The current issue of Christianity Today offers an interesting cover story entitled, “The Case for Kids.” Written by Leslie Leyland Fields, the article also features a fascinating subtitle — “A defense of the large family by a ‘six time breeder.'”
Mrs. Fields — who lives with her family on Alaska’s Kodiak Island — writes of being called a “breeder” and of facing the condescension and curiosity of her peers. Look closely at this paragraph:
The messages are constant and clear. They are posted throughout the internet, and they descend upon me in my small hometown through almost weekly public accostings. In exceeding the national norm, which currently stands at 2.034 children per household, according to the Population Reference Bureau, I’ve stepped down the ladder of achievement and broken not one, but several social contracts. First and foremost: If you are an educated professional woman, you will not want innumerable children. Women who are ambitious and smart have better plans for their lives than hosting Tupperware parties and singing “I’m a Little Teapot”–with hand motions–at play groups. In the words of Katharine Hepburn, “I was ambitious and knew I would not have children. I wanted total freedom.”
The sweetness of her appreciation for her large family is reflected in this section — which also demonstrates the firmness of her determination:
The reporters for these stories do not ask the burning question–the question most people are still too polite to ask, though I wonder how long until this boundary is breached and it’s open season on every couple’s reproductive life. The only time I recall being asked it was at an academic conference, by a lesbian poet, as we compared our lives over dinner. “Why do you have so many children?” she queried, her face honest and open. The question wasn’t, “Why do you have children?” After all, having one or more children is overwhelmingly the norm for the majority of American women. The question was, “Why so many?” She caught me off-guard. My unpremeditated answer was something like, “When we sit around the table and hold hands to give thanks for our food, I like it that the table is big and the circle is wide.”
Historically, desire for large families has been the norm rather than the exception. The Industrial Revolution, followed by the incredible social developments of the last century, changed all that. I am most interested in the fact that this article — and the fact that Christianity Today put the story on its cover — reminds us that, perhaps for the first time in human history, the case for having children — rather than not having them — must be made. We should be thankful to Leslie Leyland Fields for making the argument from the perspective of a very happy “six time breeder.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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