"For us, choosing not to have children is, clearly, a spiritually selfish
choice."Do I belong to the same Church as you? Because I thought
my church teaches that such choices are a private matter between the couple and
It's always funny how people interpret things. For Latter-day Saints,
leaders have counciled us to pray about when we are to have children and how
many: those that do not want to have children take that council as if they are
free to make the choice on their own. Remember, we have been instructed to pray
and seek Heavenly Fathers will. Without being too rigid, it's safe to say
many selfish couples don't understand the doctrine and don't seek
Heavenly Father on this ever important subject. If we sincerely ask, don't
you think a wise Father will respond with the answer that will further His
eternal purposes? Once again, there are exceptions but they are just that,
There's an acronym that my wife teaches her 5-year-old students on the
first day of school every year - MYOB.
I agree with David D....isn't it between us and the Lord? Being a member of
the church and "only" two children, I've had more than pity looks
& questions of why I don't have more or even the daring "Isn't
that a little selfish?" remarks. Disheartening to say the least. I have had
my own PERSONAL reasons for not having more than two & it's really no
ones business. Also, many women in the church now know their limit both
physically & mentally. They don't want to be less than because they are
told to have more...then they can realistically handle. My mom had that issue.
Kept being told to multiply and replenish. All have mental,relationship and
other issues. Tired,depressed....I know what you'll say...you can't
blame that on just having 6 kids. But I can draw strong inferences and it adds
up. Are there other variables..sure, but my mom did not have time for 3 kids,
let alone 6 and was tired before the morning began. More power to those who want
many kids, but for those who can't, or don't...please don't judge
their happiness level either.
Is not having children selfish. Well, not if one is a lousy parent. And
not on a planet of 7 billion plus population where we have no idea what the
resource limit is. Ultimately, having children is about the children, not in
validating the character of the parents.
I wonder if someone smarter than I can tell me exactly how many kids I, or
others should have.Obviously, 0 is wrong. So, is the right answer
1? 2?Is 5 enough? There sure seem to be lots of opinions as to how
many kids OTHER people should have.I never understood why it matters
to you. How does it affect you one bit?
The idea that I should commit a "sacrifice" in order to "contribute
to the workforce" is a thoroughly depressing argument for having children.
Most of the comments miss the point, and while coming close, do not really
answer the question: Is *choosing* to not have children selfish? Not *ability*,
not *quantity*, not *when*--*choosing NOT*. That's the issue. The Time
article was glorifying materialism and secularism "gained" by choosing a
life style of not having children.Of course it is your business to
have or not to have children. Of course it is between you and the Lord about the
issue. Of course it is your choice as to how many children to have. Of course it
is your choice when to have children. Of course it is nobody else's
business. But that is not the point of the Time article nor of this article.And the answer is inherently, "Yes!" It is selfish by very
definition. The reason to actively choose not to have children is so that you do
not have to share, give up or diminish your resources on children and have them
all for yourself. Plain and simple. Whether that choice is right or wrong is a
different question, but that is not what this article is about.
It is unfortunate that so many people are judged based on the # of kids they
have (or don't have). I still remember my mom condemning my brother for
not having any kids for 7 years. Obviously, she had no idea that his wife had
struggled to get pregnant or she may have been more tolerant and understanding
for their situation. There are many valid reasons why someone may choose to
have few children. Tough pregnancies, depression, struggles as a parent, health
problems, etc... Most of the times, these reasons are only known to the couple
and that is how it should be. I think we can all be more tolerant of choices
people make and let God decide what is really in their heart.
It's not about a specific number and it most assuredly isn't about
judging your neighbor but the point the Eyre's were making is that many
people do act in in a selfish way for selfish reasons in the one of the most
important of life's decisions. Anyone that takes offense to that has some
Is "choosing" to not have children selfish? Yes.
@DaniteTry living in the LDS culture without kids (biological
reasons) and come back and say it isn't about judging your neighbors.
"When are you going to start a family?" was so commonly asked of us that
my canned answer was that I thought my wife and I were a family. You may not judge your neighbors for the lack of or the number of kids they
have, but my personal experience is that you are the minority. My in-laws were
absolutely brutal to us, and started asking us about "starting a family"
after a year of marriage. We adopted a daughter after five years and she is the
light of my eye and my second true love - not just a notch in the birthrate.
I know this article was about the "selfish" decision to not
have children - as if it is any of our business, but why do we get to judge what
is selfish? There are a lot of reasons why couples don't have children.
To you the reasons are selfish. Until you've walked in their shoes, have
had the same life experiences, then MYOB.
