None of my sons are circumcised.
We have three boys. When we found out we were having our first son, it was one of the first decisions we made for him. Tasked with the responsibility to care for this tiny boy, the issue of circumcision was a big one for us. Though, as parents, it is our responsibility to care for and protect our children, there are certain decisions that fall into the proverbial gray area. Circumcision is one of those topics.
For many parents, circumcision is a no-brainer. They figure a son should look like his father. If dad is circumcised, the son should be likewise. For other parents, it’s a much more critical issue. Issues of cleanliness, future sexual activity, culture, and even social stigma factor into the decision of whether or not to circumcise.
For my wife and I, our decision rested on two distinct factors: necessity and religion.
We spent a lot of time exploring whether or not a surgical procedure at such a young age was necessary, especially when it’s a procedure that’s mostly only beneficial for aesthetic reasons.
We worried about his future school days and specifically possible time spent in a middle or high school locker room. Would it matter if he looked different “down there?” Would anyone, in our vastly changing and diverse culture, actually notice? We thought about his future spouse and whether or not she would be turned off by an uncut man. Hygiene was an issue for us. Will a boy really keep himself clean so as not to incur infection?
We decided our answers to these questions weren’t strong enough to warrant a decision. Future locker rooms full of boisterous young men and not “fitting in” with the rest of the “cut” boys was too much of a far-off semi-possibility. His future spouse will likely be mature enough to handle the news that he’s uncut when he has that conversation with her before marriage. Even if she’s apprehensive about it, some research from HuffPo shows that most women with an open mind will accept it. That’s especially true of women who don’t like to be objectified and told how their bodies should look according to cultural norms. As far as hygiene goes, it’s all about education. Teach a boy in the way he should wash, and he will.
Our other factor in deciding whether or not to circumcise was religious. There are many faiths that require circumcision in order for a child to grow up and be devout. Those who practice Judaism and those who are Islamic require circumcision. We’re neither one of those. We’re Christian. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know why any Christian would want to circumcise their boys. Being circumcised was a requirement of the Law according to the Bible. However, when Jesus came on the scene, circumcision of the genitals was done away with, and it was explained that a “circumcision of the heart” is what was required. Circumcision of the heart was a pure heart before God, which was given to us through Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection.
Taking our faith into consideration with the logical reasons to not circumcise, my wife and I chose not to go through with it. Since then, we’ve had two more boys equaling three boys total in our house. We’ve had few issues with foreskins. Occasionally they get red or inflamed, the young boys will pull at them making me wince in pain for them, but as my wife’s great grandmother, with her strong mountain drawl from West Virginia said, “It’ll stretch a mile, for it tears an inch.” We’ve been pleased with our decision not to circumcise, and we think our boys will one day thank us, too. They’ll be happy we didn’t make an intrusive decision for them before they were able to think it through for themselves. They’ll appreciate us allowing them to manage their own bodies and keep the most sensitive parts of themselves intact.