Monday, May 22, 2017

People Don't Want Kids Anymore

Why is having kids an unappealing thought to a majority of Americans these days? Besides the selfish (yes, I said it) reasons. There ARE other reasons. Listen, I’m not talking about unable to have them, can’t afford adoption, knowing absolutely that a child can not be supported in current circumstances. This isn’t what I’m getting at. I mean that abhorrence of children. The attitude that has many decrying the very existence of youngsters and their appearance in public spaces.

The ‘news’ articles (those are snark marks) are all over the internet. People angry that someone’s child ruined their dining out experience, or caused their airline flight to be unbearable. People that see children learning how to become adults horrified with their failures and setbacks, unwilling to allow a learning curve.

Do people still read history? Have they forgotten that children used to have to be grown up by the time they were seven? Children were employed, for goodness’ sake! They were expected to be little adults, learning trades, running households, and shaping their communities.

They used to marry and raise families before kids today can even drive.

Now we protect kids, and rightly so! But to what end? We’ve taken the protection of our youngsters and thrown that ball clear to the other end of the spectrum. We seem to believe that too much responsibility and learning at too young an age will damage our children. We can’t give them space and responsibility, because they are clearly too fragile.

Have you met children? They are amazing, resilient, strong willed, sponge minded, super heroes! Children are amazing! Why WOULDN’T someone want to have kids? The things they can learn are amazing. Kids can learn multiple languages while their minds are able to absorb and categorize such information. Adults can, too, but with a much slower rate of success.

Children can follow directions, because they have to. They don’t know anything about the world yet. They have to be able to rely on people older than them to show the way.  Adults can follow directions, we just don’t really want to. We know what’s better, and we certainly don’t need any older people showing us crap that we already know, and we certainly don’t need any little ones slowing us down on our super speed trajectory toward amazing success, or whatever.

Children are loud. Well, some children are loud. Excessively, amazingly, sharing the same decibel level as a jet plane taking off loud.  I know plenty of adults that fit the same description. While I would be terribly upset about a screeching, shouting, loud singing, obnoxious adult ruining my flight or dining experience, I’d likely offer the child grace, and the adult a disapproving single raised eyebrow. The child is still learning, and with guidance, loving correction, will learn. The adult hasn’t learned, and the truth is, probably won’t. Why would that person be more welcome in most situations that a little one that needs to learn, isn’t?

Is it that people detest the idea of children existing? I present the unpopular idea that people don’t like the idea of responsibility and self-control. Patience, kindness, and gentleness are virtues, to be sure. Virtues that everyone wants to find others practicing, but not themselves.

When children are around, our patience is tried. We are confronted with our own behaviors, and perhaps with some niggling feeling in the back of our minds that, as part of society, we all have a responsibility to teach our youth to grow into citizens that are trustworthy, kind, productive, giving, patient. And we don’t like it. We’d rather indulge our impulses. We’d rather entertain ourselves without giving any thought as to whether our entertainment is worthy of anything but momentary gratification. And we know, inherently, that isn’t what children should be learning.

What’s the answer, then? Jesus. Really. The Sunday School response is the right one.
When people live in God’s will, reading scripture, praying at all times (We’ll talk about that one later), loving God, loving others, etc. FOR REAL, now, not just pew sitters that do whatever they feel like later, we pave the way for maturity in our communities. Being a Christ follower has so many benefits, why wouldn’t everyone want to be one?

Because self-indulgence feels better. Because we think that doing whatever we want, without restriction is the opposite of religion, and religion is constricting.

Guess what, folks? Constant self indulgence is a religion. It’s worshipping the self. You are your own god. How’s that working for you? It never works out for me. I trade God for self often. Several times a day, some days. It’s so easy to please the flesh. Sometimes I don’t even notice that I do it.  I reach for fulfillment in places like movies, tv, shopping, and food. Where do you find your fulfillment? Working more and more hours? Having a big bank account? Whatever it is, if our fulfillment is sought after in things other than God, we won’t find lasting fulfillment.

We’ll continue to demand that anything that distracts us from pleasure is removed. Including the people that are learning how to care for us when we are old.

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