Jump to content

Menu

What is the purpose, in Western culture, of having children?


What is the purpose of kids in post-modern society?  

  1. 1. What is the purpose of kids in post-modern society?

    • To inherit family property or business
      1
    • To carry family name
      3
    • For pleasure/companionship/family feeling
      215
    • To care for us in old age
      0
    • Because that is "normal"/expected
      10
    • To permit God's will
      18
    • To fulfill God's commandment to "multiply"
      27
    • It happened despite my prevention
      2
    • To benefit humanity in some way
      18
    • Other
      30


Recommended Posts

My Human Geography professor asked this question, as we were talking about population pyramids. Professor is apparently more of the liberal mindset and in favor of reducing population growth in post-modern countries. I do not share that mindset, but I still think it's an interesting question to ask. Quite a few students did seem actually stumped. What is your own primary reason for having a child or children?

 

Poll to follow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, my number one reason is obedience to God. A close second, maybe even a tie is pure pleasure. I love having kids. I love having different ages and stages. I love how each child is their own person (even if it does drive me insane at times) . I love the hustle and bustle. I love hanging out with my teens and seeing who they are becoming. I love snuggling a baby and seeing a whole lifetime ahead for them. I just love having kids!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My own reason is because I wanted children and a family - like you say in the poll. However, I often feel that for most people (including me) it's because there's literally a biological drive to reproduce and everything else we tell ourselves is just justifications for our need to fulfill that drive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What would be the point, in a post-modern society, if everyone stopped having kids?

 

I don't think that would be a recommendation, even if you were asking someone who believes in curbing population. Professor was not saying "nobody should have kids." She has one of her own. But that is probably an intentional number for her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My own reason is because I wanted children and a family - like you say in the poll. However, I often feel that for most people (including me) it's because there's literally a biological drive to reproduce and everything else we tell ourselves is just justifications for our need to fulfill that drive.

 

That's astute. Probably more true than we generally think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My own reason is because I wanted children and a family - like you say in the poll. However, I often feel that for most people (including me) it's because there's literally a biological drive to reproduce and everything else we tell ourselves is just justifications for our need to fulfill that drive.

 

I answered "other" because I dislike the premise: "purpose" seems to imply "usefulness" and that bugs me--because it sets the value of the person relative to the person's usefulness.

 

My response is not on the list, so I voted "other." Love bears fruit; the love among the Holy Trinity resulted in creation. You can take it forward from here regarding the love between a man and a woman. Of course, there is also modern technology that confuses the question now...but love-giving and life-giving are tightly linked.

:iagree: What they said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I answered "other" because I dislike the premise: "purpose" seems to imply "usefulness" and that bugs me--because it sets the value of the person relative to the person's usefulness.

 

My response is not on the list, so I voted "other." Love bears fruit; the love among the Holy Trinity resulted in creation. You can take it forward from here regarding the love between a man and a woman. Of course, there is also modern technology that confuses the question now...but love-giving and life-giving are tightly linked.

 

:iagree: Beautifully stated. I would add this answer to my own above. God's design for creation is love, and love bears fruit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My children claim the purpose to me having kids is to have slaves to clean the house :glare:

 

I initially had them out of desire for family, so for pleasure I guess. I let them continue to live so that I will have someone to care for me in my old age (well and clean the house now) ;)

 

 

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I answered "other" because I dislike the premise: "purpose" seems to imply "usefulness" and that bugs me--because it sets the value of the person relative to the person's usefulness.

 

My response is not on the list, so I voted "other." Love bears fruit; the love among the Holy Trinity resulted in creation. You can take it forward from here regarding the love between a man and a woman. Of course, there is also modern technology that confuses the question now...but love-giving and life-giving are tightly linked.

 

I understand that. The question grew out of discussion that compared our society to an agrarian society, where more children are an "asset," because they are able to be productive relatively early. But in our society, children are a "liability" for far longer and in most cases, they are not an asset in strictly financial terms. In simplistic terms, an agrarian father would be proud to have twelve strong, healthy sons, where a westernized father would have to consider twelve orthodontics, or twelve colleges, or twelve driver's ed classes, and so on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I voted based on what I thought you were asking (the conventional wisdom) instead of what I personally believe. I would say that most people today have children for selfish reasons, treating the child as essentially an expensive pet or trophy. That's why you see the rampant outsourcing of the work of actually raising the child. :glare:

 

I personally view babies as blessings from God and feel that motherhood is a vocation. Now, that doesn't mean that I think everyone should have kids (God has a plan for each of us, and that plan may or may not involve becoming a parent) or that parents have a moral obligation to bear as many children as they physically can. I do feel that married couples should carefully consider whether or not they truly have a serious reason to postpone pregnancy and not set artificial limits on family size.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My children claim the purpose to me having kids is to have slaves to clean the house :glare:

