Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The point of children

This is not a blog about why I don't want children. We've heard that all before.

This is simply me wondering why people do have children.

I'm not passing judgement on people who do, neither am I saying that it's wrong for people to have children (I am in fact rather grateful that my mother decided to have children). I'm just wondering what the point of it is.

Why do humans have this urge to spawn future generations?

I know God has said in the Bible that we should go forth and multiply, but surely that's not the only reason why people have children.

What is the difference between having children and buying a pet? It seems to be about raising someone/thing that is totally dependent on you. Is it merely an ego trip, to help you realise just how "dependable" you are?

I've heard people tell me they want children in order to raise them to know God. Plenty of orphans out there that you can adopt to do the same.

Maybe we merely want living, breathing "dolls" to manipulate and mould into the image that we want them to be?

The world seems to be overpopulated as it is. Why do we keep bringing more in?

I know this post sounds a little offensive to those who want or already have children. I'm not trying to offend. I'm simply trying to figure out the point of having children.

And at the moment, I cannot.

I need your help.


Clansi said...

some couples want a little bit of "them"

others want to be needed

others want the "unconditional love" that apparently comes from a baby

Kel said...

[permission granted for long comment]

My inlaws still won't give up on me producing grandchildren for them / the fact I'm now over 40 and been married 20 years does not deter them. The sister-in-laws are just as bad as their parents, sometimes i wonder if they’re just jealous that we get to have sex without having to deal with babies

There are reasons i don't have kids, but most don't ask - they simply assume i'm a child-hating/eating monster. But why we don’t have kids is our business. Just like the reasons why our friends and family members have kids is their business. We think some of them had too many kids, and we think some of them have very naughty undisciplined kids, but that’s our opinion and we would not tell them that. We respect their life choices. We just wish they would respect ours as well.

Some insinuate we’re selfish for not having children - i beg to differ - people with children can be selfish as they often have no time, energy or money left over to benefit the wider world around them. They’re often too busy in their own little nest.

As for the infamous "be fruitful and multiply" quote - context people - think about it, here's a bunch of dudes willing to look like fools and get on this big boat for God – metaphorical translation would suggest it’s a reference to the type of people God wanted his special Earth populated with [not the literal translation go have sex and make babies].
Of course the entire planet had just been wiped out, so of course they had to repopulate – but that command is in the context of immediate post-flood recovery action – nothing to say it should be a literal decree through the centuries.

Wonder if the die-hard proponents of the ‘make babies’ command would also support the death penalty? If you’re looking at context, the same biblical passage says “And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands”. Oops - getting off topic there, but just be wary of those who selectively use scripture to support their own life choices!

So why do people have children. Most people have a strong desire to follow societal norms – and after marriage, having a baby is the traditional next step along the path to supposed adulthood. Sometimes I think it shows more maturity to not have children.

You mentioned the ‘ego’ word Mel. If we define ego as feelings of self-importance, many parents derive a lot of ego from their children, or their role as a parent. Particularly if said children do something that gives them bragging rights, from blue ribbon in the swim carnival at school to choosing a career the parent thinks is worthy.

If we define ego as an inflated feeling of pride in one’s superiority to others, that would explain why friends and family sneer at us for not having children. Raising a child to know God hey? Perhaps as you suggest, ego stops that child from being an adopted orphan, because ego wants a “little me” on the planet.

Over the past few years we’ve personally donated thousands of dollars to orphans living in an environment created to represent family units in their own culture. We have not given birth to our own flesh and blood. But rather, have chosen to multiply in other ways.

Perhaps one day our giving will inspire in others a determination to live outside the “norm” and do what they know God has called them to. We’re voting with our feet, money and hearts on the metaphorical translation of that one little sentence in Genesis 9.

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