Thursday, March 20, 2008

Childfree and Single in a Changing Australian Society

Gaping hole in generation gap
Now, of course, it's an over-simplification to suggest that past generations all followed those basic patterns of existence, that inevitably, life was lived within those narrow, pre-ordained paramaters. But the fundamental truth of that generalised outline is evident in the statistics.
. . .
According to "the Mosaic 2008 Analysis" - a research study carried out by Pacific Micromarketing - marriage rates, and parenting rates, are falling dramatically. Now, . . . up to 25 per cent of women are unlikely to have children - a figure the researchers expect to increase even further in the next three decades.
. . .
And all the while, time ticks by. For Generations X and Y, the risk is that in pursuit of "personal fulfilment", they might overlook the most fulfilling of all aspects of the human experience - which is the production of their own part of the next generation.

For some, it is not a choice but a matter of chance and circumstance. And for those who do make the choice to be single or childless, that is their right.

But for all that, life is our most precious gift. It seems a pity not to be able to pass it on if possible.
Ah, pity. How condescending. Why is it so many people fail to understand that happiness is different things to different people? Bowlers understand that League Night isn't everyone's joy, nuns understand that a life of service to their G*d is not everyone's calling, and even the intrepid volunteers of Doctors Without Borders don't proselytize young people to follow in their footsteps. Why in this overpopulated world do so many fail to have the same enlightenment about parenthood? It's fulfilling for you, my dear. Unless you want me writing diatribes about how fulfilling Patent Law is, and what a mistake you're making with this little journalism career, get some perspective.

See also: SPUDs, single women taking over Australia

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1 comment:

CZEdwards said...

I've been thinking about this recently -- I'm solid Gen X married sans spawn to another Gen X, all of our friends are in the same space, and there's 1 child and one person hoping for a child if he ever manages to get married. Out of 15 people... Not great numbers.

But we're all Boomers' kids. I think that has something to do with it. Boomers were the first children in history raised in a child-centric, nucleated family, materially wealthy culture. The Boomers grew up believing the world revolved around them, and they never really lost that. When they had us, we were extensions of their self, not individuals or the next step in the generational wealth creation scheme. We went to lessons and our parents read parenting books because they were told "this is what you do" but they didn't believe it. Gen X was another Boomer way of fitting into peer culture. That's all it's ever been about for Boomers -- conforming with their peers and being the center of their universe.

We weren't even in the Oort cloud for most of our parents. We were comets who required driving, feeding, clothing and "quality time", tasks to be ticked off in the planner.

Are you surprised we're not having children? We don't want to put anyone else through that from either side.

Maybe Gen Y will do better, but I honestly hope not. Our culture needs to spend more time growing up, old and wise before we dare commit to trying to pass it on to others again.