Sunday, January 23, 2005

Marriage and Kids

The third and final rant from my Writing class:

People often say the greatest days of their lives are their wedding days and the days their children were born. There is an attitude that the right way to live life is to grow up, get married and have kids. Any deviation from this path is seen as selfish, a result of poor planning or something to be pitied. The prevailing assumption that everyone wants to get married and that most people want kids is just not true. Marriage and kids are not for everyone, and even if you want one of them, you don’t necessarily want them both.

I love spending time with the children of my friends and family, but I don’t want any of my own. I am busy enough without having to take care of another person. I enjoy being able to do things on the spur of the moment and the freedom from responsibility that I experience by not having children of my own. Constantly taking care of another human being is a huge responsibility and takes a lot of energy. I choose to put my energy into bettering the world in other ways.

Not having children is beneficial to the planet, since there are far too many people in the world already. I don’t want to be responsible for adding to the excessive population. Estimates of the world’s population in my lifetime are as high as 9 billion people! Where exactly are we going to put them all, Antarctica? Seriously, we are running out of room and resources and we don’t even have 7 billion people yet. Our effect on this planet is not limited to our own over-consumption, but includes the consumption of our progeny as well.

The pressure that society puts on its twenty-something members to have children can actually result in a bad parent-child relationship. Consider those who don’t have a strong desire for children but are socialized to believe that it’s the right thing to do. They may have children and be neglectful because they never really wanted them to begin with. Lack of desire can equal lack of concern. In a more extreme situation, they may even end up resenting the children because of the things they had to sacrifice in order to raise them. Unwanted or resented children will often grow up to be a blight on society.

Speaking of society and its well being, let’s look at the divorce rate in America. I have heard recently that it hovers around fifty percent and also that such a figure is overstated. I am not against marriage, far from it, but it is not the ideal situation for every person. Many a divorce has occurred because the couple got married too quickly or felt outside pressure to just find someone and settle down, already. Divorces can have a high cost to both parties involved both financially and emotionally. While pairing off and procreation are necessities for a species as a whole, they are not necessary for every individual. It is wrong to make people feel as if they are required to have kids or that it is selfish not to have them. There are other valid contributions that people make to the world. Examples of people who contributed to the world and yet never had children include Jesus Christ, Plato, and Frida Kahlo.

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