Friday, June 4, 2010

The contempt shown to parents of large families

I don't mind that the world doesn't really love babies, just that it pretends to. It's time we got honest about our priorities. Most people get a new car every two or three years, but one or two babies through the life of their marriage is plenty. You can get drunk on an airplane, laugh hysterically with your mates, and still not really anger people. But if you dare bring a crying baby on board you will be given malicious looks as if the little thing is a package that ticks. If you walk your dog along the street, people will stop you to tell you how cute he is. If you walk down the street with a baby, you might find a woman or two who coos, but for the most part, you'll be utterly ignored.

Indeed, the contempt shown to parents of many children is the last acceptable prejudice in our society. As a father of a large family, I find myself apologizing wherever I go, as if I committed a crime. The frequent and loaded stares from scornful onlookers imply that the famine in Africa was caused by my selfish insistence on overpopulating the earth. Long ago my wife and I discovered that few hotels were prepared to accommodate so many children, even if we took three of four rooms, which is why we bought an RV for travel.

How strange to live in a world where loving children casts one in infamy. Having a family with many children implies a backwardness and primitivism that is deemed unbecoming in the developed countries of the West. Large families, it is thought, exist only among religious weirdoes or the teeming hovels of the Third World.

Rich countries, by contrast, prefer to increase their standard of living rather than the number of the living

That's Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in a post that really struck home with me. It succinctly described a feeling that my wife and I share. One that we are reminded of almost daily. Namely, that we, as a society, don't value children the way that we ought to.

Go to the link and read the whole thing. It's not long. Do so even (especially?) if you find yourself disagreeing with this excerpt.

Posted via web from rhymeswithclown's posterous

1 comment:

Dad29 said...

Stiff upper lip, mate.

They may have toys. WE, in contrast, have love. Even though, now and then, it's a bit of a grind.