Saturday, April 25, 2015

7 Reasons Why Being Childfree Isnt Selfish | Care2 Causes

7 Reasons Why Being Childfree Isnt Selfish | Care2 Causes

I've always found the accusation that we're selfish to be poorly thought out.  First of all, for many of us who know we would dislike parenting, raising a child would not be a beneficial act, since children deserve parents who really want them.

Secondly, life is basically navigating near infinite choices, some of which by necessity have to be "selfish."  If we're going to be judged by the things we don't do, it makes just as much sense to call someone selfish for not working for a charity, for not spending their weekends at a soup kitchen, for not living in a studio apartment and donating the rest to a good cause.  Are parents selfish for not having the time to volunteer that we childfree do?  There's no way I could take on the pro bono work I have for the poor or asylum seekers if I had a child.

Every day we make selfish decisions.  Few are cut out for a purely selfless life, which would be one of deprivation, hard work, sacrifice and few pleasures. Almost all of us choose to spend money on entertainment, spend some of our free time relaxing, and create lives that balance happiness with our contributions to society.

Why single out this one act - having children - as the one we are not allowed to opt out of without being labeled?  I think it's pretty simple - it's the one that's the most common, the one biology drives us to do.  But those are poor reasons for making this the one "mandatory" sacrifice when there are so many others to be had. It's simply lazy thinking.

Lastly, it's pretty easy and short-sighted to say that you're selflessly raising kids (so we should, too) when you actually *want* kids and enjoy their company.  You don't actually live or understand what you're asking us to do, since you have no idea what parenting would be like for us.

But fortunately, I hear this less and less.  In fact, in my New York City neighborhood, I hear it never.  It seems to remain in many other cultures, and in the culture of trolling on the internet.  But we're undergoing a foment in the ways we think about other peoples' life choices, toward a live and let live philosophy.  I would wager that this attitude will, in the coming decades, shrink until it is only the domain of trolls and extremists.

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