This might sound like a loaded question, but I am absolutely in earnest. WHY do people-- society in general-- hate children? Why is pregnancy furiously avoided, even among the happily married and the highly religious? Why are large families the subject of jokes? Why do so many mothers sigh with relief and delight when they send their children off to school? Why do parents count down the days until summer vacation ends?
Do we have the courage to ask ourselves WHY???
Here's some possible answers I've come up with:
1) The Media-- Every day we are sold the idea that children are messy, annoying, and take away the freedom of adults. In a society as media-soaked as ours, is it any wonder that so many have bought into these ideas?
2) The Public School System-- Very few parents spend any real amount of time with their children. They spend five short years raising a baby/toddler/preschooler, and then they send the child off into the world to be raised and taught by strangers. No wonder they don't know "what to do with" Junior when he's home every day for a few months in the summer. Parents and children simply don't know each other!
3) The Decision of Roe vs. Wade-- When babies are often considered inconveniences to be "removed," why would society value the ones who survive to become children? Kids are just lucky to be alive, right?
4) The Peter Pan Syndrome-- So many "adults" today are still behaving like children, themselves. They don't want to be "tied down" with responsibilities. They want to be "free" to pursue the hobbies, entertainment, activities, vacations, possessions and pleasures they desire. And what is human life when compared to these things?
I realize that this article has the potential to rankle a few people, but let's all just pause for a moment, and really think about the messages we are sending to the next generation.
Do they feel wanted, loved, and appreciated? Are they likely to want children of their own someday?
Will future generations even EXIST?
Just think about it.
I too have thought about this topic lately. I have wondered and pondered and each time peace is whispered to my soul. Why? because I am willing to do something about it. As each of us consecrate our performance of raising a family unto the Lord our efforts will be magnified. I have faith that they will because this oh, so very imperfect mom sure needs our Heavenly Father's aid in raising a family.ReplyDelete
There will be future generations. We will have grandchildren. We must be willing to be the women mentioned in Titus to help train those future moms. We must be the women whose righteous influence will affect future generations. We can be, we just need to decide that we will be.
Thanks for stopping by. I think too many people are just selfish and having children means having to think about someone other than themselves. My husband works with a few people who are passionately against children because children cost money and money is much more important to them. It's quite sad.ReplyDelete
I have lots of kids and they ARE messy, annoying, and take away my freedom... LOL But I still love them and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world!ReplyDelete
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#2 resonates with me - after 9 years of homeschooling, and 7 children, we put our kids in school. The first couple of weeks were really strange. I kept thinking to myself "how does anyone who has children in school EVER get to know their children?" I knew it would be different, but I was amazed at how little time we had together. No wonder families are not boding these days! (of course there are MANY reasons for that:) Thanks for your blog, Rachel!ReplyDelete
"Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved." Pres, MonsonReplyDelete
I meant to add that quote to mean that even when we do find our children a challenge and we don't feel that we know them we need to try and remember the quote above.ReplyDelete
I personally feel that having kids should be a consious decision and only when one is ready both mentally and financially,should have kids.ReplyDelete
There is absolutely no point in having kids and not able to provide for them. Also, not just love.
Also, There is a feeling in me which says that if i dedicate 10 years of my life to someone i.e kids, at the end of it all, just to be left alone at the same stage as i was 10 years ago, with no career and no one left to look after me. Becos home many children like to live with their parents after 21, none. How many like to keep their old parents at home with them and their spouses, none. Then what was the whole point of having kids, investing 15 years of your life raising them and then to be treated like a burden to society.
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Wow. I have trouble accepting that this is our society. That there is no middle ground for us as females to stand on together, That we are either forced to hate the idea of being mothers or make it our full time jobs. I am not rich, poor or religious ..I am not over 30 or a naive young adult. Where is everyone that knows how to practice common sense? Abortion is not a reasonable way to control the population. Should we start putting down the elderly as well? Education is a much better answer. Use your words in a more positive way and not just to bash other women's as you like to put it "freedom of choice". You want irresponsible and poor females to stop reproducing? get out there and educate about other choices in life, other jobs and passions that some of these women and young girls don't even know they have. Until we as females come together again and stop picking on each other and judging each other nothing is going to get better. Super moms need to see that some women don't want or need children and Elitist Neo-Feminists need to be more supportive of other women's decisions to have children and raise educated families. Who in turn just might change the world for the better. Just think about it.ReplyDelete
Firstly: I must agree that children should be loved, wanted and appreciated once they are here (After all, since they're here, there's nothing more or else that can be done), and that once they arrive they should be given due attention, time and care. I also believe that they are inconveniences if you let them be so by providing a selfish upbringing, and personally go about thinking of them that way.ReplyDelete
Now though I must also say that I disagree with you. I personally do not want children, and do not particularly like them (I think hate is a very strong word), and in my case it has nothing to do with any of your listed, stereotypical reasons. For example, I personally find anything that comes out of a body disgusting (Whatever the logic and means), and that means children as well. I don't delude myself into thinking that children will 'tie me down' or 'take away my freedom', since in truth that freedom exists in one's thoughts and in one's control of one's actions and reactions to the world (in my opinion, because one is always tied to their society's laws,culture, preconceptions, pool of knowledge, family's upbringing, education et cetera ). I also don't delude myself into thinking that children will solve all the problems of the world that were created by us. I mean if we truly loved them, why would we leave them such a mess to clean up in the first place, hoping for a better future without us laying a solid foundation for them first?
