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Saturday, August 4, 2007

In Defense of Large Families

I was searching for information about the birth of the new Duggar baby yesterday, because I knew she was due July 27th, and I came across many very mean sites where people posted their opinions of these “choose-an-unflattering-adjective” people. I knew there were people out there who felt this way, as I have encountered them myself on occasion, but I had no idea how many of them there were and just how mean they could get. Their arguments are weak at best, often ridiculous, and all based in the ME-centered philosophy of our times. So I wanted to counter those arguments here, not just in reference to the Duggar family but also large families in general.

1. Having that many children is irresponsible in a world facing overpopulation.

A: Obviously these people have bought into that lie. Many public schools and universities are now preaching that the world is overpopulated and people need to control their reproduction or we will run out of resources and everyone will die. There is a push to force birth control on people who do not want it. I remember one class where we heard about the tactics used to get African Muslim women to take birth control against their husbands’ wishes. Sometimes they are even lied to about what they are taking with the justification that they want it but would have to refuse because of religious beliefs. China still has very strict rules about the number of children a family may have, and as a result, baby girls are murdered or abandoned DAILY there.

Regardless of where we are talking about, the fact is that there is more than enough food and water on this planet to care for the people on it. What causes shortages is the inability to get the food to people, generally because of politics (wars, sanctions, etc.) and UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION. America is fat. We have so much surplus food that we have become the biggest people in the world. We have invented surgeries that make the stomach smaller because people can’t stop eating and they stretch the stomach until it never feels full. Most of the people who made the shortage argument were probably doing so while eating at their desk. No kidding. Other nations have just enough, or not enough, and our answer is to stop having kids. I got lost on the logical path of that one. Maybe we should stop using food as a weapon. Maybe everyone should take only what they need, and we should not put politics before life, and everyone would have enough. These are all sustainable things we are talking about.

What about fossil fuels, oil, etc? We very well may run out of these things, but no one is going to die because of it. We will not die without our cars. There are other ways to heat our homes (as is witnessed by the thousands of years man lived before their discovery). We again have sustainable ways of producing heat (solar, wind, compost methods to name a few). It is again sickening that Americans (and the rest of the ultra-industrialized world) sit in front of their computers and write nasty things abut having ‘too many’ children because they want to protect their comforts. If you really want to make a difference, stop consuming.

(PS- could someone point me to the Bible verse that says the world will end by overpopulation? I must have missed that one)

2. Imagine the damage that has been done to her body after 17 kids.

A: That’s re-wording it nicely, by the way. First there is the fact that if we were in danger of having too many kids, God would have built into us a control mechanism to shut down the whole works after 5 (though it is obvious none of these people believe in God by the way they speak). Then there is the point that countless, really COUNTLESS literature abounds out there about how pregnancy and breastfeeding reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, uterine cancer, early menopause, osteoporosis, and other greatly feared maladies. Many times lately I have come across stories of women who believe the verse about being saved through childbearing is not just of spiritual implications. Michelle Duggar is in great shape, looks much younger than her age, and is able to keep up with her kids. That argument is just lame.

Imagine what several abortions would do to a woman's body? But that would be her right to chose.

3. How can they possibly give enough love and attention to each child?

A: Another argument steeped in selfishness. Tell me, all you who work 60 hour weeks and then run off to your extreme sports on the weekend, how much time and attention are you giving your children? Worse, many of you are leaving your kids in daycare, where they have to share the attention with MORE children than will ever live in the Duggar household. Seriously, people! The Duggar family (and my family, and many Christian families) do not place money and possessions above the kids. We would rather live within our means, work really hard together (more on that later), and spend our time with one another than sacrifice our lives to a corporate machine in order to buy a fancy car, expensive toys, and a massive house that is empty 75% of the time anyway. We spend more time with our kids than we do anything else. Rather than sending them off to public school, we sit and teach them. I think the argument comes from the guilt of knowing you aren’t spending any time with your own kids and trying to deflect it on to people who are doing it right.

4. The older kids are made to take care of the younger kids.

A: I grew up in a family of 4. Some may still think that is large, but it isn’t really. On Saturdays, I would watch my younger siblings while my parents worked half days. I would try to work out a plan that was fun where we would all clean our rooms, wash the dishes, and have a ‘fancy’ dinner ready for my parents when they got home. We were PROUD of our efforts on their behalf. We had real joy in working together. And I was MUCH MORE prepared for a family than many of the people my age because they had no experience. Even families with only two children have the oldest help out once in a while. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT? How selfish can you be to say that it isn’t fair to have to help anyone else? We aren’t talking about a family where each child over 12 has a full-time job of caring for a younger sibling. Do you allow your daughter to baby-sit? Shame on you, that’s slave labor. Oh, she gets paid? So she is learning that she shouldn’t help others unless there is something in it for herself? NO WONDER our country is the way it is.

Also, kids who have responsibilities and work for what they want are much happier and make better citizens than the spoiled brats who think the world owes them something.

5. How can you afford that many kids without welfare?

A: This one also drives me up the wall as people automatically assume you are on welfare if you have that many kids. First, the Duggars are not on welfare. Second, they have no debt (how many of you “2-kids-is-enough” people can say that?) Third, the Duggars live within their means. I said that earlier, but I have a feeling there are people who have no idea what that means. Let’s say your monthly income is $2000. Now imagine spending no more than $2000. That includes payments on a balance that will take considerable time to pay off. What?!? No credit cards, no car payments, no trips to the hair, nail, and tanning salon? Living within your means is living with what you have and not borrowing on unearned money. It is possible. And the one purchase which can be next to impossible without a loan anymore, a house, is simple as well. Buy a small house. Pay it off quickly. Start saving money for a bigger house, an addition, or home improvements. Do the work yourself, or with your kids, teaching them life skills that are WAY more valuable than the junk they will get from video games and the mall.

