Why bother having children

Why would you decide to engage in something that would inevitably make your life harder for a very long time? Because having children is much more than cuteness, unmeasurable love and spreading genes.  

mother-and-child-marry-cassatt-1900

Mother and Child, by Mary Cassat, 1900

Having children is an act of selflessness. Some argue that it is the opposite – that the world is too crowded already and that putting one more body to it will just make things worse. That people do that exclusively for their own fulfillment. This is not the full history. Children bring joy for those around. Usually, the parents are the ones who bear the downsides. Grandparents, uncles, friends and extended family usually experience only the great and cute part of a human life blooming.

Having children is a way to make the world a better place. Children are much more likely to learn acceptance, love and community principles as they are to learn a language. As people actively teach kids to read, they should actively teach children about environmental issues, how to be a good person and how economy works. Those teachings might not shape perfect human beings, but might help shifting environment, politics and inequality to better directions.

Having children may help achieve a smoother ending. We are all going to grow old and die. We might very well  live in pain for a while and depend on others for very basic needs. We can all wish we would die fast and quick, with no suffering, but considering all the possibilities allow us to reflect on them. A well-structured family should ensure that one will be taken care properly when getting old – it must be a family principle. Remembering what family is for might help overcome mixed feelings some people experience for taking care of elders when they were the ones being took care of for so much time. Resentment might as well be present – remembering most times parents do the best they can, and reflecting if whatever happened is forgivable, one should take care of elders with love, so children will watch, learn by the example and continue the cycle.

Having children is also a way to spread your genes, and although this is usually not the first rational reason, it is the believed biological main one. It is at least interesting to think your genes mixed up with someone else’s genes will be walking around the universe, growing and developing without you, you having minimal if some control. It is the closest to eternal life we can get for now.

What do you think it is the most important thing to consider when deciding to have kids? Please comment!

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Please remember that English is not my first language, so I apologize for any mistakes or weird word arrangements. Help me improve by sending an email to contacthoneytea at gmail dot com or commenting if you find anything wrong or bad-sounding!

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15 responses to “Why bother having children

  1. I value your opinion, but I disagree. I love children, but I didn’t have children because I couldn’t be bothered, or because I lack selflessness. Actually, it was the opposite. And most people I know who do have children didn’t do it to make others happy but themselves. It might be true that they ended up making others happy (even happier than themselves as you suggest) but that was not the reason they had their babies. I am a bit tired of having to justify my childlessness to people who think my decision is selfish when actually I had to make a decision against my biological impulses and my own fear of loneliness in old age to spare the rest of us having to spread our already waning resources too thin. I think the decision to have or not to have children is very personal. The real philosophy comes from thinking; giving in to the ‘call of nature’ to reproduce is not a philosophy. I think that as a species we should have a different approach to child bearing and child rearing. Having children should not be just about your immediate family; before putting another person on the planet, you must be aware that that little person will contribute to and affect the lives of others.

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    • Hi Thompson. I agree the decision of having or not having kids is personal and should not be questioned by others, and agree even more you should not justify your childlessness to no one – as you should not justify any other choice. I am very sorry if the post brought that feeling to you, it was not the intention. The intention was to show some benefits I believe having kids have, as I did in my previous posts about having dogs or cats. I am myself facing this choice right now, and thinking a lot about it. And I particularly want to have kids, but kept wondering what would be the rational reasons to do that, besides “biological urge” – that’s where the post came from. I don’t think there should be any pressure to do one thing or another – we should be able to make each and every choice of our lifes with maximum freedom, but I understand it is not the case. I believe people have a large spectrum of reasons for having or not having kids, so I tried to show my spectrum of reasons for procriating, so someone could relate. And it is very important to listen to who didn’t relate, like you, so I keep learning. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know, Amanda, after posting my comment I realised it might have sounded more aggrieved than I intended it to be. I apologise. I do tend to get a bit passionate about this topic! As a childless teacher I cannot count the number of times I’ve been questioned and pressurised over my childlessness. I made the decision not to have kids a while ago and it was an easy decision to make but I do wonder what will happen to me when I grow old. At the same time, I don’t think that’s a valid reason to have kids: someone to nurse you in old age. And so many kids will not do that anyway. Look around you. All those lonely elderly people you see, not all of them are childless. Whatever you do, once you have a child, there’s no going back. So if you’re going to do it, you should believe that that’s the right thing to do. And also, this is not a decision you can make on your own unless you’re bringing up your children as a single parent (and that’s a whole other kettle of fish). Good luck with your decision. 🙂

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  2. I have 3 children. I chose to have 3 children. Put simply, they enrich my life more than any materialistic thing ever could. I was an athirst when I had my first and a mystic when I had my last, and I am of the firm belief that as long as I do my best to bring them up with core values and a moral compass, the collective cosmic consciousness (quantum soul) will continue to evolve. It is a very personal choice and those who choose not to have children should never be pilloried or judged for not having them.

