exception. I will simply be responding to a good question asked by a reader of Dadvice #4: Would You Recommend Using A Midwife? when he left this comment:

“You chose to have ‘a natural as possible delivery’ but still chose to circumcise your son? There’s NOTHING natural about a circumcision…where’s the disconnect?”

You’re right. For a guy who is so self-proclaimed “natural” when it comes to medicine and food and lifestyle in general, it appears to be a double standard that I would force circumcision upon my son who was incapable of making that decision himself.

So how is circumcision natural? It’s not.

And that’s the whole point: Circumcision is not natural.

I do believe in the hype and subscribe to the dogma that circumcision is “cleaner” and prevents urinary track infections and all that good stuff that has not necessarily been clearly proven. I’m aware of all the arguments for and against circumcision: I read them all on Wikipedia today.

But for me, my support of circumcision is a personal one: It has to do with Biblical teachings. As I’m sure you know, circumcision goes back to a covenant between God and Abraham; a commandment for the Jews. From there, it also has become popular among Muslims and Christians.

In particular though, why would a Christian Gentile such as myself observe a commandment so blatantly Jewish? Why pick and choose certain parts of the Jewish law to observe when the Apostle Paul in the New Testament made it pretty clear that Christians do not have to eat kosher food or become circumcised?

With me being Mr. Natural and all, I pay special attention to the Old Testament concerning random commandments God gave to the Jews; because sometimes though not specifically mentioned, it has something to do with health.

He instructed them not to eat pork and shellfish; which are extremely low on the food chain.

God didn’t point out the fact that that eating pork would be the leading cause of people getting intestinal parasites, but it is. Why are so many people allergic to shellfish? Because they are the bottom feeders of the ocean; they are slightly toxic.

Why did God tell His people not to eat milk products with beef? Because, as a Jewish man from Israel explained it to me one time, eating the two together in the same meal slows down digestion and promotes constipation.

So two and a half years ago, I converted to a kosher diet(That eventually led me to become a vegetarian.)

Similarly, I believe circumcision is like that. God didn’t make this commandment for His people in the name of health; but ultimately I think that has a lot to do with it.

Back to my point at the beginning, circumcision is not natural. Instead, it’s man’s recognition of God’s instruction and intervention.

And I think that concept has everything to do with faith in God: As a believer, I am constantly having to make a conscious decision to go against my own selfish desires; like choosing to love my neighbor as myself.

That is not natural.

Sure, ultimately I try to be as natural as I can. Unless I feel that there’s something health-wise I can learn by observing God’s random commandments with the Jewish people; though as a Christian, it’s not necessary I do so.

Yeah, I know: I’m kinda weird.

dad from day one: Baby Boot Camp

Week 1.

Regarding immediate life in the home front and finding a method to the madness, my wife and I are starting to get things figured out.  When Jack needs a diaper change, I put in his pacifier, “shush” him, and place my right hand over his chest while my wife handles the dirty business, delicately cleaning around his healing circumcised penis and belly button (similar to playing the Operation board game by Milton Bradley).  Regarding sleep schedules, my wife has come up with this gracious plan: On weeknights, I sleep in the guest bedroom on a futon bed from midnight until 6 AM for 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then I get ready to leave for work.  When I arrive home 12 hours later, I do whatever my wife needs me to, including but not limited to rocking him, holding him, and helping with the feedings.  But during the weekends, I pretty much just take naps when I can.

Yes, this is my new normal.  I look at the situation for my wife and I as “baby boot camp”.  We are being broken down to the point now where we see two hour naps as a valuable prize, as sleep becomes the new currency in life.  Though so many people have told us the “sleep when the baby sleeps” rule, he inconveniently sleeps between 4:30 and 8:00 PM, a time slot where I am always widest awake and eating dinner.  Hopefully keeping him awake during this time will push back his schedule enough to ensure better sleep time for his parents.

I figure if we can make it through the difficulties of breastfeeding and learning to deal with sleep deprivation, we can officially handle all else that will come our way in raising him.  So I remind myself that every good and present father has been through this too.  I look at parenting as a necessary rite of passage for myself as a human being.  It’s something I was meant to do in order to fully serve my purpose here on Earth; never really knowing all the positive chain-reacting side-effects that my influence on him will cause in the world.  Deep.