"We want to carry on the family name."
"Is there some compelling reason for doing that?"
"I like kids."
"Why not adopt some? There are countless kids who need adoption."
"My parents want me to."
"My spouse wants his/ her own kids."
"Fine. But does that urge really make it a good reason to bring another human into the world?"
"Kids are our reason for living."
"I think they're funny and fun to be around."
"I notice that everyone here is a teacher. So it's good if you think that way. But why have your own kids when you can volunteer or get paid to work with them?"
"I just want to."
"Ok, but that's an emotional reason, not a logical one."
On and on we went, straining our brains for an answer to this seemingly simple question.
Dr. Gary DeVries was the instructor's name, one of the funnier, more intelligent and personable people I've ever met.
I admit that the above quotes are squeezed from the depths of my highly imperfect memory, but I believe they do justice to the tenor of the discussion.
The answer to what began to seem like a Zen koan, was, "We have kids so that we can have friends in our old age, and hopefully while we're growing old." Or at least that was the most logical answer, as espoused by the good doctor.
And I have to admit that over the years, that has come to win out over any other any other answers I've thought of. Ten years ago when I was in the hospital for six weeks, getting a heart transplant, the regular visits from my two sons made me fight to hold back tears. "Friends for when we get old." Indeed! And for the most part, I have likewise greatly enjoyed my sons as friends growing up. Additionally, I do my best to be a friend to my own father, who now at 93, and greatly appreciates my friendship, to say the least.
Both my sons told me that they don't plan to have kids of their own (though one did, and my love for my grandson cannot possibly be "reduced to words"). My kids' reasons were similar to why I nearly neglected to procreate. I have many friends who have no kids and don't plan to have any. My neighbor doctor was telling me just last evening how kids give him headaches. And his pediatrician wife has no interest in having her own kids either, though she loves her profession. I sympathized and told them what Groucho Marx said, when asked how he liked kids. "Parboiled," he replied.
If you aren't of a similar persuasion yourself, I'm sure you know many folks who are. In other words, it appears that a large number of people, often highly intelligent people, have involuntarily joined the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.
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