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audrey ruth

March 05, 2013  9:43am

scott roney, there's not much to worry about, really -- almost NO one advocates for large families these days. People who do have large families are not the norm, far from it. I suspect NPR's appeal may have been tongue-in-cheek, since their parent company is pro-abortion. (One would think they'd be asking African-Americans who have fled Chicago in droves in recent decades for the South, especially Atlanta, to return and thus re-build the population that way.) Advocates for abortion are MUCH more numerous than those for large families, also much more vocal, and their destructive agenda which has claimed almost 60 MILLION lives already (and counting, daily) is also a huge impediment to the spiritual health of this nation. Christ Jesus affirmed the value of children and prophesied destruction to those who would harm them. The fruit of the Spirit is love, and God's love does not reject children.

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scott roney

March 05, 2013  1:21am

I will admit right off I didn't bother to read this article (I have read numerous others by the author). There is NO justification in a world with a population surpassing 7 billion for advocating for larger families. Any supposed justification for larger families is misguided and completely ignores the realities of the earth's current and future challenges regarding sustainability. To advocate for larger families given a population of 7 billion is the height of narcissism, blindness, arrogance, insensitivity, shallowness, and the opposite of the fruit of the spirit as listed by Paul in the epistle to the Galatians. Really Jen you have no shame and you should be ashamed of your behavior in this matter.

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Jim Ricker

March 01, 2013  7:25pm

"One more thing: I think it's amusing how, if a kid has to make her own lunch because Mom has 5 other kids, that's a great character-building asset for the kid. But if the a kid has to make her own lunch because Mom has a prestigious job, suddenly it's a terribly tragedy for the poor neglected child. " It is a character building exercise either bat but one child is doing so because of a need to be helpful to mom who is busy helping other members of the family. The other situation is a kid having to do so because mom wants a prestigious (self-serving egotism) title for herself. One mom is taking care of her family while the other is taking care of herself (the prestigious job is the key. If you said "..because mom left for work to provide for her family...) there might have been a redeeming quality to that mom's actions. But, you specifically focused on mom doing something for herself and so she can have her ego puffed up by prestige. And yes, this would apply to dads....

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audrey ruth

March 01, 2013  6:11pm

Kathi, I've never heard even ONE person say it is shocking or sinful for a husband and wife to grow their family through adoption. MANY families (both Christian and non-) have done this. Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife have adopted children, and actively promote adoption through his ministry. Unfortunately, I have heard people (even Christians) say it is sinful for the Duggars to have a large family, though there is zero Scripture support for that opinion. Kathleen Mch, did you notice that it's NPR that's calling families to have more children? AFAIK, they haven't mentioned Jesus in that appeal. The real tragedy is that so many American children have been killed by abortion; the death toll is nearing 60 MILLION now. We rightly mourn the deaths of 20 children in CT, but ignore the deaths of other children, even younger and more innocent, with studied and terrible indifference. About making lunches: I do think it's sad when a child is not reared by his or her own parent(s).

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Kathleen Mch

February 28, 2013  1:14am

One more thing: I think it's amusing how, if a kid has to make her own lunch because Mom has 5 other kids, that's a great character-building asset for the kid. But if the a kid has to make her own lunch because Mom has a prestigious job, suddenly it's a terribly tragedy for the poor neglected child.

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Kathleen Mch

February 28, 2013  12:59am

This is a shallow and, in my opinion, blinkered article that offers little more than "Have more babies. Because Jesus." The fact is, family health, safety, happiness, education, well-being and other things do NOT automatically increase with higher numbers of children. In fact, often the opposite is true. I prefer the sanity, order, financial security and peace of mind that comes with one child. Had I 3 or 4 children, my world might very well be the chaotic, financially worrisome, scrimping life of so many people who have more children than they can comfortably afford.

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Indian motorcycle

February 27, 2013  10:40pm

If it is your personal choice to have a lot of children, that's fine, but I do not like Christians pressuring other Christians that it's their supposed duty to have a lot of kids. Some Christian women never marry and never have kids- not by choice they could never meet a decent partner. Jesus Christ did not teach that His kingdom would be spread by Christians making babies, but by preaching the Gospel to the lost. Christ also did not teach that flesh and blood family was to take precedence over spiritual family (he taught the opposite, see Matthew 10:37), yet many Christians in America continue to place an un-biblical, insane amount of importance on marrying and having children. This makes any one who is not married with children feel excluded from churches. Approximately 50% of Americans today are single. Christians need to start facing society as it is, (many unmarried people) not how they wish it to be, because it's causing people to drop out of churches.

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Jim Ricker

February 27, 2013  7:05pm

IF you want your kids to be kind, generous, self-starters, respectful and to tie their own shoes - be a parent instead of a helicopter friend that happens to be older than the kid. Having more kids is not the answer, it is raising your kids properly. The only difference between the kids of a large family of helicopter friend/parents and a small family of helicopter friend/parents is that the kids in the larger family will run wilder.