 

I initially had them out of desire for family, so for pleasure I guess. I let them continue to live so that I will have someone to care for me in my old age (well and clean the house now) ;)

 

 

:D

 

When we were kids, my sister and I used to say that! :lol: We were pretty terrible slaves, if that was true!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My children claim the purpose to me having kids is to have slaves to clean the house :glare:

 

 

:lol: I have one who tells me she'll have a whole houseful of kids so she never has to do any work. We'll see how that works out for her. :lol:

 

I find kids delightful. Without them, who would keep me laughing, and rolling my eyes at their wisdom. ;) I also agree that there was probably a biological component.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I answered "other" because I dislike the premise: "purpose" seems to imply "usefulness" and that bugs me--because it sets the value of the person relative to the person's usefulness.

 

My response is not on the list, so I voted "other." Love bears fruit; the love among the Holy Trinity resulted in creation. You can take it forward from here regarding the love between a man and a woman. Of course, there is also modern technology that confuses the question now...but love-giving and life-giving are tightly linked.

 

:iagree:

 

And as for having kids to clean the house - it wouldn't be messy if no kids lived here!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't vote. There is no "To be our personal slaves and wait on us hand and foot." (Just watched that video of the dad who shot his daughter's laptop and couldn't resist.)

 

astrid (who thinks there are a whole lot of issues in that family above and beyond a snotty teenager.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally view babies as blessings from God and feel that motherhood is a vocation. Now, that doesn't mean that I think everyone should have kids (God has a plan for each of us, and that plan may or may not involve becoming a parent) or that parents have a moral obligation to bear as many children as they physically can. I do feel that married couples should carefully consider whether or not they truly have a serious reason to postpone pregnancy and not set artificial limits on family size.

 

:iagree: This describes our feelings pretty well. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think that would be a recommendation, even if you were asking someone who believes in curbing population. Professor was not saying "nobody should have kids." She has one of her own. But that is probably an intentional number for her.

I am merely suggesting that if one poses a question with an assumption, one should be willing to extend it, or pose an opposing question.

 

If the logical outcome of path #2 is total disaster, then there has to be something going for path #1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think of it as something done for a "purpose."

 

I have an instinctual drive to nurture. Hence I adopted kids when I started getting old for healthy reproduction (never met my Prince Charming yet).

 

I guess some married people have kids to make their families feel "complete."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pfft on your teacher's ideas. She/He is implying that children are only for spreading out the work load. Why did she/he have a child? What purpose does her/his child have in her/his life? Or is she/he saying that there is no reason for people to have more than one child? I knew someone like that. She would comment that no parent could really meet the needs of more than one child if that child was raised the right way. Sometimes I wanted to slap that woman with a wet noodle.

 

Kids are fascinating! They are whole, unique, real people even if they are not fully grown from the beginning. I didn't have children to make me feel complete. I had them because being a parent absolutely rocks. Some call parenting a job, I don't see that either. I see parenthood as a lovely privilege and I cannot fathom life without this experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't vote. There is no "To be our personal slaves and wait on us hand and foot." (Just watched that video of the dad who shot his daughter's laptop and couldn't resist.)

 

astrid (who thinks there are a whole lot of issues in that family above and beyond a snotty teenager.)

 

That's starting to look like a popular reason; too bad I maxed out at 10! :D

 

From a strictly secular standpoint, don't you need an increasing number of people working to support those retiring from the system? For instance, how many people do you need paying into social security and insurance to support the elderly?

 

That was a part of the lecture as well. I don't know for sure, but it sounds like the Professor thinks the error was partially in the Baby Boomers (of which she is a product, ironically), because that creates a "bulge" that is currently not well supported by subsequently falling birthrates. She would not contend that each generation thereafter should be larger, though, because people who use resources would be expanding exponentially. (HER view, not mine, just to be clear.) IOW, she would say, "This was our collective error - having a Baby Boom." She would not support having a bigger baby boom now to support the earlier "error."

 

I wanted to gift humanity with my progeny? :lol:

 

Seriously, I don't know. I guess the whole "family feel" thing would be my reasoning. I enjoy them for the most part (although they do drive me crazy, so apparently I like pain and crazy too).

 

That is my reasoning, although it wasn't all that left-brained for me. I was the first student to respond in the class (they are almost all teenagers, though, no other parents) and I said, "For pleasure."

