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Babies Are No Longer Considered A Blessing
Jewish Press ^ | March 8, 2006 | Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Posted on 03/09/2006 5:16:12 PM PST by SJackson

A funny thing happened to me the other day when my wife and I had, thank God, another baby (a boy). Many of my friends didn’t seem all that happy for me. Sure, they went through the motions of smiles and congratulations. But it was evident that many thought me insane. Why would a young man and his wife ruin their lives with eight children? Who could afford the day-school bills? Didn’t we want to live life a little, and not just be burdened with kids?

It got downright surreal when a European film company pressed me, while my wife was in labor, to finish shooting a segment that had an urgent deadline (I obviously told them they were insane). The next day I was mildly criticized by a Jewish organization I was scheduled to address – because I had to cancel my appearance when I realized the lecture would clash with the baby’s bris.

I don’t mind that the world doesn’t really love babies. I do mind that it pretends to. It’s time we got honest about our priorities. Most people get a new car every two or three years, but one or two babies through the life of a marriage is plenty. You can get drunk on an airplane, laugh hysterically with your mates, and still not really anger people. But if you dare bring a crying baby on board you will be given malicious looks, as if the little thing is a package that ticks.

If you walk your dog along the street, people will stop you to tell you how cute he is. But walking down the street with a baby? You might run into a cooing woman or two, but for the most part you’ll be utterly ignored.

Indeed, the contempt shown to parents who have many children is the last acceptable prejudice in our society. As a father of a large family, I find myself apologizing wherever I go, as if I’ve committed a crime. The frequent and loaded stares from scornful onlookers imply that the famine in Africa was caused by my selfish insistence on overpopulating the earth. Long ago my wife and I discovered that few hotels were prepared to accommodate so many children, even if we took three of four rooms – which is why we bought an RV for travel.

How strange to live in a world where loving children casts one in infamy. Having a family with many children implies a backwardness and primitivism that is deemed unbecoming in the developed countries of the West. Large families, it is thought, exist only among religious weirdoes or the teeming hovels of the Third World. Rich countries, by contrast, prefer to increase their standard of living rather than the number of the living.

Looking at Western birth rates for the year 2001, the United States averaged only 14.2 births for every thousand Americans, and the birthrate among white Americans is so low that the United States will soon lose its white majority. Indeed, one can go for days in Manhattan without encountering a single pregnant woman.

Hence the high birth rates of extremely poor African nations like Uganda, at 47.52 births per 1,000, or Niger with 50.68 births per 1,000, are deemed to be prime causes and indicators of their penury. The abundant fertility of these countries confirms the unspoken Western view of these country’s inhabitants as being just one step above savages. Contraception becomes a synonym for civilization.

A Christian mother of six once wrote to me: "I find it troubling to worry about getting pregnant again... because I don’t want to face the criticism of friends and family. Why do people not see children as a blessing?" A fair question that deserves a fair response.

Why is it that even many synagogues today are not children-friendly? Why are people impressed that Jay Leno owns twenty motorcycles but disgusted that some religious families choose to have ten children?

Let’s not finesse the response. We all know why. A world that has lost its innocence has trouble appreciating beings that are innocent. A world that has become selfish has soured to the idea of leading a life of selflessness. A world that has become grossly materialistic is turned off to the idea of more dependents who consume resources. And a world that mistakenly believes that freedom means a lack of responsibility is opposed to the idea of needy creatures who "tie you down."

The world can go fly a kite.

By just looking at my children I become more innocent. By loving them I become more noble. By spending more money on them than I spend on myself I find transcendence. And by being a father and liberating all of the love in my heart, my spirit soars free. I work hard to support a large family and I give up no pleasures in doing so because my children are my foremost pleasure.

I am often asked by women how they can tell whether the men they are dating are marriage material. I tell them, "See if he enjoys children." A man who loves children is playful. He will spend his life joking with his wife because he loves to see her laugh, and will flirt with her because he loves to see her smile.

There was a time when husbands and wives worked hard to ensure that they could afford the blessings of a large family. Today, the higher your earning bracket the fewer children you have. But then we always knew that many people turn money from a blessing into a curse.

