Saturday, February 14, 2009

Selfish Choices?

"...and in this world at this time large families are selfish choices that are everybody's business and everybody's problem." Mary Wells Taken from the MSN article: When is a Family Too Big

This quote was brought to my attention by Chelsey. She asked what we thought about it.

Here's my reply:

"It is obvious to me that anyone who'd make such a statement has never cared for a large number of children at one time. Selfish? I beg to differ.When God gives you children, He not only wants them to be raised for Him, He gives us the opportunity to be crafted more distinctly in to His image. We have to pick up our cross daily, continuing to follow Him. There are very few times when you focus on yourself as a mother of young ones. I would call that an act of selflessness."

So, I've been thinking about this a little more. Why is it such an outrage when people have larger families?

One argument is that no mother/parent can give 6 or 10 or 20 children what they need. The parent is selfishly propagating and lacking the means (emotionally and financially) to provide for those children.

This line of thinking has a few holes in it. Most families with 5 or more children have one stay at home parent. And, generally, they home school those children. They are there for the children day in and day out, answering their questions, making sure that their needs are met. What about the average family? Those with one or two children? Where are those parents? Not with their children. Those one or two children are dropped off at 6 am at the day care where there are 19 other preschoolers or 29 other school aged children with a couple of young girls who make minimum wage. What sort of care do you think those children are getting? Even at a "good" child care center children are receiving a substandard level of care. Why are we not outraged at this? I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.—John 10: 11 - 15. Mothers, you are the shepherd to your children. There is no amount of money that can pay someone else to do it for you.

What about the financial aspects? Are larger families just sucking up every resource available? I am surprised that this argument is even brought to the table in our ever increasing desire as a nation to move toward socialism. Isn't it everyone's RIGHT to receive everything? Isn't it my child's RIGHT to be parented by the state? Isn't it their RIGHT to get food, clothing and shelter from the government? It seems a little funny to me that people who have no problem saying that a family with lots of children takes up too many resources but we should vamp up the No Child Left Behind because every child needs to be brainwashed educated. Funnier still is that most large families aren't dipping in to that state funded program that we call education. Think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that our family alone has saved our state, even though our property taxes pay for it.

What about our planet!? How can we continue to support all of these people? My guess is that any family that has over four or five children has a much smaller impact on the Earth per person that a family with one or two offspring. A mother with many, who stays at home isn't causing all sorts of nasty emissions to waft up to our ozone layer because she isn't commuting to and from work or driving to the daycare/school and back every day. She's buying food in bulk, therefore avoiding the packaging that will be hanging out in landfills for generations to come. She's hanging clothes on the line, planting a garden, cooking at home, using cloth diapers, walking with her children to and from the library because she has time to do so.

Ok, now what about this one? Isn't it a FAR less selfish act to go through the process of having, caring for and raising a child than aborting it? There are 3,700 abortions that happen every day in the US alone. Why should these people die when I don't see you or anyone else killing themselves to reduce the size of their carbon footprint?

So, who are the selfish ones?

"Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse in to the future of that life as it reaches on into eternity; could she look into it's soul to see its possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for its destiny,--she would see that in all God's world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no others hands the sacred and holy trust given to her." JR Miller, a preacher from the 19th century, from the book Homemaking

And, of course, the final Word on all things: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:28

Climbing down off my soap box now.


The Ties that Bind Us said...

Jennifer, I really enjoyed your post. Having 5 children has taught me a lot about being pre-judged. No one assumes all the thoughtfulness, attentiveness, and carefulness that we put into our family and our little community that we live in. I believe our little family makes a small impact on this planet that God has created, but our impact is selfless and thoughtful. (We live in FL, hence the t-shirts in Feb!)

womandriver said...

Very well said. They quote maybe based on the recent Cal. case of the single mom becoming a parent to now 14 children. She is jobless, living in a much too small house, has no father figure in the kids' lives. I can see why this case has upset people. It has made me very angry. I am pregnant with our sixth child. Our oldest is 25, our youngest is 16. Since they are so spread out many people do not realize we have such a large family but when they realize it we get many comments. I love my children dearly and I believe if you can provide for your family emotionally, spiritually and financially then have as many children as you want. But I also believe children should be brought into the world by a married couple.

Rachel said...


You did a good job with this issue. You know that our family is not quiverfull but I have always been supportive of those with bigger families! It always blows me away when people say that those with many children are selfish. Thanks for getting on your soapbox on this issue.

Missi said...

Preach it sister! And I love the picture of you reading to the kids.

Dawn said...

Thanks for standing up for big families Jennifer!

busymomof10 said...

HI! First time visitor here! Great post!!! Not sure what prompted the quote, but you did an excellent job responding to it. Honestly, I used to struggle with the realization that each new baby was on the way. Not that I wasn't excited and didn't love that baby -- I just knew that another layer of "self" was about to be peeled off. Each additional child you bring into the family requires a greater level of dying to self. This is probably true for all family members, as the family's resources must be shared, but it is most true for the mother, who dies to her self in a very real way as she endures nine months of pregnancy (some of it fun, some of it not so fun), the challenge of labor and delivery, and then the 24 hour a day care for the child for the next 20+ years, and the emotional care of that child for LIFE. Selfish, indeed!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet Blessings said...

HI! Thank you for visiting my blog:) We're working on #4 (due in April) and people started saying things with the birth of our last child-then throw in that fact that they're all girls-lol! Great points you posted! We (at home with more children)also "recycle" more by using the things in our home for other uses etc.. and are more aware of waste. May you have a blessed week! Looking forward to reading more:) Amanda:)

Kimberly said...

I am the mother of 9 children, and it never ceases to amaze me the rude and crass comments people think are ok to say to an expecting lady, particularly when you have had more than what they think is "normal". I think large families are friendlier on the environment. We are not driving to the mall to buy the latest thing that someone else thinks we need to have. We don't spend our days hooked up to multiple electronic gadgets, and we use the use it up, wear it out or pass it along mentality.