Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Contempt Shown Parents of Large Families

Before you accuse me of Indifferentism- read this through and only be sorry that it was not written by a Catholic.

It makes more and more sense to me why I find it is only my OB/GYN and a few others, always orthodox Jews, who will treat us and help us raise large families. I'm not read the riot act. (the nurses in the hospital take care of that). I'm not scared by horror stories of mothers and babies dying in childbirth. I'm not browbeaten into having search and destroy prenatal tests performed. I'm treated like a mother trusting God and trying to do God's will. May God bless them and maybe even bring them to conversion through us.

The Contempt Shown Parents of Large Families
Posted: March 2, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

A funny thing happened to me the other day when my wife and I had, thank God, another baby (a boy). Many of my friends didn't seem all that happy for me. Sure, they went through the motions of smiles and congratulations. But it was evident that many thought me insane. Why would a young man and his wife ruin their lives with eight children? Who could afford the Jewish day-school bills? Didn't we want to live life a little, and not just be burdened with kids?

It got downright surreal when a European film company, pressed me, while my wife was in labor, to finish shooting a segment that had an urgent deadline (I obviously told them they were insane). And the next day, I was mildly criticized by a Jewish organization which was supposed to be hosting me for a lecture for having to cancel on them because the lecture clashed with the baby's bris.

I don't mind that the world doesn't really love babies, just that it pretends to. It's time we got honest about our priorities. Most people get a new car every two or three years, but one or two babies through the life of their marriage is plenty. You can get drunk on an airplane, laugh hysterically with your mates, and still not really anger people. But if you dare bring a crying baby on board you will be given malicious looks as if the little thing is a package that ticks. If you walk your dog along the street, people will stop you to tell you how cute he is. If you walk down the street with a baby, you might find a woman or two who coos, but for the most part, you'll be utterly ignored.

Indeed, the contempt shown to parents of many children is the last acceptable prejudice in our society. As a father of a large family, I find myself apologizing wherever I go, as if I committed a crime. The frequent and loaded stares from scornful onlookers imply that the famine in Africa was caused by my selfish insistence on overpopulating the earth. Long ago my wife and I discovered that few hotels were prepared to accommodate so many children, even if we took three or four rooms, which is why we bought an RV for travel.

How strange to live in a world where loving children casts one in infamy. Having a family with many children implies a backwardness and primitivism that is deemed unbecoming in the developed countries of the West. Large families, it is thought, exist only among religious weirdoes or the teeming hovels of the Third World.

Rich countries, by contrast, prefer to increase their standard of living rather than the number of the living. Looking at Western birth rates for the year 2001, the United States averaged only 14.2 births for every thousand Americans, and the birthrate among white Americans is so low that the United States will soon lose its white majority. Indeed, one can go for days in a wealthy city like Manhattan without encountering a single pregnant woman. Riches and children have become inversely proportional such that the more of the former, the less of the latter.

Hence, the high birth rates of extremely poor African nations like Uganda – at 47.52 births per 1,000 – or Niger with 50.68 births per 1,000, are deemed to be prime causes and indicators of their penury. The abundant fertility and unconstrained sexuality of these countries confirms the unspoken Western mindset of these country's inhabitants as being just one step above savages. Contraception has become a synonym for civilization.

A Christian mother of six once wrote to me, "I find it troubling to worry about getting pregnant again ... because I don't want to face the criticism of friends and family. Why do people not see children as a blessing?" A fair question which deserves a fair response.

Why is it that even many snagogues today are not children friendly? Why are people impressed that Jay Leno owns 20 motorcycles, but disgusted that some religious families choose to have 10 children?

Let's not finesse the response. We all know why. A world that has lost its innocence has trouble appreciating beings who are innocent. A world that has become selfish has soured to the idea of leading a life of selflessness. A world that has become grossly materialistic is turned off to the idea of more dependents who consume resources. And a world that mistakenly believes that freedom means a lack of responsibility is opposed to the idea of needy creatures who "tie you down."

They can go fly a kite.

By just looking at my children, I become more innocent. By loving them, I become more noble. By spending my money on them rather than myself, I find transcendence. And by being a father and liberating all of the love in my heart, my spirit soars free. I work hard to support a large family and I give up no pleasures in doing so because my children are my foremost pleasure.

I am often asked by women dating men how to tell whether they are marriage material. I tell them, "See if he enjoys children." A man who loves children is playful. He will spend his life joking with his wife because he loves to see her laugh, and will flirt with her because he loves to see her smile.

There was a time when husbands and wives worked hard to ensure they could afford the blessings of a large family. Today, the higher your earning bracket the fewer children you have, but then we always knew that many turn money from a blessing into a curse.

Before he died, the Lubavitcher Rebbe launched a campaign asking parents to have one more child than they originally planned. It is a campaign that a dwindling Jewish community should revive as it continues to disappear.
Children are a gift from God! - our family website

Article exclusive from World Net Daily.


Anonymous said...

This is related to the discussion about Dawn Eden over on Hilary's blog. Modern culture is completely and totally anti-family and redeeming it is going to take a lot more than just minor changes in behavior - and I am sorry to break it to everyone, but refraining from intercourse until marriage is a relatively minor change in behavior compared to what is necessary to regain a world that doesn't hinder childbearing at every turn. - Karen

Edward said...

"There was a time when husbands and wives worked hard to ensure they could afford the blessings of a large family."

This is the only one which needs unpacking - at least for me.
I detect just the slightest hint of Malthusian influence here. I mean this one and his somewhat bumptious:

"...even if we took three or four rooms, which is why we bought an RV for travel."

