Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Should I Have More Children?

(It's a rhetorical question, but feel free to offer up your opinion on the matter in the comments.)

Here's what got me thinking...

I made a quick run to CVS today with my three kids in tow- ages 5, 4, and 1. We headed through the sliding entrance doors and, though keeping well to the right (as taught), my two holding-hands preschoolers wound up in the path of a middle-aged Middle Eastern gentleman making his way out of the store. My son pulled his sister with him out of the way, looked the man in the eye, and said:

"Excuse us, Sir."

The (previously rather cranky-looking) gentleman raised his eyebrows, bowed slightly toward me, and said:

"Your have very well-mannered children. Well-behaved."

{I replied, "Thank you."}

"You should have more."

And, with that, he departed.

I have to confess- I laughed. It's just not something you typically hear!

Of course, then it got me thinking...

What should dictate when we decide to stop having children...

Whether we want them?

Or whether we can handle them?

(This question is asked with the assumption that we are deciding to limit our family size for personal reasons... it obviously does not apply to those who choose to base their family size on however many children the Lord blesses them with. I'm not judging either method... just clarifying.)

The man who spoke to me doesn't know me. He obviously has no idea what my personal "ideal" family size might be. For all he knows, I may have wanted to stop at two and feel like I got "stuck" with my third (I did NOT, for the record). He doesn't know my financial situation or my marital situation. He doesn't know my religious beliefs.

What does he know?

In a nutshell, he knows I can handle my kids (at least mostly). They listen to me. They've been taught to be polite and respectful. In his mind, I guess, I'm the kind of mom who should bring more kids into this world... more "well-mannered, well-behaved" children.

Should that be a requirement?

I'm not sure. I do know I've heard plenty of people mutter, "She's pregnant again? She can barely handle the ones she's got!" So, clearly, we feel entitled to judge other people's childcare limits. Oh, and please know that I'm in no way picking on large families here... I know at least as many moms of one or two children who seem overwhelmed as I do moms of many.

I guess it just got me wondering... would the world perhaps be better off if some of those families choosing to limit their family size for reasons of responsibility (financial, environmental, or otherwise) would instead choose to have more children... more well-trained and, yes, well-loved children?

I don't have any answers for you, but it sure got me thinking.

How about you? What do you think? Do you ever see families who seem like they can't handle the kids they have? Have you ever seen an awesome family and thought they would be doing right in having more children? Oh, and should I have more kids? ;)

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