A visitor to this blog recently commented on the post, “100+ Reasons to Have Children” at Life in a Shoe. I spoke to the 100+ reasons in a recent post, and Leslie copied her comment in the string here. It is a great one that speaks to the childfree christian and right/wrong/judgment issues I have been discussing of late, and just have to highlight it an excerpt. Check it out.
“I do not have 100 reasons not to have children, I have 3 and they are more than enough for me.
1) I have a complete lack of desire. I have zero interest in interacting with children, let alone bearing and raising my own. I believe that being a parent is something that you should desire with your whole heart, something that you should have a passion for and feel called to be. And I simply don’t, I never have. I knew when I was just a child myself that being a parent wasn’t God’s plan for my life. It would be very wrong to bring children into the world that are not wanted.
2) We are wholly content and satisfied with our current family dynamic (yes, we believe that husband + wife = family) and have not felt lead or found any reason to alter it. We believe that the foremost purpose of marriage is to be a tangible illustration of Christ’s unconditional, sacrificial love for the Church and a way of bringing glory to God. We strive to be an example of what a God centered union looks like and use that example as a witness. We believe that we are better able to fulfill this purpose by keeping our relationship our first priority. We focus on being a blessing to one another every day.
3) Not having children affords us opportunities to serve others in ways that childed families can’t. We believe that another predominant purpose for marriage is becoming better equipped to serve God by becoming one. For us leaving it at “one” is both natural and essential. We have time to devote and minister to those in need of it, including caring for our parents as they age. We feel so blessed to have the ability to honor them and give back to them at this stage of their life.
I have seen some of the lists that you are talking about, and while I can see those things as being “benefits” of being childfree they are definitely not true deciding factors.
Please understand that the majority of childfree folks (including myself) are NOT trying to convince the world that they shouldn’t have children. We do NOT believe that there is anything fundamentally wrong with choosing to have children. We do NOT hate children or wish them to come to harm. However, we do believe that having children is NOT the right path for every individual and that becoming a parent is NOT the default in life. We must all choose a path that we are suited to and feel called to travel. For us that is a path that does not include becoming parents.
If parents would comprehend 3 things about the childfree I truly believe that the animosity between us would decrease. The first being that we are not attacking you or your choices just because we have chosen something different. Please extend the same courtesy to us.
The second is that our existences are no less valid, valuable or fulfilling than yours. Again, we are all different and there’s nothing wrong with that. And third that we are normal average people! We are not cold, bitter or angry. We love, give and have passions just like you do!
And we certainly are not selfish or immature just because we are not parents. Are those adjectives that you would use to describe Mother Theresa? Or Jesus Christ? Because neither of them had children. What about Andrea Yates (the mother who drowned her 5 children in the bathtub) does she qualify as selfless and mature just because she was a parent?
I leave this comment with no disrespect and certainly not with the intent of stirring up negativity, but just with sincere hope that you and your readers will not judge so harshly people who have chosen not to have children.”
I too want to try and encourage expanded dialogue and mutual understanding. The August on-the-ground question on the selfish issue is one such attempt. While we hear lots about how the childfree are selfish, hear the childfree AND parents weigh in on how parents can be selfish. Lots of productive comment to come. Stay tuned!
People have kids out of natural instinct, or to keep up with the society, or to have someone look after them when they turn old. However, in the present day and world, it is rather difficult to vouch for it, as kids follow their career paths in foreign lands, while parents continue to inhabit their native lands.