Friday, September 5, 2008


I know some people who have many kids who are completely incapable parents in love and attention. Others have none or too few children when they have not only homes but hearts big enough to sustain a larger brood. Then there's people like me, who fears that I shall be wasting the best of my baby-bearing years on school, but still hopes to at least best my mother by one.

This was left in the comments section of my last post, and I agree with its author wholeheartedly (of course, she is my best friend, but she still makes a good point).

In an ideal world, everyone who was called to the married state by God would be able to find their spouse in time to have a large brood, and that large brood would come easily. In the world we live in, this happens so rarely that families with more than two or three kids are almost freakish. (And, as Durnhelm will attest, there are even people who think three is too many.)

Sometimes it's our culture that creates a barrier to realizing this ideal circumstance. Nowadays you have to go to school for at least 16 years before you're considered educated, and that candle is burning on both ends. We have two-year-olds going to "preschool" and 22-year-olds who can't find a job because they don't have a Master's Degree. Sometimes even if people marry young they don't have a large family--either because they can't or because they won't. Not to lump those two problems together--too many people do that today; looking at a Catholic family with 1 or 2 or 3 children and thinking that the parents must not be open to life. I absolutely cannot emphasize enough that you never, ever know another couple's circumstances. If you must think about their family size at all, just pray for them.

Then there are the families with eight or ten or however many children who seem to be the model of Catholic family life and aren't. I almost hate to make that point because our culture likes to say that if a family has many children there must be some sort of abuse going on. That's just plain wrong--it hurts the families that are genuinely happy and it hurts the children in the families that aren't, because the structures we have in place to catch child abuse are too busy going on wild goose chases.

We live in an incredibly messed-up world, and often the people who ought to be parents aren't, and the people who ought not be responsible for a guinea pig are. I don't have a perfect solution to that. I have two cousins who are adopted. They went from being abandoned to being two of the most doted-on little girls in the Midwest. Sometimes that works. Sometimes God can take two bad situations (in this case, abandonment and childlessness) and patch them together to make something good. God has a way of bringing good out of bad--just think of Redemption.

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