Two recent car commercials have used the transition from couplehood to parenthood as a way to highlight the need for purchasing vehicles. One commercial spot takes a decidedly pro-child position and the other takes a decidedly pro-selfishness position. These commercials are a great study in the competing ideologies for reproduction that exist, sadly, within the Christian church in America.
The first commercial is for the Honda CR-V crossover.
It begins with the female character stating, “I think I want a baby” and the male character then goes off on a panic attack.
But, he wants to see the Northern Lights.
But, he wants to go spelunking.
But, he wants to build a fighting robot.
By the end of the commercial, he agrees to the request, but adds “Okay, just a few things we need to do first.”
Now. I understand what this ad is supposed to communicate. It is supposed to communicate that life sneaks up on us. That we need to be better prepared for all the “surprises” that hit us. That we need to be flexible in life. I think each of these are great comments. However, at the heart of this commercial is something much more dangerous — a self-centered ideology.
The first time I saw this commercial I wanted to have a conversation with this couple wherein I posed a number of questions:
1. Why is having kids a function of your desire, instead of the social/natural progression of your marriage? I mean, isn’t that why people get married? To start families?
Now-a-days young couples get bombarded by terrible advice from older couples. “Enjoy your first few years of marriage and don’t rush into having kids. Kids will ruin your couplehood.” Why are kids considered to be such a drag? If kids are a drag, then why have them at all? If they are not a drag, then why not have them as soon as the Lord allows?
And furthermore, why get married if kids are not an immediate option? I ask folks this question all the time and the usual response is, “Kids are expensive and we need to save up first.” My response is always the same, “Then don’t get married until you are financially able to support a family.” I often feel like Christians get married in order to have sex without guilt. But sex leads to having kids, so why not factor that financial need into the mix and not get married until you can afford a family (Somewhere, Dave Ramsey is saying, “AMEN!”)?
2. This brings up another confusing aspect of this commercial. Why do humans believe that they are the center of the reproductive process? Here is a not so dirty secret in baby making: Many couples struggle with infertility. In other words, kids are not a given. So, why does this couple presume that just because they have decided to start having kids that kids will be an automatic? This presumption takes God out of the center of the universe and puts mankind in that spot. And this is a dangerous ideology both for life and for reproductive purposes — one that, I sense, has been afforded to humans since the contraceptive boom of the 60s and 70s.
3. Why are trips to Alaska, a cave, and robot wars a higher priority than having kids? I want to ask this couple what they think about telling their future children about the time before they were born. How are the kids going to feel that robots and stars were more of a priority than they were? Is this really what these parents want to communicate to their children?
Now, I admit. I may be taking this commercial beyond its intended communication value. But the whole campaign feels gross and icky to me, especially in light of this Nissan commercial.
In this spot, the dad is initially thrilled, but immediately begins to take stock of the things that need to change to prepare for the coming child. He immediately walks outside and laments the prospect of giving up his sports car. But then he turns his sports car into a sedan to accomodate his growing family. By comparison, the dad is equally shocked by the change of life, but is noticeably more engaged and excited at the prospects of a family.
In the end, I pray that Christian couples would be more like Nissan and less like Honda in their marriage/family worldview.