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Rachel Stephan Simko

February 26, 2013  7:20pm

When we decided to have our first child, we weren't in the best place economically. But God has provided in miraculous ways. And again with this second child (whom we're waiting on - any day now!). If we had/have the means, I would love to have a lot of children, but there is a reality to deal with. We'll have to see how life plays out. :) It's very tempting to fall into over-mothering (as I see a lot of my peers doing), but I try to remind myself that it's important for my daughter to learn responsibility and learn how to do things on her own. evenonesparrow.blogspot.com

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JANET W

February 26, 2013  4:04pm

Christine, I come from a family of adopters -- it's not as easy as you make it out to be. And yes, once rights have been severed, usually there's no "take back", however, children can be in foster care limbo for years before rights are severed. And of the 7 kids in your family who are adopted -- how many have deep emotional or physical ailments that are still being treated as a result of their experience in the system? Adoption today isn't what it was 20 -30 years ago. Way back then, you could adopt a baby from a young teenage mother and the adoption agency would want you to promise to adopt another baby, as well. Now you get kids who languish in the system for years before parental rights are severed. Those kids who are up for adoption through social services aren't newborns. Most often they are challenged (and challenging) toddlers-gradeschoolers-teens. And while some may feel a call to minister to others by embracing such a challenge, many people feel no such calling.

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Christine Thomas

February 26, 2013  3:15pm

Adoption does not have to be expensive. The value of "passing on one's genetic material" is questionable as well. I grew up in a family of two bio and seven adopted. We are grown now and as close as any family I know...and closer than most. Our adoptions were through the state social services and the cost was very low. Adoption and foster care are completely different programs. When a child is available for adoption there is no "giving back" possible...the adoption is as final as a birth. It's not like television. My mother worked plenty...at home. My father never made more than $40M a year. Adoption is a biblical and spiritual principle that is grossly understood in the church. We are adopted into the family of God. It is someone else's blood that places us in that family...no power of one's own genetic material. God put each of us in our family. Adoption works and it is only expensive when a family is only open to "certain kinds" of children. We took the ones God chose for us.

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JANET W

February 25, 2013  9:19pm

Kathi, Adoption is costly, time-consuming, and doesn't pass on one's genetic material to another human being. I can certainly see why most people opt for the more direct method of having their own biological children. It's not like you get to order up a kid out of a Sears catalog, if you want to adopt. It takes money. It takes fortitude. It takes time (literally years, for alot of couples). Those who advocate adoption as some sort of easy alternative are delusional. Why not adopt 10 kids? You mean 10 kids from the foster system who can be taken from you if mom or dad clean up their act? Or 10 kids you have to travel to another country to pick up cutting through miles of red tape and tens of thousands of dollars in expense? Let's not mention the ongoing physical and mental issues that adopted kids are likely to have. Far more people would adopt if it weren't so difficult. Let's make adoption easier and more doable for the average couple....

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Kathi Vande Guchte

February 25, 2013  5:37pm

ADOPTION. Believers who are supporters of large families and refer to children as blessings seem to completely avoid the topic of adoption. The Duggards are a good example to me - they have had 19 biological children and two miscarriages - what if they'd opted to have 10 biological children and adopted 10 children? Are children waiting to be adopted also not blessings and gifts from God? To me, it seems like "selective scripture reading" to point out the verses that support babies and even say any type of prevention of pregnancy is sinful, yet they ignor what the Bible has to say about orphans. For a young couple to say they will not have biological children, but will grow their family through adoption is shocking to many and some even call sinful.

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still learning

February 25, 2013  5:26pm

The strange thing I've observed in my circle is that poorer people have more kids and wealthier people have less kids. Why is that? I have four little ones. And every time I (the daddy) take all four kids to the market, I always get stares and comments (without fail). Why is that? We can't tell people how many kids to have but I like what one of our Family Camp speaker said at our Church. Have more than you think and sooner than you think. Some people say to wait to have kids. I hate that advice. I wish I had my kids sooner. After reading God's Word, I think our attitude should not be to have as few kids as possible but have as many kids as possible.

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JANET W

February 25, 2013  3:37pm

Are we NOT to make plans and ask God to bless them? -- not sure how it works otherwise. Do we not plan for college for our kids or plan for retirement or purchase health or life insurance or .....? I guarantee that every christian makes plans and asks God to bless those plans, both big and small.

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Tim Fall

February 25, 2013  3:16pm

"Marilynne Robinson, in The Death of Adam, laments the way economics imperiously rule in our culture today. 'Suddenly we act as if the reality of economics were the reality itself, the one Truth to which everything must refer.'" Robinson may be right that economics is an imperious ruler, but she's wrong that society is only now suddenly acting accordingly. Solomon spoke to the point millennia ago, and I bet it wasn't an original thought with him either: "Money is the answer for everything." (Ecclesiastes 10:19.) Have kids or don't, but let's not accuse those who have few or none of possessing less faith than those who have many, and let's not accuse those who have many of being poor stewards of the resources God has given them. In Christ we have the freedom to pursue having many or few children, or even none. Blessings, Tim ( timfall.wordpress.com )

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Melody Mariner

February 25, 2013  2:10pm

These kinds of articles confuse me when children are discussed in the same context as mortgages, colleges and other expenses. Children are a gift from God. He also says that He will provide and we do not know if we will even be here tomorrow. People speak of faith but all the other words and behavior make it seem less so. How involved is God in our lives? Or do we make our plans and just ask Him to bless them? Just some of the thoughts that come into my mind.