 

In fact - not that children should be compared to pets, but a similar question could be asked of pet owners. Why do you have a dog? Why a cat? Why TWO cats? Isn't the cat-owning experience adequate with just one cat? They don't herd sheep or drive my milk cart or perform rescue duties. (Although cats are darn good for deterring mice and the dog does keep my garden from being deer food!:D) My pets don't contribute anything, they are a liability, but they are so dear to me! They just plain bring me joy.

 

How about "to be the objects of my affection."

 

Very sweet. I love it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am merely suggesting that if one poses a question with an assumption, one should be willing to extend it, or pose an opposing question.

 

If the logical outcome of path #2 is total disaster, then there has to be something going for path #1.

 

Hmmm. I'm sure this has something to do with formal argumentation, but I am not a rhetorician and I already know your IQ outstrips mine by a mile. :D You could sit in on the class, I guess. What are you doing tomorrow at 12:30? ;)

 

LOL on the 12 orthodontics! Let alone how many minivans he would need. :0)

 

Yeah, I always thought that with the Duggars - the TEETH! How do they keep up with the TEETH! :lol: I understand used clothing, bunkbeds and even homemade laundry soap, but the teeth? That just costs!

 

Pfft on your teacher's ideas. She/He is implying that children are only for spreading out the work load. Why did she/he have a child? What purpose does her/his child have in her/his life? Or is she/he saying that there is no reason for people to have more than one child? I knew someone like that. She would comment that no parent could really meet the needs of more than one child if that child was raised the right way. Sometimes I wanted to slap that woman with a wet noodle.

 

Kids are fascinating! They are whole, unique, real people even if they are not fully grown from the beginning. I didn't have children to make me feel complete. I had them because being a parent absolutely rocks. Some call parenting a job, I don't see that either. I see parenthood as a lovely privilege and I cannot fathom life without this experience.

 

She has not stated that there is no reason to have more than one child, but I do get the strong impression that she would despair of each additional child if it were, say, her DIL having several children. She did say something like, "If Person A has 2 children and Person B has 8 children, which children get more parental attention?" She does seem to see it in simplistic, mathematical terms.

 

I completely agree with your second paragraph. That is exactly my feeling 100% I love each individual person. I wanted more kids because I enjoy seeing what each individual will be like/become/enjoy/do. Sorry to give the pet analogy again, but it's the same as how I love each of my pets. Luna is her own little fluffy, demure self, Thor is his affectionate, bullish adorableness and Sergeant is a slobby, doofy ball of fun. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I voted Other.

 

I think we are wired to have children. Call it instinct, God-given drive or whatever.

 

I had a strong desire to have children and it didn't stop until after I had my fourth. Now, I don't want to have any more children. Not because it is hard work (it was hard work when I had three, and still went on to have a fourth), but that desire is totally quenched.

 

My two cents...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd simply be glad that she is not my professor.

 

I'm even a bit glad for you. ;) I'm not really keen on her knowing I homeschool three kids as I'm sure that would not make an ounce of sense to her.

 

I just have my eye on earning an A. I do think the class content is very interesting, but I don't see it from her POV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say that it is God's design for his creation. And His design is such that having a family benefits us in many ways (such as the ones you chose for the poll), both practical and pleasurable. :)

:iagree: I would add that I am of the belief that God's desire for us to multiply did not mean "multiply forever". God's grace allows us to experience family (on a large or small scale) love, companionship, caretaking, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm even a bit glad for you. ;) I'm not really keen on her knowing I homeschool three kids as I'm sure that would not make an ounce of sense to her.

 

I just have my eye on earning an A. I do think the class content is very interesting, but I don't see it from her POV.

Yes, it can be interesting, but it's nice not to feel like a targeted extreme in the conversation :) So it definitely wasn't her personally...just that such discussions can get personal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was a part of the lecture as well. I don't know for sure, but it sounds like the Professor thinks the error was partially in the Baby Boomers (of which she is a product, ironically), because that creates a "bulge" that is currently not well supported by subsequently falling birthrates. She would not contend that each generation thereafter should be larger, though, because people who use resources would be expanding exponentially. (HER view, not mine, just to be clear.) IOW, she would say, "This was our collective error - having a Baby Boom." She would not support having a bigger baby boom now to support the earlier "error."

 

Perhaps you could propose "thinning the herd" of Boomers? Starting with her. :bigear:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My #1 reason isn't on there. An extention of family feelings, someone to teach (in a broader than hsing sense) and pass my values onto. Someone to guide through life and share life with.

 

I agree, and with farrarwilliams' point-of-view.

 

This is so interesting to me. I think -- like practically everyone I know in real life -- that we humans (as well as everything else on earth) would be a lot better off if there were fewer people on the planet. It is interesting that almost everyone who posts here has an opposite view.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...