Americans Despise Children

Ok...calm down. Not all Americans. In our country we are vigilant about protecting children from abuse or excessive labor. But when it comes down to it, the majority of Americans do not believe children are worthy of our time and effort. Let me explain.

When I was in my teens and twenties I remember being very frustrated with parents who would bring their children to public places where they were disruptive. What was I really frustrated with? "How dare that child disrupt my opportunity to enjoy this event." If I could have put into words what my selfish nature was really feeling I would have said, "I am more important than you and your children."

I am learning that when most people have a negative attitude toward children it almost always comes down to selfishness. How else do we despise children? We make plans for someone else to take care of them as soon as we are able to return to work because we don't have time for it. (As if giving our attention to a stressed boss is more validating than teaching a child to use manners.) We pass laws that make federal funding available for pre-schools so we only have to pay for daycare for 3 years instead of 5. We look down on adults who bring their children to a restaurant. It never occurs to us that maybe, just maybe, this child is capable of behaving himself. We criticize parents who have more than 2 children as being irresponsible and not being able to control themselves. (Could it be that these people actually WANT another child to raise?) We shoove kids in age appropriate classes at church as early as 6 weeks old. If the mother chooses to keep her children with her in church we assume she has attachment issues. Could it be that she is trying to teach her child to sit and listen to the pastor teach from the Word? We launch environmental campaigns against and hurl guilt upon drivers of large vehicles.

If we truly cherished children our society would operate much differently. The workforce would not be penalized for arriving to work as late as 8am. Men would not feel guilty for being home by 6pm. Mothers would be able to stay at home without the fear of never being able to work again. Our education system would not be in such turmoil. Teachers would not bargain for new facilities, higher pay and more sick time. Our churches wouldn't be in constant need of childcare workers.

The bottom line....we want to get rid of children so we can have time to ourselves as adults. "Someone else can take care of them," we say. Until this mindset changes children will be thought of as unworthy of our time, and those who choose to be with children will be criticized.

UPDATE: Check out this article by Barbara Curtis where she addresses the selfishness issue in relation to Ezzo's Growing Kids God's Way.


julie said...

This was an interesting post. I never thought about that way. I love being with my kids and take them everywhere. If other people don't like it I figure it is their problem.

Have a great weekend.


Qtpies7 said...

It is so sad to see. We are a large family and love it that way. I just laugh when people say we are overpopulating the earth. We are providing jobs, stimulating the economy, and paying for our social security AND theirs!