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Mike Atkinson

February 25, 2013  1:57pm

I'm still married to my first wife, and we had 8 children (one set of twins) together. Totally agree with this post, especially Koslow's comment about UNparenting! It's a necessity in families like ours, but a skill that parents of smaller families could learn from. It's not quite Que Sera Sera but dang close. We were always broke but never poor, driving 2nd-3rd hand vehicles, almost never eating out. And we wouldn't trade it for anything. Now that our children are adults the problems are fewer but larger. The Church needs bigger families!

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Alexandra Kuykendall

February 25, 2013  1:54pm

Though having more kids won't solve the problem of indulging them, it certainly helps. It is logistically impossible for me to allow or afford my four children to participate in the same number of activities I was offered as an only child. While their friends participate in multiple activities a season, my girls know our family can't sustain that schedule times four (they don't always like this, but they understand it's part of having a big family). I recently had a friend, the mother of an only child, ask how I get my girls to pack their own lunches for school. I simply said mornings at our house are crazy and they know if they want to bring a lunch, they need to pack it. I do believe necessity creates independence. On days when I feel guilty for living in Colorado and NOT taking my kids skiing like much of my peer group, or traveling with them internationally as I did as a child, I remember I'm giving them the lifetime gift of each other. Thank you for this piece.

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Amber Forcey

February 25, 2013  1:32pm

(Of course there are always exceptions to all of these cases - and of course parents with large families "over-parent" too. The point is I think - as the author here points out - that it's important to consider our family sizes in relationship to what are values really SHOULD be, namely, character and relationships.)

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Amber Forcey

February 25, 2013  1:29pm

Actually, it's your last comment where you say "This is possibly because our larger culture is one where you're deemed a bad parent if your kids and your parenting don't meet certain standards" where you and the author of this article agree. If we have larger families, we might not be able to afford for our kids the newest clothes, latest technology, etc., and probably WILL be judged as "bad parents" by a culture obsessed with appearances and things. However, hopefully what our kids will have in terms of character and relationships is priceless. I'll disclose my bias and say I'm the oldest child in a large family. We certainly didn't have funds to afford a lot of "extras," and my siblings and I had to put ourselves through college. However, what I gained and have in relationships and, I hope, in the formation of my character is valuable beyond my ability to express. Bravo Jen for encouraging us to think of people in terms other than economic and consider the inexpressible value of kids

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Adam Shields

February 25, 2013  1:25pm

It might be better to say, "children are financial liabilities and we need to plan for them, even if we do not need to have everything that society says we need in order to raise health children. Children are assets in more than pure financial meants". And "there are benefits that are not necessarily obvious to having larger families". I agree with Janet, overparenting might be less likely because of the sheer exhaustion of trying to overparent large families. But you can also choose to not overparent small families. I was reading an article a while back that made the argument that children have never been financial assets. They have always been a liability, but that isn't why people have children. Don't remember where I was reading it though.

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Amber Forcey

February 25, 2013  1:20pm

Janet, the author is addressing both of these topics, but I'd argue her connection between 1 ("Having children is an asset that cannot necessarily be measured via economic loss") and 2 ("Parents are failing at 'parenting'") is there, and a pretty good one at that. IF we think of having children (or, people in general) primarily in terms of economic assets or liabilities, then we probably are more likely to have fewer children. And perhaps (although CERTAINLY not always) with smaller families (fewer kids) comes the tendency to "over-parent" -- to keep our children from learning to care for themselves and make responsible choices. I don't think at any point the author was saying it's more or less "noble" to have a more of fewer children -- rather, she's proposing simply that we think of the size of our family not PRIMARILY in economic terms (which we are all inclined to do, Christian or not) but rather in the light of other, greater priorities.

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Christine Guthrie

February 25, 2013  12:56pm

Janet, I agree. The 2 issues may be somewhat related, but having more kids will not solve the problem of over parenting.

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JANET W

February 25, 2013  12:34pm

This article seems to be arguing two different topics: 1. Having children is an asset that cannot necessarily be measured via economic loss and 2. Parents are failing at "parenting" -that is, raising responsible kids to adulthood. I partially agree with both arguments. Though, for #1, it seems most of us draw the line at some point -- whether it be 1,2, or 10 kids. Not even most Catholics practice no form of birth control. So, where does it say that one is more noble for having 5 kids instead of 2? I'm pretty content to just allow each couple to reach their own conclusions on how many kids to have. On point #2, I suspect that even large families in today's society battle with indulging our children. This is possibly because our larger culture is one where you're deemed a bad parent if your kids and your parenting don't meet certain standards. I'm not talking about abuse/neglect. I'm talking about sports, music, dance, church camp, along with clothes, & technology.

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