Day’s Verse:
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.

Psalm 104:1-2

First CrocusWhy do people want to have kids? If you have children, what were you thinking when you got pregnant? If you intend to raise kids one day, what drives that desire?

I ask because having children is such an optimistic decision, for many reasons. By bringing a child into the world, you implicitly state your belief that there will be something to live for even after you are long gone. You’re saying that the world will offer something to people in fifty years, that it won’t be all pollution and overpopulation and UV rays and rising sea levels and extinct species and jobs in Asia. You’re believing that the human race has hope, a future beyond the immediate spreading darkness (of which you may or may not be aware. Soon you will be, though. Expect a long blog on environmentalism in the near future). You’re saying that maybe people will stop focusing on themselves, start living globally, sustainably, honorably. That maybe U.S. citizens won’t consume a ridiculous amount of the world’s resources in vast, endless, consumerist binges. You’re saying there’s hope for your child to live a good life.

Or are you? So I ask again: What drove you to propagate? Although evolution says you’re a failure if you don’t propagate your genes, we humans don’t buy into that. We find meaning in life outside of genetic success. What is it, then, that lights the desire to have a child?

(Patenting frenzy! Feed the scharpfs sharks!)

7 thoughts on “Why Propagate?

  1. I’m not sure I agree with you, Katie. While I won’t get into the issue of the state of the world/humanity, just because you have children doesn’t mean you think the world will be a good place for them to be. Think globally: in some cultures children bring prestige and honor, propigate the family name, regardless of the socio-economic surroundings.

    I think there’s also some intrisic desire to have children. My personal belif is that it comes from God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.” There’s also the connection w/ your offspring, the desire to care for someone and to be cared for by them (though I would guess some of that comes from being married).

    That’s my 25 cents, take it for what it’s worth, from a single guy w/o children. 🙂

  2. i think i dont really want to raise a child, i just want to decorate a child.

    that and i want to have a kid before my cousin does, because shes 1 year younger than me and always does everything before i do. shes getting married next may.

    also im terrified of children so i dont know how that would work out.

    also did you know that they come out of your vagina? gross.

  3. Ryan – I agree that people in many different cultures have different reasons for having kids. I’d like to get at the Western/American mindset with this question, since anything more would probably be fodder for a sociology graduate thesis.

  4. In early marriage years I went from assuming we’d have kids someday to thinking maybe we wouldn’t ever (’cause it’s easier without them) to being totally desirous of having a baby. Somehow it just became a huge desire. I’m inclined to agree with Ryan that it’s a natural desire that most people have; almost like an instinct. The state of the world never entered my mind.

  5. If changing the world for the better is your aim, having kids is not the best way to go about it. You can hardly expect them to make some amazing change that you didn’t do yourself, and once you have kids to raise, you have that huge responsibility and can no longer be as effective yourself at changing things.

    This is not an anti-children comment (memories of Hibbard, who said anyone who had fewer than 4 kids is a child-hater); there might be intrinsic value to having children. I don’t know. I myself don’t have any particular drive to have kids at this moment, but I’m sure that could change.

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