As a woman I am sick and tired of having people make those who do not like children (and thus know that by bringing them into the world they will make it worse, because they could never truly bring themselves to like them) and choose NOT to have them as defective in some way (Either mentally, or physically), and undeserving of the title of woman. At the same time I am also tired of people becoming angry and fussing at those who choose to become parents for whatever reason. I believe that motherhood should be a choice that is throughly thought about by each woman as a personal thing, without other people (other women especially) labeling or condemning them for it. The only time I believe that one should bring this up is to point out the extremes of either of the cases as examples of prejudiced and biased thinking which threatens to cause a selfishness (and closed-mindedness) of views that would divide people so much that common respect for each individual (and their decisions) is lost.
Just found this post and thought I would leave it on a positive note. I agree with you whole-heartedly. I think it boils down to gratitude (for what your mother and father did for you) and sacrifice (few people are willing to sacrifice any more). People seem to forget (like the post above) that they wouldn't be here without parents but are not willing to return the favor. It is tragic to me that society treats grandparents and children as a burden. I can hardly wait...ReplyDelete
You are spot on no matter what people think.
Some of us just don't like the idea of being tied down with a bunch of children. I for one am one of those people. Call me selfish or whatever else you like, but I don't want to have to spend 18 years of my life taking care of a child or children when there is so much other stuff I could be doing with my time, such as traveling or getting a jump start in a career.ReplyDelete
Apologies if I sound rude, but I just thought you should hear the other side of the story from a woman who really, really does not want children.
Of course you have the right to your opinion, AND the right to never have children.
But many people forget that every choice we make also has consequences that we cannot choose, and the demographic crisis the world is in is only one of those consequences. When couples choose to have children, they are choosing to have a powerful influence that spans generations.
There is only so much that ONE person can do. But when we influence a group of people in the most intimate way possible-- as only parents can-- we leverage change in a way no single person can.
The question REALLY is "Do we want to actually change the world, leave it a better place than we found it?" The most effective way to do that is to create a posterity, and then teach them through word and deed all the good we can. And then those lessons multiply and spread exponentially until they fill the world.
Or, we can have fun, get neat stuff, see cool things... and die alone with nothing to show for it. :-(
Thanks for your polite, direct comment, Amanda. I appreciate your candor! :-)
Found you through someone who linked to you from MMB (about your Hunger Games post, which I also agreed with).ReplyDelete
I loved this post and completely agree with it.
Dear Mama Rachel,ReplyDelete
The demographic crisis in this world is one of overpopulation, not underpopulation. And about the ageing population problems, the 'oldest' countries in the world are Monaco, Japan, Italy and Germany, while the 'youngest' are Uganda, Niger, Mali and Yemen. Go compare problems.
Having lots of children doesn't make a better world. It doesn't make a worse world by itself, although in many places it is an obvious symptom of things staying primitive.
Why primitive? Because as societies advance and develop, we don't feel the need to perpetuate our clan or tribe, or have so many surviving children to sustain us at an old age. Which where the reasons to have large families in the past, to start with. The 'selfishness' thing works both ways.
It's not that 'we' hate children. Actually, I don't know anyone who 'hates' children -maybe except the usual grumpy ones who hate everything. It's that we no longer need large families, which also happen to be quite expensive. And we have other things to do with our lifes.
It's that the world has changed, deep. Nothing really dark behind, just the development of economy, science, technology and society. 'Roe vs Wade' is not a cause, but one in a myriad of results.
And the public school system is just a need for most of us. Without public schools, we'd have even less children. In my home, and in most of the homes I know, losing one income to care after the kids is a no-no. Salaries are too low, so no double income, no public schools, no money for children, period. I won't have children that I can't sustain.
As a biologist and the granddaughter of a geneticist, I believe that Malthus' determination that the world could only support a certain population to be faulty.Delete
When I see the world and the state it is in, I recognize that we need more intelligent people who are willing to make a change in the world.
Overpopulation is a problem, but can be resolved as people use their resources more frugally and begin to find new ways to use what resources we have. For me, the choice to have children is not only the selfish reason that I want to be a mother, but the knowledge that the children I raise can have a great influence on the world around me for generations to come. How can the feminist movement continue if women who believe in it refuse to reproduce for ideological reasons? How can more environmentally sound practices be taught in the future if those wanting to save the world do not raise and teach their children to care for the Earth? Whether by adoption or through reproduction children, messy and chaotic as they can be, are the future. It doesn't matter if we care for none or fifteen, as long as society remembers that children are vital for the continuation of civilized society.