Birth Control: The Best Pollution Solution.
These words on a bumper sticker caught me yesterday as I read from my kid-filled minivan. In the little car ahead of us were three young men, all holding paper cups filled with Starbuck’s coffee. Now, I’m a fan of coffee and have nothing against young men of the world as a whole, but somehow, the combination of these things left a funny taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t the taste of java. You can imagine the effect these words had on me, mother of five. What I read is, those messy kids with their jelly-stained fingers and runny noses are the problem. We need fewer of them so we can be more indulgent (expensive coffee, for example). Here’s the way to solve the world’s ills: stop producing more people. (Sigh.) Well, I happen to have a different view, and while I don’t take the subject of family size lightly, I do tend to see children more as part of the solution, as a sign of hope, not the problem itself. I try to see the potential in each child, not just the liability issues. I see the fresh views they bring to our world, not the smog. I see a future researcher who will find the cure for cancer, a future artist who will transform minds through her work, a future teacher who will reveal ideas that will, in fact, lead to life-changing solutions.
Today, a friend forwarded me the following article, which so eloquently put my thoughts into words a different way and offers a view contrasting the one on the bumper sticker. Thankfully, I’m not the only who feels the way I do. I will let the writer of that article take it from here, and let the resulting sighs for or against this viewpoint settle where they may.
Christian Science Monitor
October 21, 2008, Tuesday
Thanks to Angelina Jolie, having lots of kids is hip
BYLINE: Meagan Francis
SECTION: OPINION; Pg. 9
LENGTH: 740 words
DATELINE: St. Joseph, Mich.
With a mom of five firmly in the spotlight as a VP candidate and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s twins making tabloid headlines, big families seem to be once again making the news.
Over the past year or two, several news stories have suggested that in certain affluent circles, “four is the new two” and that it may be a new sort of keeping up with the Joneses: instead of a big-screen TV and expensive car, the new one-uppers just keep adding more kids to the fold.
While my husband and I have four stair-step boys ages 10, 9, 4, and 2, and I’m expecting another, we aren’t part of that particular breed of breeders.
Our lives are nowhere near glamorous. We drive a 2001 Dodge Caravan. My husband works as a computer technician, while I earn the other half of our living as a freelance writer. And we frolic at the public beach, not a country-club pool.
The Jolie-Pitts – or even the Palins – we aren’t.
We don’t fit other large-family stereotypes, either. We aren’t Roman Catholic, Mormon, or Orthodox Jewish, and have no religious opposition to birth control. While we aren’t wealthy by any means, we aren’t poor as church mice, either.