Is not marrying a bad thing?Well look at D&C 131:2It
may not make someone a "bad person", but that doesn't mean
it's ever a "good thing" to abstain from marriage either. Perhaps
it could be, but the plan is for all human beings to enter into marriage,
etc.In that same sense, it may not make someone a "bad
person" to not want children, but it certainly isn't great. And in
light of why most people choose not to, it's most commonly a selfish
motivation, and not one of selflessness. Is the choice automatically selfish?
Maybe not. But it is pure selfishness for many, if not most, who make that
choice.Look in a mirror, recognize where you came from, and if you
have any appreciation for your own life you surely must appreciate the
compelling nature of procreation.If you cannot, I understand
completely. If you will not, then I fail to see a motivation outside of
extra-ordinary circumstances that wouldn't be selfish.All the
offended people on here are missing the "choosing" replies. Get a grip
people. No one is criticizing physical limitation, only selfish CHOICES.
> "the U.S. birthrate"Surely that has to be considered
alongside the death rate, which is also low.For example in 2011
(latest year with death data) in the U.S.A. there were:3.95 million
births, and2.51 million deaths, True, births are
slightly decreasing, and deaths slightly increasing,but there is still
each year a big net “natural increase” in population -despite
a low birth rate since the 1970s.
It's true that a lot of people who don't choose children have selfish
reasons. They like their lives as is,they don't want to sacrafice, etc...
Some reasons aren't selfish, but let's get real. Most anti-children
reasons ARE. I used to be one of them, and then I had my son. The
authors aren't telling anyone how to live their lives. Of course,
they're going to be pro children when they had a bunch of their own, and
have written numerous books on parenting.Not everyone can churn out
a bakers dozen, and some people should NOT have even a single child, but coming
from both perspectives, I think people that don't have kids conciously and
on purpose are really missing out.
@I know it --"It may not make someone a "bad person",
but that doesn't mean it's ever a "good thing" to abstain from
marriage either. Perhaps it could be, but the plan is for all human beings to
enter into marriage, etc."Paul tells us that it is better to
remain single than to marry. Many religious people have told me that
Paul was a prophet of God.Was Paul lying? Was he wrong? Was he a prophet, or not?
The low birthrate can be easily offset by the effects of immigration. The
advantage to immigration is that the US has the ability (right now) to pick and
choose the best and brightest from other countries, and offer them the
opportunity to come to America. Simply having a child in no way guarantees
another productive member of society. As to the tax issue, I
absolutely believe in the tax breaks for having children. What I don't
believe in is leaving that without a ceiling. Give tax breaks for the first 4
children, and then either give a diminishing return, or cut it off. If people
want more kids, they're welcome to have them. But 4 is more than replacing
the parents for things like SS, etc. If that causes a population decline, see
my first paragraph.
I think @bw00ds is the only one who gets it here. Well said.
To Dave D: it is not just between the couple and Heavenly Father - when they are
married in the temple they acknowledge that they are making the covenant in
front of not only Heavenly Father but all those who are there. It is the
responsibility of those present to encourage the couple to at least try to live
up to the promises they made. Remember when we don't fulfill our end of a
covenant Heavenly Father does not have to fulfill his.
@CHS 85Dear Brother, I empathize with your personal circumstances
and understand (at least on some level) your frustrations. I agree completely
with you about "MYOB" when it comes to anyone's specific
situation...AMEN! We do not have the right to judge anyone's circumstances;
we don't have all the facts and we don't need to! I wish
to not be misunderstood however. I was referring to the general principles that
were highlighted in this article. Way too often, people get on message boards
and quickly get away from the point being made. The Eyre's were not
advocating for anyone to start judging people without children; and they
aren't wrong for stating that, way too often not having children is a
decision based off of selfish motives. The Brethren have taught this repeatedly
and recently. It is with that in mind that I stand firm in defending the
principle where it applies (not unlike the Eyre's). You are right, I
don't get to declare what is selfish and what is not, but I feel it is my
responsibility as a disciple to defend truth whenever and however it applies.
1. I believe having children should be something people do because they want to,
not because society is pushing them to do it. We all ready have too many
children being raised by those who are not really serious about being
parents.2. I think you should write your article about the
"Abundant Life" and send it to Time Magazine. If they won't print
it, I'm sure this newspaper will. I think a lot of people would be
interested in your perspective on why raising children is fulfilling and worth
Choosing to not have children can be an unselfish act too. Imagine that you or
your spouse has a hereditary defect that will be passed along to any child that
you may have. Some may choose to not have children because they do not wish to
have a child suffer because of a genetic defect that they would pass on.How about this. A couple gets married for the first time when they are
40 years old or older. They may decide to not have children because the are not
confident that their health will be sufficient to handle a teenage child while
in their 50s.
We need more articles and speeches geared toward singles who have chosen that
lifestyle by choice, enduring complete abstinence and celibacy. It takes will
powar, and those who accomplish that thru their lives should get commendations
for their stamina and willpower.