My thought is: who the hell can travel with a large family?
Of course, that is because we are poor. Not wretched or in want, mind you, but decidedly living within narrow means.
And more than once the grateful recipients of decent, well-motivated Catholic works of charity.
What I have always found troubling (and herein I am happy to have such a one as Charles Dickens in my corner), is the notion that one may certainly have a large family - if you 'want' that kind of thing, I guess - but only if one may 'afford' one: which to me is somewhat like family planning in reverse.
Well what of those who have no "higher" education? Who are not 'skilled' workers? Who have no particular talent for anything except loving life and at least providing heavily for that much, much longer-lasting life to come (given their limitations)? Who are not at all lazy or shiftless, perhaps working as much as sixty-five hours a week, but NO more (Sundays will be observed, and we MUST spend time with our loved ones, or why else have a family at all?), and yet are still somehow unable to "make ends meet"?

Children are indeed a blessing.
To both the rich AND the poor.
To those who may "afford" them, as well as to those who can't afford them, but have them anyway, in all humility allowing God to pay the bills.

Anonymous said...

I loved this article. It brought back so many memories of being the "Waltons of (whatever town we lived in", or better yet, filed into that ever so convenient file called "poor souls" by our Catholic bretheren! As we look back on our days of "almost" making ends meet, and being so exhausted, we didn't even know what "quality time" meant both my husband and I know those were the best days of our lives. We are so proud of the wonderful "Large" family we, with the help of God, raised to be responsible, respectful and caring Catholics with many "large families" as our grandkids! The most grief we received as young marrieds was from the Catholics in our parish, the clergy in our dioceses and even our families, but the Lord won and brought these remarkable young adults to join us in the file of "poor souls"!Thanks kids!

M. Alexander said...

I had the same thought.

Thomas Shawn said...

I just had an idea that the whole Social Security system should be adjusted so that your social security pension is influenced by how many children you have.

If you have no children then you get a pretty menial pension. (Everybody should relize that your current earnings being stolen every payday are being spent immediately.)

If you have two to three children then your pension is average. If you have 6 children then you've hit paydirt (assuming they don't all die or half of them wind up in jail.)

Wouldn't that be fair? It wasn't by government or anybody else's action that these wage earners came into being. These children came from the parents.

Travis said...

I know two married couples who are close friends both have been married 5 or 6 years. One couple has 4 kids, the other has 5 kids.

Family, co-workers, fellow church members all treat them like they are stupid.

My wife and I have been married two years, and are having trouble getting pregnant, but we hope to have a big family one day.

It often upsets up when we think of our struggles to concieve and deliver a child, while others are so quick to abort unborn children, and neglect the ones they have, because they can't "afford them".

Truly sad times we live in.

In Christ,


Paul said...

"the birthrate among white Americans is so low that the United States will soon lose its white majority."
Is this a problem for you?

Anonymous said...

I find Paul's comment/question to be truly funny. If only he knew to whom he was writing. Typical of a liberal idiot... Yeah Paul, the article is concerned with racial equality and everyone is really upset that this country's ascetic proportions are shifting. That is why I am so happy all my kids are white. Few, maybe we have a chance now.
To the point of the article, I don't mind telling everyone I can that I have FIVE boys just to hear the guffaws and hysterical reactions. Then they say, "Wow, you must be really busy." I hope they then say, "that must be tough," so I can say, "yeah, you really can't be a wuss if you want to have a family." That usually ends the conversation, but I can still be heard to yell, as they walk away, "But don't feel bad that you are limiting yourself to one- maybe two kids. Some gene pools really ought not augment." Paul- can you hear me?
PGR in Delaware

M. Alexander said...

Paul's comment-

I just saw this and I can't stop laughing. Help, I'll hurt myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rebecca Urban said...

What a great article! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I have 4 children (so far)... and found that even when expecting the third, people were asking me, " you're trying for a girl, right?" (we had 2 boys first), as if I needed that as an excuse to have more then 2 children!

And I also get comments like, "That must be difficult" and "You must be sooooo busy!", and much less frequently get "That must be lovely" or "well done!"

My only lament is that now my children are all getting very interesting, it's hard chasing round getting them to activities Saturdays go yogayogacellolessonballetballetactingclubcookdinnereatalltogetherputchildrentobedphew!

T said...

This was a greeat article, children are blessings and I am prepared to take as many as God has planed on giving me.

Anonymous said...

We are expecting our 7th child, and it is amazing to me how Christians and other "religious" people can "have faith" in almost every area, except the area of childbearing.
I am starting to feel increasingly alienated in my view that God is the author of life...everyone thinks we're just blaming him for "poor planning".
I was somewhat of a non-conformist in my liberal pre-family days, but I have never felt such a heavy, nagging pressure to conform as I do in this area.
It is sad that I have to fear telling my parents about a child that I view as a blessing.
I am way too hard on myself when out in public with my children, because I know that for good or for ill, we are being observed.
I am ready to stop apologizing for my children, but this seems to be an issue that perfect strangers feel they have the right to weigh in on when they see us. I would never dream of walking up to someone and asking them why they had so few children, or counseling a stranger on any major life issue. Why do people feel entitled to comment on my life?-Melissa

Anonymous said...


my mum comes from a family of 10, and all of her brothers and sisters have at least 5 kids, 8 at the most. I have 5 brothers and sisters and all that i can say is that you are doing them a huge favor by giving them siblings.