Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Outgrowing the economy

Recently, I came across an article in the New York Times regarding large families living in motels, and was again struck by the thought that perhaps America needs to reexamine the dogmatic idea that bigger is better when it comes to family planning. In one case, the article mentions a couple, the husband who had worked at Target and the wife who had worked at Petco, having lost both of their jobs within months of each other. They have three children, and just added another baby to the family. Perhaps it's my upbringing, but common sense tells me that having lots of children without being able to afford to take care of them isn't a very good idea. However, thousands of low income families insist on bringing such "joy" into the world, straining government and charitable organizations that offer support for each child born superfluously outside of the family budget.

Lisa Belkin of the New York Times asked the question: How many is too many? We, as a society, have yet to determine that number. Scientists say that we should only replace ourselves in order to avoid further leeching resources from the Earth. That means, in essence, every couple should have just two children. Furthermore, considering the cost in this modern day to raise a child, most low income families cannot really afford to have more than one. Yet, somehow more keep coming.

I am not blaming all of the motel families, some of whom were legitimately well-planned from homes with decent earnings and just fell victims of circumstance, but I am saying that perhaps we need to provide better information within our educational system not only regarding the responsibility of having children, but the cost as well. In this economy, our entire way of life will have to be re-examined, and family size is just one aspect that I suspect will come under scrutiny.

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