Danite--you say that in most cases, if couples council honestly with God then
God will respond with the answer that furthers His eternal purposes. I've
found in my experience that God usually gives me the answer that will further MY
eternal purposes. His plan is to mold/guide each of His children into who
they're supposed to be--if they'll let Him. And He--and only He--knows
what is best for each. That's why I get very uncomfortable when articles
like this one universally deem a type of choice as inherently selfish or
sinful.Know/live/love--"No one is criticizing physical limitation,
only selfish CHOICES." This sounds lovely, but encourages judgment. How
often is someone going to tell you straight out what's going on with their
reproductive system? I think a problem within this culture is that it's
automatically presumed a couple who chooses to wait for kids (or permanently
abstain) is perfectly able, unless proven otherwise. I can't ovulate. Do I
tell people that? No, because it's really none of their business why
I'm not having kids.
Sqweebie--the covenant was made between the couple and God; it's a lovely
thought that all who witness it are therefore required to encourage the couple
to fulfill their promises, but that also presumes all the witnesses know
everything that's going on in the couple's life. Am I really supposed
to share intimate details about my faulty reproductive system with fifty people
in order to escape their painful "encouragement"? And if
someone capable of having children is an "exception" to the rule of
"have kids or you're selfish," having counciled with God and
received a definite direction to abstain from kids, I can't think of a
quicker way to drive them from the church than fifty witnesses nagging them
about not keeping their covenants properly. Nagging--whether
lovingly or judgmentally--is not going to effect positive change on a
"selfish" couple or push them closer to God. It might, however, alienate
a perfectly nice couple who is already grieving their childlessness, or who
knows God has other plans for them besides children.
Wouldn't it be more selfish to have children that you know you cannot
support emotionally, logistically, or financially?
No, it is not selfish. If the couple feels that not having kids is the right
thing to do then that is their choice and their choice alone. I don't have
kids -- I have cousins. Lots of cousins of various ages whom I love. Soon
another cousin will be welcomed into the brood and I have volunteered to
babysit. The possibility of me having a child (with or without a hubby) is next
to nil and I'm okay with that. Did I choose that, no, but that's what
it is and I deal with it. It is really none of anyone's business if the
Eyre's has a family or not except for the Eyre's. I'm not seeing
the point in publicly debating this couples private decision.
I 100% agree w/GZE. It would be more selfish to have children that you cannot
support. At that point, you're only thinking about yourself & how you
want kids, not how others in society are going to have to pick up your slack. I
know MANY parents who are just as, if not more, selfish than couples without
kids or even single people! There's so many absolutely horrid parents out
there clearly not doing their jobs, that I applaud those with the intelligence
to realize they might not be able to support children.
I'm a pretty selfish person... by nature, always have been. I can attest
that having children and then actually rising to the level of fulfilling my
parental responsibilities is annoyingly unselfish. There are folks
who choose not to have children (I had a boss who chose this and openly admitted
it) hide behind couple who struggle with health issues that proclude them from
having children. My boss if pressed would also probably admit at some level that
he was being selfish by not having kids, yet he is okay with that, as being
selfish had no real consequences (other than getting him what he wanted). He has
a very nice boat.So in an effort to be compassionate to those who
would love children IF ONLY THEY COULD, we as a society throw a blanket over the
whole group. I have dear friends who married young, but due to the health
troubles of one, ache for the opportunity to be parents but know they will never
be able to do so. One struggles physically, the other with mental illness, both
wish, but can't have.
I hate taking a complex issue and trying to divided it neatly down the middle,
as many seem to be doing. "Is it selfish or choose not to have
children"? is a nonsense question because selfishness is a motivation, not
an observable, measurable characteristic. You either produce children or you
don't, but the reasons for choosing not to are probably complicated. For many it may be as simple as "I want to be able to go out to bar
whenever I want without getting a sitter," I suspect in most cases
that's far down the list. If your own experience included disinterested,
absent, or abusiv parenting, for example, why would you think having kids is a
good idea? If your only frame of reference is filled with pain and sadness,
wouldn't a selfless person decide not to bring a new person into that frame
of reference?This is just one example. I don't suggest that
only people with bad upbringings can rationally choose not to have kids, but I
do suggest that making assumptions about people's motivation requires
arrogance in the extreme.
@ Contrarius: The apostle Paul was taking to a specific group in this letter,
men who had been called to serve as messengers/missionaries far from home and
some were engaged to be married and were wondering if they should marry before
leaving or after returning. Paul himself was probably a widower by this time and
felt they might be able to more fully commit themselves if they were like him
and didn't have to be "careful" or anxious about family at home.
You can read more of his approval of marriage in his many letters to the
believers, such as Ephesians 5:21-6:4 and Colossians 8:3-21 and in fact he sees
it as a duty: Corinthians 11:11