Before he died, the Lubavitcher Rebbe launched a campaign asking parents to have one more child than they originally planned. It is a campaign that a dwindling Jewish community should revive as it continues to disappear.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: antifamily; antinatalism; babies; baby; babymakinfactory; blessing; boteach; child; children; demographics; family; fruit; goodfruit; kid; kids; life; moralabsolutes; parenthood; parents; populationcontrol; pregnancy; rabbi; sanctity; shmuleyboteach; zpg
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1 posted on 03/09/2006 5:16:13 PM PST by SJackson
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword or topic Israel.

---------------------------

2 posted on 03/09/2006 5:18:06 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: SJackson

People always ask me why I have 5 children and I tell them I'm lucky!!


3 posted on 03/09/2006 5:19:44 PM PST by tbird5
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To: tbird5
People always ask me why I have 5 children and I tell them I'm lucky!

I would usually reply the we wanted six but had to stop at four because of medical reasons :-)

Regards

alfa6 ;>}

4 posted on 03/09/2006 5:23:20 PM PST by alfa6
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To: SJackson

I agree with most of the writer's conclusions. What he describes makes it even easier for people to rationalize abortion. For a society that says "for the children" it sure is a bunch a hooey!


5 posted on 03/09/2006 5:26:16 PM PST by yodi VA (Remember, no matter where you go; there you are.)
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To: tbird5

I think only pretty cold cynical people think babies are not a blessing. What are people living for?


6 posted on 03/09/2006 5:27:33 PM PST by cajungirl (no)
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To: SJackson
Interesting article, especially so coming from a Jewish perspective. I've heard that Israelis aren't reproducing to their replacement value and that Jewish immigration is slowing. It would appear that this might be Israel's greatest longterm security threat. The previously-Christian Europeans seems destined to a similar fate.
7 posted on 03/09/2006 5:28:54 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: SJackson

I've had this tagline for a while!


8 posted on 03/09/2006 5:29:30 PM PST by wouldntbprudent (If you can: Contribute more (babies) to the next generation of God-fearing American Patriots!)
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To: SJackson

very nice article


9 posted on 03/09/2006 5:29:54 PM PST by mcar
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To: yodi VA

I think the public is nervous about large families because the tax payer has to foot the bill in many cases. Free health care, education, food stamps, day care, etc. I have 5 children yet it does take alot of money and time to raise them right. It seems those that can have many children don't and those that shouldn't have many children do.


10 posted on 03/09/2006 5:32:49 PM PST by tbird5
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To: SJackson
Well, I'm kind of licking some wounds (not from here), fools rush in where angels fear to tread sort of thing, actually got told the most horrible thing and name yet on the net, that'll fix me - not) so won't write at length about this subject. Suffice it to say our local talk radio had a 1/2 hour guest from a talk show in Oregon who said our country is getting overpopulated and we need to have none or one child, talked about China, India.

So I just *had* to call. I held my tongue about his being from liberal la la land on the left coast, but said my theme was two words, immigration and incongruous. We are supposed to tell our grandchildren not to have more than one child while our doors are wide open to the world. I don't think so. I got a little more in, told the host to let me go where I wanted to go with it, then he could go where he wanted to (he always does anyway). Basically he says people have those huge luxury homes I happened to mention because they could afford them. And he went on to elaborate that they are going to zip up the border with Mexico blah blah. Uh huh.

One lady called in after me and agreed with me and got even more vocal than I wanted to because I didn't want to come across as rascist. I just want a better future and shot for people who were already here.

Then a third lady called with her talking points written down. I couldn't understand her tiny voice very well, but one of the points was a moratorium on immigration, *all* of it.

So that's that. I hope they talk about it some more tomorrow.

11 posted on 03/09/2006 5:33:29 PM PST by Aliska
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To: SJackson

If it hadn't been for my three kids I might very well have ended up a bum. Having to live for someone else does wonders for your own life.


12 posted on 03/09/2006 5:35:16 PM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Bend over and think of England.)
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To: SJackson

Mankind has always been its worst enemy.


13 posted on 03/09/2006 5:35:33 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: tbird5
People always ask me why I have 5 children and I tell them I'm lucky!!

Or, you can say that you like to hide the remote control from the other half! :o)

14 posted on 03/09/2006 5:36:18 PM PST by kstewskis (Disclaimer: Not responsible for driveling random postings during the Lenten Season...)
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To: SJackson
But if you dare bring a crying baby on board you will be given malicious looks, as if the little thing is a package that ticks.