    All of that said, global resources will become an issue very soon when we hit 10 billion and the greenhouse effect kicks in, perhaps only then will we truly wake up to the reality of the material situation and cast aside the needs and wants of the self.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree having kids or not is a personal choice and, as ANY personal choice, should not be an object of question from others or even from the government. Congratulations for your three children 🙂 The intention of the post was to talk about some benefits I see on having kids, being faced with this decision myself. I have the biological urge but wanted to dig on some other outcomes of bringing a baby to this world. I am aware of the global situation, but don’t believe the solution is to stop procriating. I believe the solution is to stop consumerism. We (West) have so much more than we need, and the resources our planet have, if well distributed and consciously used, could provide a good life to every being. Thanks a lot for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Quite agree, though I strongly feel one should have children only when they know and acknowledge that having children is an important responsibility since that your direct contribution to society, so if you bring them up bad, you are directly creating a bad irresponsible insincere society and if you really try and bring them up well, then you contribute directly to creating a better world a better genX

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree – we should give a lot of thought to the decision of having children, and jump for it only when we feel ready enough. Thanks a lot for commenting!

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  4. Having children should be about them, and not about you. If and when you make that decision, make it for the right reasons. Namely that you are ready to bring a new being into this world, and give him all the love, tenderness and wisdom that you are able to. As a father try your best for your child and then you will succeed. Please have a look at my Blog: helpimafather.wordpress.com
    There is a post on why do we want to have children

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    • Hi Mark – thanks a lot for commenting. Although I think there are a lot of benefits for the parents, I agree the children`s interest must be top priority when deciding whether to become a parent.

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      • Hi Amanda, I agree with you on this as well. There are huge benefits for the parents, but the children must always go first. I always say that our children didn’t ask to come into this world, so we have a moral obligation, not to mention anything else, to bring them up in the best possible way we can. And that does mean sometimes making sacrifices for them. But sacrifices we are very happy to make, I must add 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love hearing from passionate parents. I am aware there are always sacrifices – and I believe it wouldn’t be so fun without them 🙂 Thanks a lot for commenting

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  5. As a biologist, it is true that you are only “significant” if you pass along your genes. I think that strict definition cannot encompass what it means to be human. As humans, we can live on through our contributions to humanity without having children (Mother Teresa, Susan B. Anthony, Louis Armstrong, Copernicus, Dr. Seuss, etc.). Anyone would be hard pressed to make a case that these people weren’t significant to society. Likewise, a person’s greatest significance to humanity, may not be their offspring.
    This is an intensely personal topic, and for me, my children bring me joy. My childless sister on the other hand is happy to see them a few times a year, maybe even baby-sit a few times. I knew I had so much love in my heart to give to a large family, and now that I have that family, it makes all the stresses of life, that much easier to bear. Very little I do in life, is not for the betterment of my family.

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    • I agree – the choice of being a parent or not is very personal and I am glad people have freedom to follow their own path. I have no kids yet, but love to babysit – kids in general also bring me joy and I feel very inclined to start my family as well 🙂 I am particularly interested in getting pregnant – it is a physical experience I would like to have. Thanks a lot for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fascinating Blog reading all the comments, and so true with what is said. Hopefully my Blog helpimafather.wordpress.com will prompt some feedback and comments from fathers as well as mums, and mums to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I did not think I wanted children. I love/d kids, but did not feel like I could give enough of myself up to have them. And then, after 9 years of love we decided that we would regret if we did not have kids. We ended up with twin boys and they are a love that could not possibly be explained. I have given up a lot to become a parent (my body for one, my career is on hold, my relationship has changed in wonderful and bumpy ways and my view of life has changed) and it is all worth it. It is a decision and one I hope people don’t come into lightly if they have the choice. And, not having kids is also a choice. I’m happy I came to a different decision, but I understand why a person would opt out.

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