12 Mar Too many children?
From the Desk of Laura Bunker:
The United Nations “Commission on the Status of Women” (CSW) began on Monday March 9, and will run for two weeks. United Families International has a team on the ground in New York, with additional members attending next week, including several young adult Interns from BYU-Idaho.
One reason we are there is to counter the voices of radical feminists who come each year to promote their agenda of “sexual and reproductive rights.” This may seem like an innocent phrase, but they promote “comprehensive sexuality education” to children as young as five, and abortion on demand–something many feminists will fight to the death to protect or obtain. They are convinced that children are an impediment to women’s equality and opportunities.
We disagree. Children are the world’s most precious resource.
We invite you to read today’s alert by UFI Intern Tori Perez, who demonstrates the importance of children to society, and “pleads for a change in the way we think and speak of bearing children.”
We’ll report, next week, on CSW and the antics of our feminist friends.
President, United Families International
Children: Our Greatest Resource
By Tori Perez
As a young child I remember hearing about birds and bees and storks. I’m not sure my children will ever have that same privilege. In my conversations these days, it seems the world is more concerned with teaching how to keep children out of the world than they are with welcoming them in. Sex education that pushes “protection” and abortion is trending, but asking someone when they might be thinking about having children is taboo.
I once had the privilege of sitting next to an amiable English gentleman on an airplane. The conversation began in a polite but comfortable manner, and we easily transitioned to more intellectual topics as the plane took off. We found ourselves talking and discussing for the entire three-hour flight. The appeal was simple – our conversation was interesting because of our differences.
I had been raised in an American world where Founding Fathers are heralded as heroes, and our textbooks talk of Great Britain as the quintessential evil step-mother. In my eighth grade American History class, the American Revolution was told as your typical good-triumphs-over-evil adventure saga. Talking to this man opened my eyes to the other side of the world. He said the Revolution was barely mentioned in English textbooks. And why would it be? Why would it be of great significance to them? At the time, they had other, bigger battles to fight and so they let this one go. It was a matter of simple priorities. The rest, as they say, is history – and for them – mostly insignificant history.
The contrast in our experiences was fascinating as we dove headfirst into other topics. With a surprisingly easy respect for each other, we were able to chat about current political hot topics. Eventually we stumbled upon the idea of bearing children. Here, as with most everything else we had discussed, our ideas differed greatly, but the dialogue was fueled by our inherent desire to learn from each other. I genuinely listened as this man challenged many beliefs I hold dear in regard to the bearing of children and their importance.
Children strain the world’s resources?
Children, he said, don’t do anything for the world except drain it of precious resources. Children are expensive. Children don’t ever pay their parents back. Sick children take parents away from the workforce and hurt the economy that so desperately needs workers right now. His belief was that a family who brings too many children into the world is hurting the greater population, and therefore bearing children is inherently selfish.
Before I continue I want to make clear that I am not making a statement as to whether or not any one person or couple should choose to have children, nor do I have any opinion about a specific number of children that every family should feel compelled to have.
However, I do want to show that research has been brought to light that refutes this man’s claims. I hope that it has been made clear that I have great respect for the individual who brought these ideas to my attention. I landed in Washington D.C. at the end of that flight with an intense curiosity and a desire to research and learn about something I had never pondered before.
After much determined research and questioning, here are my conclusions:
• Bearing children actually helps the economy and slowing the birth rate hurts it
It is much like when, during the Great Depression, people got scared of the banks failing and ran to banks to withdraw their life savings which spurred the actual crash of the banks because they had no money after everyone fearfully withdrew. The same negative spiral happens with childbearing. People fear having children because of a struggling economy, and that fear actually contributes to the worsening of economic conditions. On the other hand, ever hear of the “baby boomers”? This increase in bearing children is part of what helped the United States out of one the most economically crippling times in its history.
To be honest, I thought this was pretty common knowledge by now. But in case there are those that are still unaware, research has debunked this popular notion over and over again.
Anyone who has intimately observed the 24/7 job of a parent knows that it takes an inhuman amount of selflessness at times. I found ample perspective while reading about this concept, but even this article that explores the selfish side of parenting has nothing to do with the “population at large.” I can’t find anything that says that bearing children is actually a selfish choice that negatively affects those around us.
Family is an essential part of socialization. Having more siblings increases mandatory interaction with people who teach us about relationships. The results of studies on this are astounding. It is amazing what we can learn from our family relationships.
A final note –
As a young married adult with a new baby, it is easy for me to look around at my peers and see many of them feeling overwhelmed by the flood of negative media surrounding children and families. Many of my dear friends don’t seem to be making a conscious decision about putting off starting a family as much as they subliminally submit to popular false notions about the burden of children. As previously stated, I do not wish to impose any previously conceived ideals about the perfect family size.
My desire is to appeal to the “population at large” and plead for a change in the way we think and speak of bearing children. It is important that in a world obsessing over birth control and sexual freedom, we don’t drown out the important societal benefits of children.
Tori Perez graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in Marriage and Family Studies and certificates in International Cultural Studies and American Sign Language. She is also a certified PREPARE/ENRICH marriage facilitator and loves to serve the community through PREPARE/ENRICH and family life education workshops. She has many loves including music, cars and basketball, but loves her husband and daughter most of all.