Um, I paid a lot of money to be on that plane, I'm usually exhausted after working hard all week, and I am absolutely trapped in that sardine can with the elbows of the person next to me right in my ribs. Under those circumstances, I can get no relief from the crying baby, arguably one of the most annoying sounds on God's green earth (I'm sure by his design so that you can't ignore the helpless little things). You have NO complaint here sir.

I blame everything bad in our modern world on socialism (and I'm mostly right). Want to know why no one thinks babies are really a blessing any more? Because socialist policies in our country have made it so expensive to have children.

15 posted on 03/09/2006 5:38:16 PM PST by Hardastarboard (HEY - Billy Joe! You ARE an American Idiot!)
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To: SJackson
There appears to be more than babies of concern in this article. The fact that there are 50 live births/1000 African people, but only 14 live births/1000 WHITE people is alarming to him.

So... some babies are more valuable than others?

But the dominant culture in this country doesn't really accomodate babies, children, old people, ugly people, poor people, sick people, disabled people... the ideal couple is 20-30-something, tall, beautiful, 6-figure salary, and free... (no kids, no ailing or elderly parents). It's a very material, consumer-oriented economy. We were even told to go shopping, go to Disneyland in response to the attacks on this country.. sacrifice? That's unAmerican! more credit cards! more debt! Live within your means... hell that's letting the terrorist win...

Oh...my mistake... live within your means..pay your bills..well by god, you ARE a terrorist...

http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=RAISEALARM-02-28-06

So, no surprise that many children are an affront to this culture.

However, I probably am one of those people who wince when a bably is screaming in a confined space. Their screaming is designed by nature to be hard to ignore.

16 posted on 03/09/2006 5:45:09 PM PST by ziggygrey
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To: tbird5
People talk about getting "fixed" when what they are doing is getting broken.

I've a large family and have heard the litany of crude comments from complete strangers who have never spent a dime supporting me or my children yet they must express an opinion.

Now I'm older and bolder and when asked by inquisitors,

"have you figured out what's causing that?" (pregnancy) my reply is
"yes and I guess I'm better at it and more efficient than most other people"
17 posted on 03/09/2006 5:47:30 PM PST by Deepest South
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To: SJackson

I had a baby at 41 and I had so many people telling me how crazy I was. My older children are now 26, 23,and 19. I had not planned this child and I think she is a gift from God. Now at 6 she is the joy of our lives. As far as apologizing for having your children I wouldnt. If you can afford them and give each the care he/she needs then I dont think its anyones business. I do resent the people who just have children to collect more welfare and really have no time or love for these children but you seem to have a it all together. I can relate to peoples stares and comments as years ago when I was pregnant with my 2rd son , had my other 2 children, my friend's twin babies in a double stroller in a store and the comments and rude stares were unreal. I just smiled and laughed but inside I was thinking people really are RUDE.


18 posted on 03/09/2006 5:52:18 PM PST by pandoraou812 (dilligaf)
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To: SJackson

I was belittled at a wedding. Not only did this lady ridicule me she had her group of friends laughing at me. I was pregnant with a baby on my hip. She thought I only had two. I was so hurt and embarrassed.

I had a friend who was at the store with her 5 children and some man yelled at her, 'how dare you have all those children to take up MY oxygen!' I'm serious. He said that to her.


19 posted on 03/09/2006 5:54:50 PM PST by imskylark
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To: yodi VA

children are our future. without them, there is NO future. We will breed ourselves out of existance.


20 posted on 03/09/2006 5:56:03 PM PST by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
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To: SJackson
When I was in college, several decades (!) ago, I remember an economics professor saying that with the migration from farms to cities, children went from being assets to liabilities. He said people used to have lots of children because they needed lots of help running farms, and feeding them wasn't an issue because they grew their own food, so each child eased the burden on the parents. But in the city, dad (or later, dad and mom) had to work to buy food, clothing, and all other needs for the kids, so each new kid added to the burden, at least until he was old enough to get a job and contribute financially.

This doesn't touch on the subject of blessings or spirituality, it just helps to explain the shift in attitudes to a general feeling that very large families are not as desirable from a purely economic standpoint. Unless you give birth to the Osmond family, of course.

