Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Don't Have Kids

In the height of wasting some time online the other night, I came across this gem, "28 Reasons You're Better off Never Having Kids".  [not rated G].

Allow me to get out my soapbox...

source

...ok, here we go.

Now, I can fully grasp any number of serious reasons for not having children, and I can completely comprehend that a fulfilling life can be lead sans offspring, and I am well aware that some people are not ready, or not able to have children.

How-ever.

This piece, however playfully meant, does an injustice to parents and those without children alike.

It says to the childless: you can live as selfishly as possible.  You can sleep whenever you want. You can eat whatever you want. You can party, and have a cleaner home, and travel, and go to the bathroom alone, and have more money, and swear (yes, that was on the list...!) all on your own, as much as you would like, with no strings attached...just don't have kids.


And, just as callously, it says to the parents: your life sucks.

just your basic poster-children parents, right here...
source
They are wrong, and they are wrong on both counts.  To be childless does not mean that you have any right to be a selfish, self-centered person with nothing better to do than take naps.  To be a parent does not mean that you have no enjoyments in life, and have given up on any indulgences, and all sleep or health. These things have more truism than truth to them.

I would argue, that the strings that children attach to us (heart-strings, if you will, as I'm trying to be dramatic...), are entirely worth it.  Children are everything that that silly internet fodder meme-list is saying they are. Children are annoying, they are messy, they are enormously inconvenient. They take up enormous, and often baffling amounts of time, energy, and money.

source

And yet, that is the point.  The demands that our children make upon us take us outside of ourselves, and draw us closer to Heaven. 

heart-strings...

On the flip-side, it is offensive to think that folks with no kids are as shallow as that piece makes them out to be. The people in my life who are childless are in fact extremely generous souls.  One of my dearest friends has no children, and is one of the most mother-ly women I know, caring for her family, friends and community in countless ways.  Another childless friend pours what seems to be every waking minute into caring for those in medical crisis. Those without children are called to live selflessly in other ways, to highlight and bring about the good, the true, and the beautiful with the time, energy, and strength that we parents lack.

source/Shel Silverstein
God calls each person or couple to a certain life. He calls some to have 7 children. He calls some to have no children.  He calls no one to live for the self.  Each of us must pour out our lives, must lay down our selfishness, to make any progress.  It truly is "in giving that we receive, in dying that we are born to eternal life".  The death that St. Francis speaks of in that prayer must for certain be our death to self, for that is what Christ did for us.

12 comments:

  1. Love it - thanks for touching on both sides and how both walks of life call us to live out our vocation in an unselfish and encouraging (towards others) lifestyle.

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    1. Thanks! :)
      ...I love it when drivel like that internet list can make us think deeper thoughts anyways!

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  2. because I love ice cream SO much I think it's why I like to make analogies with it...

    Not having kids is like eating vanilla ice cream
    Having kids is like eating vanilla ice cream with whip cream, gooey caramel, nuts, and fudge
    -messier, cost a bit more, and takes planning on how to tackle it
    But the fact is you can't eat too much or you'll get sick- you need to share it :)

    ---not bad for 4:30 in the morning (and yes my 6 month old woke me up to eat- and I loved rocking him and feeling him melt into my arms-happy to trade 20 min of sleep for that!)

    ~Thanks for this entry ~Jessica

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  3. And besides: if one does not have children, one cannot have. . . grandchildren!!!

    (A certain grandpa)

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  4. I couldn't agree more. This describes my Lizzie perfectly. Luv her. Thanks, Katherine.

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  5. Just another piece of mind-numbing, life-sucking BuzzFeed content. Thank you for your take on both sides, you painted things in a much better light :)

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  6. Yes, yes, yes. What a wonderful post! I am convinced children are part of my sanctification. I had to have kids, because I was too dense to get it on my own. But you are right, the article sells both sides short. Excellent.

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    Replies
    1. Thank goodness God doesn't do things our way, right? :)

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