To which I commented, "That's too bad."
And my daughter pounced.
"Not for them", she pointed out. True. "And not for the child they don't want to have." True.
"It's still too bad", I opined.
"You think it's too bad," she accused.
"Yes," I agreed, "I do."
Then, she pointed out, I should say it's my opinion that 'it's too bad'. (I thought that was understood.)
When that was clarified, the subject changed and we were on to other things.
But I still think it's too bad.
I never did get a rationale, but if it's the old saw, "we don't want to bring children into a world like this" -- that's an old, tired, dusty and very poor excuse. The world today -- whenever 'today' is -- is NEVER going to be an ideal place in which to bring newborns. Just ask Jesus, whose parents had to smuggle him to Egypt so he wouldn't be slaughtered under Herod. And that was... let me see...A.D. 2 or thereabouts?
Yes, I still think it's too bad.
Ask any parent. Ask Sylvia Boorstein. As she puts it, when you have children you mortgage your heart. It's a profound risk. (NOTE: it's a risk whether the children you raise are born of your union or adopted.)
- You don't know what you're going to get (healthy; not so healthy; male/female);
- It's going to cost you upwards of $100,000 per child (in the Western world, to AGE 18 -- i.e. excluding post-secondary education);
- Children -- and the experience of raising them -- will redefine who you are and how you live the rest of your life.
What my son was telling me when he said that his friends decided not to have children was that they didn't want to take the risk. A mortgage on one's heart is never paid off.
As a result, they will be missing out on:
- The experience of a particular vulnerability -- which is deeper even than that with one's spouse;
- The experience of a particular type of loss of control -- children being the most unpredictable of beings;
- The opportunity to love someone (several someones) with every cell and fibre of their beings -- again, it's different from union with one's spouse;
- The opportunity to pass on their history/faith/values/world view/hopes/joys; and
- The fulfillment of one of God's blessed instructions: "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28).
In developed countries -- such as Canada -- children are a hope for a legacy (the future) and a thoughtful, prayerful, careful future -- wherein they learn how to use their blessed surplus to help others, whether locally or globally.
So. If my son's friend and his wife decide not to have children...it's too bad.