One of the more peculiar things spoken to JT and me by someone here in Knob Knee (and that’s a mighty long list of weirdness to sit atop) was said by an otherwise bright woman regarding her young son: “I’ve fulfilled my societal duty,” she said of him with perhaps a hint of resentment. Not religious duty, note, but a social duty. That was a new one on me, and the reasoning flummoxed us, especially as our planet is groaning under the weight of a human population that has grown exponentially in recent centuries. While it’s more important than ever for truly loving, nurturing people to bring precious babies into the world for all the right and responsible reasons, it’s also more important than ever for people to first examine and eliminate all irrational, ignorant or selfish motives that might be involved in the monumental decision to parent or to not.
Excluding unintentional procreation by accident or rape – huge problems that require unflagging, widespread education and rights for all women in order to greatly reduce if never eliminate – my list below details some of the worst yet all too common reasons people decide or agree to start a family. Perhaps something will ring true for you while reading down the list.
“Friends and family all did / are doing it. I’m way more comfortable conforming to what’s expected of me, and I like the attention.”
Correlative to the first, “I don’t really want to be a parent,” “the time isn’t right,” etc., “but my partner is pressuring for a family. I don’t want to disappoint or possibly lose him/her, so I’ll just go along to keep the peace.”
“The good book commands me to be fruitful and to multiply!” (notwithstanding the world pop. when this was expounded thousands of years ago!).
“I need helping hands for my domestic / farm / family business tasks. Much easier when I ready-make ‘em into forced labor.”
“I need children to take care of me in old age, and besides, do the math: We gotta grow new numbers to preserve my Social Security safety net.”
“I want to reproduce a ‘mini-me’ to mold in my image and to become an extension of my distorted self-importance.”
“I must pass on my superior DNA for all humankind’s sake. After all I’m sure it is my genius progeny who will fix Earth’s ills.”
“It’s Us vs. Them, so we must reproduce in greater numbers than they do. Our armies must have more young blood to fight Them and to die for Us!”
Trading one’s offspring for money, goods or some other material gain. [Too horrible to believe this is common, but it is happening.]
People who foster or adopt orphaned children are thankfully not adding to the planet’s overpopulation and may be doing such a world of good in this decision. However, some of the same terrible reasons above for choosing to procreate can be found in adoptive and foster families, too. Simply put, if prior to planning a family every one would honestly reflect on all the wrong reasons, including any I’ve neglected to list, and first eliminate them item by item as possible motivations deep within oneself, what a happier and saner society the planet would enjoy in just a couple of generations! Hey, a world citizen can always dream….