Monday, April 21, 2008

Multiply and Replenish

As we contemplate if/when/why to have more children, the following have been subjects of our varied conversations. In an effort towards completeness I will include reasons why both we and others choose to have children or not to have more children. [To protect the innocent I will not say which have been our thoughts (with a few exceptions) and which seem to be the thoughts of others.]

Reasons why parents choose to have more children:
  • You grow to love each child so much that logic and experience indicate that the love in your heart grows with more kids.
  • When you see large families, many of them seem to have a special "group association" that only large families have. Sometimes a similar association can be achieved by very close extended families.
  • Social pressure (more on this below).
  • Desire to have a child of a missing sex.
  • Desire to have more than just one child of a specific sex (ie-a family with two girls and one boy wants to have another boy so their only son can have a brother).
  • Spiritual promptings.
  • Satisfy a desire to adopt and help a child that would otherwise not likely live as good of a life.
  • A personal pressure that if you stop when you only have a couple children that you therefore concede that you can't handle more and thus fall short of personal or social desires and/or pressure to have more.
  • Bring spirits into a good family rather than let so many go to families where so many sad things happen.
  • Get more joy in the life to come with a larger posterity.
  • Good old accidents
  • ...

Reasons why parents choose to not have more children:
  • To avoid going beyond their capacity to handle the stresses of bearing children and raising them.
  • Facilitates having an easier life (less stress, less time constraints, less sacrifice, etc.).
  • Have more money for self by spending less on children (both selfishly in cases of excess and necessarily in cases of minimal funds).
  • Easier to do things with a smaller family compared to having 10 kids spanning the ages from 2 to 22.
  • Spiritual promptings.
  • Physical difficulties of child bearing.
  • Avoid overpopulating the earth.
  • Fertility issues.
  • ...
So, for the sociologist in me there are two primary questions that arise.

First, do there exist any pressures to have more children other than the basic desire to just have more children? And, if so, what are the origins and merit of those pressures?

Second, and more important to me, where do you draw the line between what you can handle and what you can legitimately so is too much. This is a question I have never been able to answer for myself. It seems that as long as I am not being asked to do the equivalent of pulling my family across the prairie in a hand cart, during winter, with bleeding feet, burying my children in snow graves, eating leather from my saddle for lack of food and all after just returning from a 3 year mission across the country where I left my pregnant wife to go...well, then I am not doing too much. Yet, I don't really think that unless we get to that point of sacrifice we have room to throw a few more difficult tasks on, but I still do not know where to draw the line.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Evil is Easier (to get results with)

I have not posted in a while due to some crazy times. My one past time has been listening to audio books on my commute. I recently finished Ken Follet's, Pillars of the Earth. It was a 1000 pages in print form and therefore took quite a while to listen to the unabridged audio version.

I really like the book, but one theme really stood out for me. One person can do so much more evil in this life than they can do good. For example, in the book there is a character named William Hamleigh. He is an utterly evil person. In one day he gathered a bunch of others and ran through a village burning the entire town and killing several people leaving children without parents and raping some of the women that he let live. I know the story is fiction, but non-fiction episodes of very similar circumstances definitely do occur. Could one person easily do that much good in one day with similar resources?

I see negative waves of repercussions occur as a parent, brother, husband, son, etc. in my own life. I wish that the opposite were true and I think this is one of the main causes of this world's heartache. I can at least take consolation in knowing that circumstances and situations will be different in the next life to afford the opposite results.

On a side note, here is an interesting article on some good occurring...,1,2488142.story