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March 21, 2005

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For some people it's a choice, but for many others it's just something that comes along without a whole lot of thought or planning. Same as it ever was. Reminds me of the old saying, 'you do what you can with what you've got'.

I wouldn't give up my kids. I'm sorry about the world they live in but the 60's when I grew up weren't so great ('68 was a tough year – RFK, MLK, Chicago Dem convention, the war)... who'd want to go back? And I'm still bullish on the future.

Must be that CT weather. Spring is coming and nothing, not even Junior and Karl, lasts forever.

I remember reading about some of the people who, in the late 60's, chose not to have kids. And of course many who did. It seems like even many of the people who thought the late 60's were difficult believe the current climate is much worse on many different levels.

You can't always choose whether you want to have children or not. There are accidents with birth control, there's rape, etc. But many people DO choose to have or not have children, and I know a number of them who have decided not to conceive any, if they can help it.

Since you have a cheerier outlook for the future, maybe you can answer the other part of my question. What do you tell younger kids about the President, the media, government, etc.? Would you tell them the same thing your parents told you?

I have 2 kindergartners (K4 and K5). My husband and I tell them both stories: the gov't that they're entitled to experience and the gov't of Bush.

More difficult of a problem is what to do with the holidays, both secular and religious. For the 4th of July, we're traveling yearly around the U.S. with them to show them all aspects of U.S. history. For Christmas and Easter, we are focusing on the positive aspects of Catholic tradition and assuring them that Jesus doesn't want children focusing on his torture and death.

The last five years has impacted the size of our family. We stopped at 2 b/c I can run with 2 and help 2 survive an unknown future of resource wars. But I wouldn't have not had children, knowing now as I do, the unparalled and absolute joy they bring.

Maybe it's just my projection, but what I see in my two little ones, is the capacity for understanding the truth, told child friendly, and their individual integrity's demand that they not be sold a load of bunk.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Meg. You sound like a great parent.

and I know a number of them who have decided not to conceive any, if they can help it.

And now you know one more! Well, two, counting my wife.

We both love kids - she's a schoolteacher, and I'm never happier than when being "Uncle Chris" to my nieces and nephews - and that's actually part of why we're not having any: why put them through what we're all about to go through?

But the big reason: the planet doesn't need any more people, and it especially doesn't need any more North Americans.

I have kids. Two of them, boy 10, girl 15. Politics pervade our household discussions and the kids are there listening to what we say and think. They ask questions, they witness our ranting. They wonder outloud about what will happen, and why people do what they do.
Words and actions are what influence them. When they mesh together the lessons are powerful.

I knew that our values had seeped into my daughter's understanding of the world the day after the November election. She walked into the kitchen with a tear-stained face and asked if she could secede a portion of our backyard for a new country called Moana (a Maori world meaning Ocean that she thinks of as a color that is a combination of blue and green). This would be a place where she and her friends could start a more people-centered govenment, to escape what she feared would be the results of a Bush administration. She then wanted to have a party wherein her friends could come over and write the constitution for this new place. I agreed, and sure enough, four weeks later they did (amidst laughter of 8 fifteen year-old girls). The also designed a flag and made a flash animation. She wants a world where there is respect, no war, and equity. Those ideals and values make me proud to be her mother.

I decided not to have kids before BushCo came into office, but the last 5 years have definitely reinforced my belief that I made the right decision.

I have 2 nieces and a number of young cousins that I adore, but I greatly fear for their future.

I think it's generally a mistake to think we live in the worst of times. Like DemFromCT, I saw the 1960s up close, and they were often pretty horrific if you were, for instance, on the wrong end of a police firehose or targeted by Cointelpro.

My grandfather, who grew up on the Brighton Seminole Reservation, then worked in coal mines in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky and Georgia until he became a regional United Mine Workers organizer in the midst of the Depression, never told me any of those "basic truths" you've raised. Instead, he let me know early on that life in America - especially (but not exclusively) for minorities - was no picnic, and that politicians and newspapers were not generally to be trusted.

And yet this man, whose own grandfather was killed in the Third Seminole War by men flying Old Glory, was a patriot through and through. In addition to everything else, he repeatedly told me that American ideals had always motivated Americans to make their country better, something he believed to his dying day. That's a message I firmly believe, too, and I've passed it on to my stepchildren, along with his caveats about politicians and media. I hope someday they will pass the same along to their own as-yet-unborn children.

Your sentiments are not new. Many people feel like you do. However,bringing a child into the world is a great joy and you may be sorry one day. Perhaps you could consider adoption of an older child.

There were a lot of reasons for our choice not to have kids, but one of them was the current climate. Not so much that I didn't want to subject kids to our current world (although that is part of it). But that I think it's important for a number of people to stay sufficiently unattached so they can fight the good fight. As in Chris' case, we're both great with kids (kids always gravitate to Mr. emptywheel at bbqs and whatnot), but we'll put those energies into being Aunt and Uncle emptywheel, rather than mom and dad.

It is the woman in a relationship that makes this final call decision, and a millions of years of evolution will make such a decision not to have children extremely difficult as that woman gets in here late 30s. Seen it over and over. This is not an intelligent design decision but IMHO a real evolutionary push on woman to have at least one offspring experience if they are able. Do not underestimate what I am saying here. Now education and economic conditions of the times, especially for the women in that society, may affect the decision on the number of offspring to bear, but not whether to have at least one, again IMO!

