Today I took the kiddos to the dentist for their back to school cleanings. Each child took their turn and while they waited they occupied themselves with items in the children’s area so I saw this as a golden opportunity for me to take ten and settle into an article, or two. There was a nice variety of magazines sprawled across the table and one title in particular really caught my eye, Time Magazine had an image of a young couple laying on the sand with the following typed across the page, The Childless Life. I couldn’t help but see the irony of the situation, here I was waiting on my children, paying an arm and a leg to get their teeth cleaned, why not see what I could be doing if I chose a life without children. So I dove in.
The article basically addressed the fact that now, more than ever people are deciding not to have children. Which, I understand is a choice and maybe it is not for everyone. But when I read a statement that expressed that those individuals who are smart, with higher IQs, who are more intelligent, who have higher achievements academically are the individuals who are deciding not to have children I couldn’t help but find that a little offensive. Does that mean that all of us who have decided to have children are not as intelligent? I disagree. I personally feel it has to do more with sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to give up the single life? For example, my father is an architect and an engineer, my mother is a counselor, and they have 3 children. Now, imagine if they decided not to have any children. Think of the huge, lavishly furnished home they would have, luxury vehicles they would drive, fancy vacations, high-end, well, everything! But instead they decided to have children, make sacrifices along with some fabulous memories over the course of 33 years and today they have an architect, interior designer, and physical therapist (that is 3 children and 6 degrees) that is 3 consumers, tax payers, and contributors to society. That equals smart in my book!
As I continued to read the article a sadness filled my heart. Last week we went on vacation. My parents rented a house on Lake Michigan and invited all 4 generations. It was amazing!
My children got to have breakfast every morning with their great grandfather, play hide-n-seek with their great-uncle, swim with their aunt and uncle, fly a kite, go canoeing, and horseback riding with their grandparents, and witness selfless love that was passed down from generation to generation.
When you decide not to have children it not only affects you but what could have been…who could have been… it affects the future generations. What if my grandmother and grandfather decided not to have any children? That would be 7 children that were never born and from those 7, 12 grandchildren (so far), and from those 12, 5 great-grandchildren (so far)….that is 24 people…just think of how many lives each of those individuals have touched through the selfless love they have been taught.
The article continues on and shares childless individuals’ lives with the reader. One individual expresses how she doesn’t want to attend church anymore because it is so focused on family. Then another goes on to describe how she wants to do what she wants with her life. The entire article felt so self-involved…how is this world going to become a better place if all we think about is ourselves? I think that becoming a parent helps us to grow and become more of the individual God intended us to be. I am the perfect example!
Before I had children I was a perfectionist, very much an introvert, impatient, and judgmental. I have since grown with the birth of each of my children. Our first child, our little outgoing social butterfly helped me come out of my shell and taught me how to be more of an extrovert. She would walk up to perfect strangers and have a conversation, thus I had no choice but to follow. Then with the birth of our son I slowly learned that perfectionism is highly overrated. He was, and is very much his own person, if he wants to place his toys in a different tub/bin than I would prefer what is the big deal? He helped me to release my perfectionism streak. Oh, and then our third blessing arrived and she has really enlighten me. I never understood, or could relate to those parents whose children climbed the walks, whose child was loud, or acted out…, I would totally judge those parents. I use to think why the heck can’t those parents get with the act and straighten out their child. Then God graced us with one of those children. Let me tell you, I am 100% a better person for having had children.
I think it is important that people are making the decision to live a childless life for the right reasons….what are the right reasons? Have you grown since you became a parent? Please share your thoughts.