21 posted on 03/09/2006 5:57:33 PM PST by HHFi
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To: SJackson
I love baby threads!! Here's my 5 month old boy, Jake!!
22 posted on 03/09/2006 5:58:37 PM PST by Sybeck1
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To: cajungirl

My evil supervisor absolutely hates anyone to be pregnant. She actually publicly berated a co-worker with her "zero population growth" speech when he announced wanting to have a third child! Then when another woamn was having a difficult pregnancy, she had the audacity to say that maybe she was one of those women " not meant to have children"!


23 posted on 03/09/2006 5:58:37 PM PST by Americanchild (..and deliver us all from Islam! Amen!)
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To: Sybeck1

How cute! I miss babies! My youngest is 11. They grow so fast.


24 posted on 03/09/2006 6:00:32 PM PST by imskylark
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To: SJackson

My first grandchildren, identical twin girls, are due in July. Am I pleased? You better believe it!


25 posted on 03/09/2006 6:01:04 PM PST by JCEccles
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To: SJackson

I do think this author has a point, but even here in California, a lot of people still love babies. Mine
isn't born yet, and everyone at my workplace is
excited. Customers smile and asks questions about it
every day. What will it be named, is it a boy or
a girl? Am I excited? When babies come to visit,
all eyes are on them. People instantly smile.
I hope it stays that way.


26 posted on 03/09/2006 6:02:05 PM PST by Sun Descending
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To: imskylark

Was a time she could have slapped him, rightfully.


27 posted on 03/09/2006 6:02:05 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: SJackson

We had to stop at 7.

My wife's health.

I am glad my parents didn't stop with 12, since I am # 13 of 16.


28 posted on 03/09/2006 6:02:19 PM PST by Dan(9698)
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To: Sun Descending

Thanks for a cheerful post, more people need to feel that way


29 posted on 03/09/2006 6:04:19 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: Aliska

The overpopulation problem doesn't exist anymore. In most places, we're facing, if anything, an underpopulation problem - which is why Japan is paying families thousands of dollars to have children and why Australian politicians are telling people it is their patriotic duty to reproduce.

*grin* I'm glad you called in.


30 posted on 03/09/2006 6:04:20 PM PST by Sun Descending
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To: SJackson
Many of my friends didn’t seem all that happy for me.

I wouldn't have been all that happy for him, either. When you consider how far overboard this guy has gone to defend Michael Jackson, I think of his kids as potential victims.

31 posted on 03/09/2006 6:05:00 PM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: imskylark

Ack! :( I'm sorry


32 posted on 03/09/2006 6:05:32 PM PST by Sun Descending
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To: Sybeck1

Aww. He has ducky fuzz hair!


33 posted on 03/09/2006 6:05:59 PM PST by Sun Descending
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To: Americanchild

Discriminating against workers because of pregnancy is illegal. He better be careful with that.


34 posted on 03/09/2006 6:06:35 PM PST by Sun Descending
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To: SJackson
I work hard to support a large family and I give up no pleasures in doing so because my children are my foremost pleasure.

This used to be what a typical American would believe...

This here...is whatcha call a good guy..a real good guy..

imo

35 posted on 03/09/2006 6:06:48 PM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit our sister..but we knew just what to do...we gathered rocks and squashed her!)
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To: Sybeck1

How adorable! I just want to eat him up!


36 posted on 03/09/2006 6:09:58 PM PST by Americanchild (..and deliver us all from Islam! Amen!)
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To: SJackson
A world that has become selfish has soured to the idea of leading a life of selflessness. A world that has become grossly materialistic is turned off to the idea of more dependents who consume resources. And a world that mistakenly believes that freedom means a lack of responsibility is opposed to the idea of needy creatures who "tie you down."

This is the key. Babies require commitment. I also think generations of high divorce rates have taken their toll. A lot of young adults I know would rather not risk putting their kids through a divorce.

It was hard on them, and they don't want to do it to a kid of their own.

37 posted on 03/09/2006 6:10:32 PM PST by lawnguy (Give me some of your tots!!!)
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To: Sun Descending

He is a "she" believe it or not!


38 posted on 03/09/2006 6:10:49 PM PST by Americanchild (..and deliver us all from Islam! Amen!)
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To: Dan(9698)

I'm #8 of 8. A big family is a blessing.


39 posted on 03/09/2006 6:11:27 PM PST by GOP_Proud (Jack Bauer wears Dick Cheney jammies.)
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To: 1st-P-In-The-Pod; A Jovial Cad; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; adam_az; af_vet_rr; agrace; ahayes; ...
Another article on the same theme.