I had similiar qualms. My (second) wife and I didn't have a child until I was 44 (I'm 53 now). What I didn't know is just how much fun begin a parent is. Having a child puts all this political bullshit in perspective -- it's part of the passing show. Like DemfrmCt, I lived through 1968 as a teenager. I actually stuffed envelopes for Robert Kennedy. When he was murdered, I thought it was the end of the world. When Nixon was elected, I thought it was over for America. But somehow, as Thorton Wilder said, we always (so far) manage to make it "by the skin of our teeth." If you want to have kids, have kids. If you don't, then don't. But don't let the political situation of America keep your from the greatest, most fascinating adventure ever.

Heh. I seem to remember Rush Limbaugh claiming that the reason Ds are the minority is that they abort their potential voters. So you have a responsibility to the cause, James.

My experience is that they're embarrassed as preteens when your views are out of the mainstream but they'll conduct their teenage rebellion by either adopting your views and presenting them to their world, or contradicting your views in order to conform to their world and (not inconsequentially)to torture you.

Both boys are past their teens now and both are politically on the side of the angels. We done good.

Though they are both of draft age and I still cannot find it in my heart to forgive members of my family who voted for Bush.

I am pessimistic and cynical about almost everything. But somehow, I am of the opinion that the world may do very well to have my children.

The one we have stops me daily on our walk to school to ask me to tell him what's on the front page of the newspapers in the vending machines. I think this bodes well for a four year old. I am hopeful that the one due in August will one day do the same.

It may be selfish and egotistical, but I feel a certain responsibility to try to replicate this kind of inquisitiveness.

I know a couple who was so conservative that they could not stand bringing up their children in America and moved to Israel. We are not sufficiently flexible to do the same thing. I think that bringing children into the world is a mitzvah, although I am scared about being sufficiently organized to give them the proper upbringing. Being a parent is a sign that you are responsible for the next generation and for the integrity of your values, because kids will see through you at some point in their lives.

I grew up in the '40s, '50s and early '60s. My parents were liberal Democrats. They dealt with the blacklist at UC Berkeley, Richard Nixon's slimy campaigns in California etc. They taught me that you can't always trust the government, that there are right wing politicians who will slime anyone for political gain, that Richard Nixon was evil. They also taught me that your best treasure is your integrity, so don't ever lose it. The Democrats were better because they were fairer and cared about the little folks. They taught me to care about and try to help others.

When JFK died my mother told me how everyone was devastated when Roosevelt died but that Truman proved better than anyone expected, so things might well be ok.

After my youthful rebellion, I came to see that my Father's integrity and fairness and my Mother's cheerfulness and caring for others were wonderful gifts. If I had children I would tell them exactly the same things, except that I would explain that we were now trying to get the Democrats to care about common people again.

I'll be very disappointed if I don't have children. Another unstated reason (here) to have 'em is that we can do a better job for them than was done for us. Kagro raised similar point. An educated, motivated, aware, engaged, and successful US citizen is a good thing. And I can see the pleasure...what the hell is life without pleasure? Too much politics is NOT pleasure. And I second the priceless daily reminder of how temporary politics is (i.e. DrProcter) that little ones provide with their very presence.

I think the "not one more mouth to feed in this dirty world" folks are really wrestling with their own issues, not any objective ones about their hypothetical children. Perhaps they need their strength to soldier on themselves. On the other hand, maybe having a kid would yank them out of their prisons.

Whoa, Crab. I'm rather offended by the assumption that folks "have issues" because they don't want to bring another child into this world. Scientists estimate that, if a time of scarce resources (read Peak Oil or Overshoot) hits, this world may only be able to support about 2 billion people comfortably. So what says your children should be included in those 2 billion and not those of someone on the other side of the world? The conscious decision to give up two or three of those precious spots is not really about "having issues." Further, none of us saying we won't have children are ignoring the question of pleasure and joy of children (at least not that I see). I, for one, am saying I'd like to find that pleasure in an extended family rather than a nuclear one. I wish you all the joy that children may bring. But please, don't assume that I "have issues" because I choose not to have kids.

Please, please - if you are smart, HAVE KIDS! We NEED more smart people! The idiots are outbreeding us in the US! (half smile)

Those of you now in the child-bearing years grew up in an insanely wonderful time, and we've all enjoyed it, but it's over now. Now we need you and your kids to help us get America back on track. But it's always, alway a personal choice. Most of the people I know with kids are happy about it. Most of those I know without kids are happy about it, so you have to do what's best for you personally.

But to let these evil bastards in office be the deciding factor in whether or not to have them? Please. Don't let them make that decision for you.

I think the "not one more mouth to feed in this dirty world" folks are really wrestling with their own issues, not any objective ones about their hypothetical children. Perhaps they need their strength to soldier on themselves. On the other hand, maybe having a kid would yank them out of their prisons.

The only appropriate response to this kind of simplistic, armchair psychoanalytical bullshit is far too impolite for this forum.

Please, please - if you are smart, HAVE KIDS! We NEED more smart people! The idiots are outbreeding us in the US! (half smile)

I suspect that some of the people who advance this very argument are people you wouldn't want to be associated with.

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