Monday, January 2, 2012

Life without children

As most of you know by now we have 5 year old twins.  Since their birth, Gary stayed at home while I headed back to work after the pregnancy leave ended.  They have never set foot in a daycare, but it did come pretty close.  Looking for a place in daycare made us question our values as well as our hopes and dreams about the future.  And having other people raise our children wasn't part of the package.

But for over a week now we have let the kids go to spend time with my mother in the city and it has been a great experience for all parties involved.  The kids get to meet other people and live in a new environment, we get a well deserved break with plenty of silence and space and time to think things through without being interrupted.  And my mother and her partner are getting to know the kids a lot more before they move in with us this Spring.

It got me thinking about life with, and life without children, and how it has affected our choice of lifestyle.  And it also made me realize the impact children have on people's lives when in contact with them.  I hear a lot of things about over-population and some of the negative response to people having children is simply baffling to me.  I think life without children wouldn't be a life at all.  In a world that is getting scarce of resources and is saturated with pollution and greed, children can make families and communities rethink their values.  They make us think "Yeah but, what about the children?" They make us better people in a way.  They make us grow healthy food to feed them and they force us to provide better shelter and infrastructure to help them thrive because they have a longer way to go than we do.  Because we look at them and we think that they could probably have it better than we did if we just make a little effort.

Since our kids left a week ago, we've gone a bit lazy.  We stopped caring for others and only have ourselves to look out for.  When my kids enter a room, they make people smile and bring a tiny ray of sunshine into their lives.  Children are natural conveyors of life.  They make us look into the future, they make us hope, they make us better people.  And I don't think that refusing to put a child into this polluted, half-collapsed, degenerated world is a solution.  It would be a suicide to stay away from the only thing that keeps us going: a true sense of hope.  When you see yourself growing and evolving into another, smaller, hopefully better version of yourself it forces you to make more humane and sustainable decisions.  It makes you a better human being.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this! I've been meaning to write something about how my interactions with my friend's children has been a huge impact on my life (for the better), and this says it far better than I have words for right now :)

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  2. That's really nice of you to say.

    I also think that children are very easily pleased and spending time with them brings us closer to our true human nature. Kids need shelter, healthy food and drink, play time and affection. Clothing is optional, lol.

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  3. I feel exactly the same way and that is half the reason i became a teacher of children... I always felt a little guilty being paid to do something i loved. That being the case I do notice that people that do not spend a great deal of time with children seem grumpier. LOL! I think you bring up an interesting point about our humanity and I for one really appreciate your viewpoint. There is something about caring for others that is good for the carer AND the cared. It keeps us from being too self centered and mostly brings out the best in us all.

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  4. Wow what a powerful post. I love the fact I decided to have children I grew up in very crowded poor house and so did my husband it was tough not always enough food etc etc. We thought we would not want to put children through that. We decided we could not live without that unconditional love. Even though we never had things we always had love.
    Having our children was the best thing we ever did and they and we are better people for that.
    I stayed home and raised my girls to be the caring, sharing adults they are today. They are trying to make this world a better place and I am sure yours will also. Great emotion stirring post. Take care B

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