I am proud to be the "family redneck," 9 kids and 14 grandbabies!

If the rest of the Jews are slowly becoming extinct, does that mean my family will ultimately repopulate the Jewish world?

FRmail me to be added or removed from this Judaic/pro-Israel/Russian Jewry ping list.

Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.

40 posted on 03/09/2006 6:12:06 PM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 49-54)
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To: Alberta's Child
I wouldn't have been all that happy for him, either. When you consider how far overboard this guy has gone to defend Michael Jackson, I think of his kids as potential victims.

I'd suggest you read what he's written on the topic. Eventually he turned his back on Jackson. Before the recent court case. I can't fault him for trying to point out the error of Jackson's ways, unsuccessfully.

41 posted on 03/09/2006 6:15:39 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: GOP_Proud
All our kids are adults now.

We have 22 grand children.

Another on the way.

Before my Mother died, she had over 250 descendants, and knew each by name. It is over 300 now.

She was born in 1903. My Father in 1901.
42 posted on 03/09/2006 6:19:41 PM PST by Dan(9698)
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To: SJackson

My wife and I added to the population of the Earth about 10 days ago. I forgot just how wonderful babies are!


43 posted on 03/09/2006 6:22:03 PM PST by Smedley
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To: pandoraou812

I was talking to a woman with three children at a playground yesterday and she kept telling me how she really didn't like children and was horrified at the thought of being a grandmother and terrified that her oldest son would make her one... she seems to tell perfect strangers this... her poor children.

Now me, if God sends me another, I'll be happy, and if not, I'm thinking, in ten years or so, if my children co-operated, I could be a grandmother...yippee!


Mrs VS


44 posted on 03/09/2006 6:25:18 PM PST by VeritatisSplendor
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To: Alberta's Child
I wouldn't have been all that happy for him, either. When you consider how far overboard this guy has gone to defend Michael Jackson, I think of his kids as potential victims.

You know, I read that again.

It's off topic, but important.

Clearly you think the Rabbi's children are at risk for molestation.

IMO, that's an outrageous accusation, but if true, one that should be acted on.

Immediately.

Time for Alberta's Child to step up to the plate and tell what he knows. Not on FR, but to the authorities.

Let us know how the investigation proceeds.

And thanks for the contribution to a cheery thread.

45 posted on 03/09/2006 6:26:56 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: DaveLoneRanger; Tired of Taxes; wagglebee; DBeers

ping


46 posted on 03/09/2006 6:28:52 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: tbird5
I WISH I had 5. I was part of a large family and wanted a large one of my own. I just got started too late. You ARE lucky blessed.
47 posted on 03/09/2006 6:31:13 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Sun Descending
So says Putin to his people, too.

I'm glad I called in, too, as I tend to be shy, but each time I gain more confidence (that's not why I call) and don't let the host get away with talking over me until I've had my say. He's supposedly a conservative, loves his guns (and wife and three children I have no doubt), but is all over the map on some things.

Thank you for reminding me that it is not true about overpopulation across the board. And, yes, there is plenty of room left in this country, but what kind of a country do we want? Try to buy some farmland to build something affordable; I mean the deck is stacked against people who love and want more than one child.

It could get to the point where there will be sanctions against people who have more than one child, maybe not forced abortion, but there are some really ugly people out there. They have no love in their hearts so they don't anybody else to have any either, children help you grow in love, not that that's the reason you have them. I had mine, and most people here seem to have had theirs for the same reason, they wanted them and were willing to make the sacrifices, if not financial, the restrictions on your time and fun, to raise them. Then you get older and see that all that fun you supposedly missed was a blessing :-)

You can have a *lot* of fun doing things as a family!

48 posted on 03/09/2006 6:39:15 PM PST by Aliska
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To: VeritatisSplendor

Wow I feel for her children. Why would you have children if you don't like them? People really amaze more each day. My 6 yr old is the only aunt in her class and to all her friends shes a star. lol. If this women ever has grandchildren I hope she has her act together by then or her children realize shes not the grandmother type. I feel really sorry for her and her poor children.


49 posted on 03/09/2006 7:01:23 PM PST by pandoraou812 (dilligaf)
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To: tbird5

I come from a family of eight children. I wouldn't have had it any other way.


50 posted on 03/09/2006 7:01:30 PM PST by moog
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