I have been conversing with some young people, between the ages of 22-32. It is very interesting and sad to know that some members of the Millennials are terrified of having and raising children. I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I am so sad at this knowledge that I want to expand the conversation here.
Here are some of the reasons why these young people, both male and female, have explained this fear to me.
One, they are from families of one or two children and have no experience of young children.
Two, none of their friends or uncles or aunts, have younger siblings or children, so that have no experience of babysitting.
Three, in England, as well as in some other EU countries, child rearing is so restricted that some young people fear the government invasion into their lives. One said to me that my generation could discipline as we thought best, but no longer is this possible. James Dobson is not allowed in the EU.
Four, such natural things as breast feeding, changing nappies, and rocking a baby seem like alien practices.
Five, the youth have not seen good marriages, happy parents and happy, disciplined children.
Six, the youth have not seen large families.
Seven, young men do not want to support a stay-at-home mom. They are not familiar with such a life-style.
Now, the youth with whom I have been discussing these points are all Europeans, but in some places, the American experience may be the same. As they were talking, I felt so sad. My childhood and teen years seem like they happened on another planet.
My immediate family of five was the smallest in the neighbourhood. We had tons of kids to play with, to babysit, to be around. We had no choice in the matter. We played, ate, lived with kids. We learned to fold nappies, make baby food, heat up bottles of milk, push a pram or push-chair, burp babies, clean up after baby mess and generally do things daily which seemed natural and necessary, as well as good.
No big deal...We had bunk beds and trundle beds. Most of my generation did not have our own bedroom until we were in late high school. One of my fellow students in high school came from a family of twenty children all from the same mom and dad. She lost her oldest brother in Viet Nam. The mother went to Mass everyday, as the dad came home from work at lunch time so she could get to noon Mass. They had family meetings once a week and we all thought they were cool.
We played games together. We watched television together. We could play baseball and have two complete teams with two families. We had dramas and fairs in the summer, all run by the neighbourly kids. When autumn came, the kids split up into their own school groups and walked to school together. We did chores together and grew up watching boys and girls become men and women.
When the girls played with the doll-houses, we always pretended we had our own rooms. Dream.
The fear of having children is also exacerbated by the lies of the medical profession that having a baby is an illness. Having a baby should be seen as a normal activity, not something special or unique.
I feel so sad. We had so much fun. We learned so much. I encouraged these youth not to be afraid.