So here’s me…selfish.

So I’m reading Power to the People, which I picked up from the library yesterday, and Laura Ingraham’s first chapter has to do with something my wife and I were talking about just this morning: kids.

According to Ingraham, reactions to families with as many as four, five or even six kids range from shock to revulsion. Some, she says, even call it selfish.

Which kind of baffles me.  Now, I know am cut from a cloth sewn in a bygone era — I learned that one Halloween night when a trick-or-treater showed up on my doorstep yammering into a cell phone as she held out her bag. But five kids…selfish?

My wife and I have two, and we’re thinking seriously about stopping. And I’m thinking, if anyone ought to feel selfish, it’s us.

Just to clarify, I do not mean to insinuate that Ingraham doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and I do not doubt her assertions. I just don’t get it. But I don’t get a lot of things. Kids grow up to keep things running; they’re the ones that take their parent’s worlviews out for a spin after their parents hand over the keys.  More kids, to me, means the better chance your worldview and values will endure.

Selfish? Really?

Then why do I want to stop at two? The quick answer, we can’t afford it. We got married with an armload of debt (something I will discourage as strongly as I can as our kids get older), and in order to afford our first, we had to consolidate a few loans. To afford our second, my wife had to quit her job, because we couldn’t afford two kids in daycare.  There’s nothing left to sacrifice if we decided to have a third (listen to me invoke Orson Scott Card).

Is that selfish?  I’m inclined to think no. I’m trying to be responsible. Still, others will tell me, “well, it depends on what God wants.” Maybe God speaks to them in clear intonations, but He has only done that for me once. My general understanding is that if He has to resort to using a booming voice from the sky, then you’re beginning to stray a little.

So I’m still undecided.  But five kids…selfish?  No. Five kids…strong.

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November 2008
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