Next, get rid of your junk. People have so much that they can’t even enjoy it. Have you ever seen something so neat in the store that you had to have it, only to find out when you got home that you already owned one? It’s sad. How can you enjoy life when you don’t have anything to hope for, work toward, or dream about? Instant satisfaction equals sudden boredom. Don’t buy your kids every toy on the market! (And a note for those of you who think we really don’t have enough to sustain our planet- you don’t buy anything that is not recycled or made from renewable sources, right?) Ask someone from the Depression era what life was like. They did not have much, but they were happy. When you don’t have it all, you appreciate what you do have.

Another one is how they will pay for college for all those kids. College is not a necessity. We have been told it is, and that has allowed the schools to raise their tuition through the roof and we just swallow it because it is a ‘necessity’. No it isn’t. It might be for one of those corporate treadmill jobs, but not for real life. Do apprenticeships, take classes at a community college, research it for yourself. There are so many options. And for girls who want to be a keeper at home (which is such a hard job the world has lied to tell you that it is not fulfilling) the best plan is to help with the care of your own home and younger sibling or by helping another family. Hey, the Duggars are giving away all that hands-on training when they could be charging $25,000 a semester for it!

6. The kids look like stepford children. I can’t wait for the oldest to leave home and write a book about how horrible it was in that house.

A: There’s just no way that could be real joy from being part of a family where you are needed, cherished, and diligently prepared for life?

7. Why don’t they just adopt some of the kids that already desperately need homes?

A: I take personal offense at this one being a foster/adoptive parent. If every parent in the world were doing their job, there would be no kids to adopt. Further, this statement indicates that it is more acceptable for parents to peter out on their kids, and then those who want them can have a stab at it, rather than families being allowed to trust God for their future. That is some twisted ethical garbage.

8. Oh, they’re homeschooled. Great! More idiots running around in the world.

A: I actually corrected this young fool’s spelling and grammar, and left a comment to him as such. Public schools have only really been in existence for about 100 years. When schools first started, they were not compulsory. They also did not send home 2 hours of homework for the kids (and parents) to wade through every night. In the very short time that education has been mandatory, people have become stupid (and thank you to this young man for proving my point). Just look up the results of standardized tests for homeschooled kids versus the national average. Also, homeschooling requires much less time, so the parents are able to spend those hours doing fun and constructive things with their kids.

If the Duggars sent their kids to public school, there would be a plethora of writings about how they are costing the tax payers so much money. It’s sort of a darned if you do, darned if you don’t situation. When people want to say something nasty, they’ll look for anything. Also, I noticed the people making all these comments were very defensive, again proving my point that it is guilt and the selfish desire to want everything easy, that makes them lash out, because they are afraid if they allow others to live this way, it will become expected of everyone.

9. I can’t even handle my (1,2,3) kids. How could anyone manage 17?

A: Again, just because you stink at it doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Maybe you should sue your parents for lack of proper training in parenting. Better yet, read the Bible. Best instruction book for raising kids ever published. But be careful: the Bible says over and over that children are a blessing and a reward, and that might not fit into your selfish worldview.


6littlelambs said...

AMEN Sister!!! :-)

Excellent rebuttals. I only have six and get those kinds of comments. No, I couldn't possibly have enough love and attention to give to them. Yet I can hire a day care provider with 17 children, 3/4 of whom are ages 3 and under, to spend 9 to 10 hours a day giving my child all the love and attention he needs!?!!? BTW, she is a wonderful Christian woman who practices biblical discipline, teaches about Jesus, etc...But she will never be my child's mother!!(I'm a single mom and for about a year I needed daycare. PTL I'm now able to arrange my work schedule to not need it!!)


a soldier's wife said...

Hi Amy,
I think the Duggars are very blessed in their lives and I do not think it is offensive or any other unflattering words even though we only have 2 children. I would have loved to have had another, but it hasn't worked that way for us, so I'm at peace with it and thank God daily for the 2 wonderful children that he did bless us with. This discrimination goes both ways though. Some people seem to judge us because we only have 2, so that must automatically mean that we are selfish, only wanting to collect material possessions and to have more than the average person. That is so not true. We don't go and charge something just because we want it. In fact, we pay up front for things we buy. My children may have a little more than some, and may not have as much as others, but they don't just take things for granted and they don't ask for things just because they want things. I hope this doesn't sound offensive, I don't mean it to be at all. I just wanted to give a viewpoint of the "2 child" family.

motherofmany said...

I would certainly not want to appear to be picking back the other way (that families with 2 kids are wrong). God sometimes limits the number of children a family has himself, so it is not about how many, or few, kids you have. My problem is with those who say it is wrong to have ANY number of children because of the secular, selfish view of kids as burdens.

You are in no way lumped in with that crowd just because you only have two. Not only do you not judge, you are a very involved mom and your kids are treasured.

And as for single parents (6 little lambs), I completely understand that sometimes daycare is necessary. But it should be stated that kids in daycare ARE competeing for attention with large groups, and often with people who are doing the job for a paycheck and not out of genuine love for kids. My sister-in-law works at a day care, so I am not lumping every daycare worker into a group of uncaring money-grubbers, either. But even if you love kids, you cannot care for them as well as their parents can because of the love and loyalty God instilled between parents and their children. And I am so glad for you that you have been able to make other arrangements- God is good!

a soldier's wife said...

Thanks Amy, for your reply. I didn't think you were picking on smaller sized families,just wanted to throw up a viewpoint from a smaller family. I sure hope I didn't offend you with my comment.
And yes, you are correct. God is Good!!

Vanessa said...

:) very good post, Thank you. Most of what I have wanted to say but just couldn't come up with the words, lol.