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Children ARE a gift

I've been reading the news articles this week on the famous family from Arkansas that has 18 kids, and now a new baby on the way. (Mom is 41). More interesting than the articles are the comment chains on discussion boards and blogs about the news. So many people are so very critical of this family's choice to have a large family, despite the fact that they are debt free, contributing to their community, and have had zero trouble with the law or authorities [i.e. so far all of their kids seem well adjusted and good little citizens]. This family is also not living off govt welfare.

One argument tossed out against chemical birth control during its development was that the widespread use of it would pivot society toward devaluing human life. And this seems to have happened, based on the comments expressed by people on the internet about this family. They are derided viciously for their decision to have so many children. Liberals have tagged them as selfish, mentally ill, oblivious to world overpopulation and hunger, etc etc. I thought liberals stood for a woman's right to choose? That means no babies, 2 babies, 20 babies- it doesn't matter. As many of you know, Jon and I have chosen not to have children, but we don't view them as a curse and we certainly don't resent families that do want to participate with God in conceiving the next generation.

Most of the liberal complaints against the family are without merit, especially the comments that allege its child abuse to have so many children because no family can take care of that many children. Are these commentators completely ignorant as to the average family structure before the advent of the pill? In the early 20th century larger families were common. My mother came from a family of 13. My paternal grandfather was in a family of 12 or so. Even I have 8 brothers and sisters and I was born in the 70s. Granted it takes cooperation among the family to make it work, but it's not impossible rocket science.

What's the point of this long and now rambling post of mine? Simply this: we've gone from a society that received large families with joy to one that derides couples who decide to have more than 4 or 5 children as if children were a curse to society instead of a gift from God. And that makes me very sad and seems to be directly tied to the invention and distribution of chemical birth control.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Large families are not of the norm in todays society, and as we all know anything not of the norm is open to lots of criticism and negativity. (I am sure you get some flak for your chose to not have children by people who don't understand the choice.) The bottom line is that people have an automatic fear response to things we don't understand. I have 2 children and on good days long for a third (the last child) but on really bad days wish I didn't have the 2 I have. I can't imagine undertaking 19 kids. Trying to be a good and effective parent to so many is seemingly impossible to me as I have a pretty solid notion that I am screwing up the 2 that I have. But to each their own. I understand the argument about the strain on society, but the reality is that the amount of people who choose to have large families is small in comparison. I doubt it has that much of an effect on the worlds population. If these people are being responsible citizens and parents then great for them. Unfortunately there are lots of people who don't do the right thing, don't live up to their responsibilities - and they don't have 19 kids, it's usually a much smaller number. Back in history people had big families out of necessity because there was no birth control. I doubt the numbers got as high though since medicine wasn't what it is today. Lot's of women died in childbirth. Children died young. Adults died young. Now people are living longer, surviving serious illness. Sure there is a strain on the economy, but as long as people are doing their part it shouldn't be a big issue. It's the dead weight that really pulls us off course. I say to each their own, I hope they are happy! They didn't have those children by accident obviously, they chose to have a big family. That's the beauty in this life, we have choices. And they are taking care of their commitments and responsibilities and I applaud them.
I don't know if this post made any sense, I was just kind of thinking and typing randomly.

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