Children ‘Worst Decision’ Ever? Not So Fast
"The worst decision you can ever make is to have a child, according to science." Really?
“The worst decision you can ever make is to have a child, according to science.”
Whoa! There’s some pretty heavy stuff in that Indy100 headline from Friday morning. Is it true? Judging from the article, things look pretty grim.
Its main source? Gregory Brown and Mitchell Moffit, a.k.a. Greg and Mitch, “who host a YouTube science show.”
I watched the three and a half minute video from Brown and Moffit, titled “Why You Shouldn’t Have Kids.” And it’s pretty frightening.
Marital Dissatisfaction Plus Mass Starvation
“Research shows that marital satisfaction plummets after your first child and 70 percent of couples experience a big slump in their love life,” Moffit says.
Another downside? Sleep deprivation! “So in the first 2 years of your baby’s life survey data has found that you will lose six months of sleep,” Brown says.
Another reason not to procreate? “If you’re a woman with a child you make 3 percent less than a woman that is childless,” Moffit tells us. That’s crazy! Plus, kids cost thousands of dollars every year. Did you know that?
But here’s the kicker, brought to us by Brown:
Many scientists collectively agree that if you factor in fresh water and the amount of food available, the earth can really only hold about 9 to 10 billion people. So a smaller family or no kids can all can help the threats of overpopulation such as mass starvations.
Threats of overpopulation? Mass starvation? I must say, parents: What are you thinking?!
Does Happiness = Zero Obstacles?
Because they’re right. Sort of.
Babies do interrupt your sleep schedule. Any couple with kids can tell you that they put a strain on the romance, especially if you’re not careful to make your spouse a priority. As for the financial loss? Taking care of a child requires money. Lots of it.
The YouTubers’ facts aren’t wrong. Their premise is wrong. Their premise? That all these hardships will make you unhappy.
If your idea of a happy life is one where you get to do what you want with zero restrictions or other people to consider, you shouldn’t have kids.
Neither should you take college courses while juggling a part time job in order to pay for said courses. Neither should you start exercising or attempting to eat healthy. Adjusting to clean eating and regular work-outs can make you tired and cranky, after all. Neither should you discuss finances with your significant other. Because disagreement about how to handle money is a leading cause for divorce.
Come to think of it, why even have a significant other? If you’re looking for a happiness guarantee, just don’t. Adjusting your own habits to be compatible with another’s is inconvenient. And what about hurt feelings? Different communication styles? Family drama on either side? Hashtag Not Worth It?
Sacrifice and Struggle: Necessary for True Happiness
Working to pay for school, trying to be healthy and talking budget with Boo are all non-fun things. I know. But I also know that the reward is far greater than any temporary struggle, pain or argument.
And while I haven’t become a parent, I imagine the reward of creating, raising and loving a child is 1,000 times the reward of a degree, slimmer waistline or full savings account.
The truth is that anything in life worth having requires work. The kind that will test you, your character and your determination. The kind that will require sacrifice and moments that simply aren’t pleasant.
Should we avoid these things because of the temporary struggle and sacrifice they’ll cost? Sadly today, in a culture ruled by self-centered, instant gratification, the answer is becoming “yes.”
And devastatingly, the “yes” comes far more often when we hit the topic of children. It’s more acceptable to struggle and sacrifice for things that stroke our own egos, like education, career, and relationships. When kids are involved, a whole new level of self sacrifice is required.
Suddenly material benefits are seen as more important than new human life. Suddenly a few extra hours of sleep are more compelling than the experience of loving someone as sacrificially as parents love their children.
Worth the Sacrifice
This is exactly the opposite of what the Bible tells us about children. God commands the human race to “be fruitful and increase in number.” He has a reason for that: “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3).
Look at how Jesus treated children. Did He see them as a burden? Did He tell people not to have them because they won’t be happy? Jesus said, “let the little children come to me.” When the disciples tried to shoo them off, He didn’t turn them away. In fact, He instructed his disciples to “see that you do not despise” them.
It’s worth noting that Brown, Moffit and several comments on their YouTube video advocated adopting children already on earth and in need of a family. And with that, we as believers should wholeheartedly agree. But enthusiasm for adoption shouldn’t cancel out enthusiasm for bringing new children into the world. And neither should false warnings of unhappiness or overpopulation.
Yes, children are a sacrifice. Every parent will tell you that. But they’re also a reward, a blessing, a gift of God’s that makes our lives fuller, deeper, and more joyful.