Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Little Miracles

Why does one choose to not have children?

This question comes up often to people in the child-free community - sometimes even among ourselves. It would be wrong not to ask this question just as it is wrong for people to not honestly ask themselves why they do choose to have children.

Let's talk green for a moment: Of all the things that environmentalists address, they usually forget one of the biggest ones -- the number of human beings on this planet. According to both the United Nations and the US Government's Census sites, the world population is increasing. In the United States alone there are over 300 million people - for the world, in excess of 6 billion human beings. This number is not going down - maybe in certain countries it is, but world-wide it is increasing, as it is in the United States. Particularly in developed countries, the life expectancy of the average human being has increased. There is no reason to be fruitful and multiply as certain religious groups would have you believe. While it is true that humans are not the only living beings that tax the ecosystem, we're by far the worst. We consume far more resources than we need to live, and we don't care if we deplete the supply until it's too late. If it's green you're trying to be, then the ultimate green decision is to stop adding to the Earth's population.

People need a license and insurance to drive a car (in the United States, anyway). Why? The license is to assure that you know the basic "rules-of-the-road" and insurance is to assure that you are financially responsible for your share of the blame in an accident. To have children you need neither a license nor insurance - and in looking at how people drive (given the requirements for that privilege) it's no wonder how little thought is given to the emotional, personal, and financial requirements necessary to bear and raise a child. People consider it a right and as such they see no reason why society as a whole should not share the burden (blessing?) of rearing this child. For me, personally, I do have the financial resources but I lack the emotional and personal (time) resources for such an important endeavor. I've watched and most people who have made a lifestyle choice to have children lack one or more of those three essential requirements and either refuse to admit it or determine that children are so important to society that everyone should help offset those shortcomings. I disagree...society doesn't need more selfish people in the world.

Which brings me to my third comment and ultimate bitch on the subject: The assumption by many people that children are little miracles and are the reason why we're here, and that they are the ultimate fulfillment of one's life, etc. I won't even go further into detail into this utter bullshit because that's what it is. First, I've only heard of one story of immaculate conception and even that one is suspect in my opinion. So for everyone else out there it goes like this: Two people of the opposite sex actually have a little sex, sperm fertilizes egg, nine months later if you have a healthy sperm, egg, and incubator, out pops at least one miniature human being. There is nothing miraculous about this - it's nature. Lots of animals do it. Second, don't preach to me about love being part of the equation either, because there's a lot of women getting knocked-up about the same way that the family dog gets knocked-up. Yes, we are here because someone had sex, etc. But that isn't any reason why the process is miraculous, and it certainly doesn't need future mom parking places at the supermarket, breast-feeding in public (it's a private thing, really), special privileges at work, and you name it. Folks - get real here. Your offspring requires more of the public's resources and yet you want tax breaks, special privileges, and you drive your SUV while the rest of us should protect the planet's resources for your child's future. This isn't miraculous, it's downright selfish, unreasonable, and insane. I have no interest in being part of this club.

I applaud people who have taken the care to plan for their family -- assure they have the proper resources available to raise their child, then spend the time doing just that. It's a hard job and doing it right means sacrificing personal dreams and goals in order to do what's best for your child. While this isn't miraculous and I still don't feel you deserve special treatment (because you planned properly for your family, remember), I do give you a pat on the back and special respect for doing it right. Your kids are probably wonderful to be around, and are willing to give back to the world instead of constantly taking and taking and taking from it. I only know a few people who are actually like this and because of their devotion to their kids, I don't see them very often. However, it makes me feel good and I realize that I could never do the job as well as they do. I know I don't need children to define me - I give back in other ways that hopefully makes the world a better place. If you can't see your life being worthwhile without children, then you probably don't have the emotional resources to raise children. Find your own worth first, plan for your family, consider your impact on the world, then have children when you're ready. You've now started to make the world a better place, for you and your children.