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SUNDAY SERMON: Reasons exist for not wanting many children

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By Joe Babendreier
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A European president commented that no intelligent woman today has many children. His attitude: one or two children is the limit. Anything beyond that means the woman is ignorant.

From a political perspective, it was not the most intelligent thing a president might say. Many women felt insulted, especially those who have large families.

Other people felt insulted, too, because they come from a large family and did not take kindly to having someone label their mother an idiot.

The matter is important for religious reasons. There is no question that some parents need to delay or avoid childbirth for various reasons: health, finances, etc. It is equally true that the best thing some parents can do for themselves, for their family and for society is to welcome more children into their lives.

I say “equally true”. However, I know enough about the modern world to know that equally true does not mean equally obvious. It no longer surprises me that most women are completely different from my own beloved mother. (She is a mother of 15 children.)

They are so completely different from my mother that they recoil in horror at the very idea. They are convinced they could never possibly be happy if they had more than three or four children — that being the absolute limit of what they would consider reasonable.

I do not claim that a woman today will automatically be happy by having many children.

She might end up being miserable if only because of the social criticism she would have to endure. Even so, take the trouble to examine a prejudice that has taken root against large families.

There was a time, not so long ago, when many women, like my mother and perhaps your own mother, felt it was the most natural thing in the world to have many children.

A child could look around the house and see many brothers and sisters. We are in danger of being blind to the obvious. If there are ever going to be any children who experience the joy of living in a large family, at least a few women have to see the benefit of wanting their children to grow up that way.

The Book of Psalms tell us that a large family is a blessing from God: “How blessed are all who fear Yahweh, who walk in His ways! Your own labours will yield you a living. Happy and prosperous will you be. Your wife: a fruitful vine in the inner places of your house. Your children round your table like shoots of an olive tree. Such are the blessings that fall on those who fear Yahweh.”

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