Because I posted a comment to the article, I get sent notifications when other posters post comments. Here is an interesting response from a father:
There are a couple of things I found very illuminating about this response:
I am a happy parent of two, and here are my reasons to have kids:
1) Having a captive audience. Who better to listen to your cheesy renditions of bed-time stories than a wide-eyed child? Or your off-tune renditions of lullabies?
2) Best cure for loneliness or boredom. It takes a lot to sever your relationship with your child. Sure, it takes a lot of love, time and understanding, but tell me something worthwhile that doesn't require effort? Put some love and time into it, and it's probably your best bet for a lasting, close relationship with another person.
3) Relive your childhood. If there were things you loved about your childhood, you can recreate them. Things you hated? You have a chance to set them right.
4) Live comedic performances for free. If a 1-yr old baby playing fetch with your labrador or dancing in the buff to a Michael Jackson tune won't make you smile, nothing will.
5) A witness to your greatness and to your shortcomings. If you continue to screw up-- tell half truths-- your kid will know. If you are prone to tantrums, your kid will know. Likewise, if you love unconditionally, give your time generously, and are truthful, your kid will know. What better inspiration to become a bigger person than that little beloved witness in your house?
6) Getting old will be easier. This I'm speculating on, as I'm not yet old. But I dread to think what holidays without children would be like. Imagine being 75 and spending a lonely Christmas in a retirement home. Yuck! Or my wife, being a solitary widow when she outlives me. Thank God for my two boys. And if they give me grandkids, I'll have little babies to buy xmas gifts for.
7) Will bring your relationship with your partner to its true light. If you are unsure of how strong your relationship with your partner is, there is no better measuring stick than the challenge of bringing up children together.
Well, that's it for now. GTG.
First, the fact that a parent can state that he had children so that he can have a captive audience, cure loneliness and boredom, be entertained, make getting old easier to bear and have a witness to his greatness screams SELFISH to me, but who am I to judge? Oh, that's right - I am a selfish childfree person, so what would I know about selfishness? ;)
Second, in response to the items listed by the father above, I feel compelled to post a line-item response to this gentleman:
1. Do you really find performing before a long-suffering, captive audience fulfilling? Why not spare everyone the agony and sing into a mirror?
2. Make some friends. Be a devoted partner or husband. Take your wife on a date. Take a class. Develop some listening skills. Show interest in other people. Become a volunteer. Go to school. If having children is the only way you can prevent being lonely or bored, you aren't really living your life.
3. Want to relive the fun things of your childhood? Go ahead. You don't need kids to do it. Ride a rollercoaster, have a pajama party, write in your journal, play board games, play a game of touch football, have silly theme parties with your friends (and make silly videos), laugh until your sides hurt. I do, and you'd be surprised how many other adults, when given the opportunity, like to do these things too. Or if you really can't bear the idea of doing these things without children in tow, take your nieces, nephews or friends' kids out for a day. And then when you're all tired out, turn them back over to their parents and get on with your peaceful life.
4. Get pets. They are endlessly entertaining. I highly recommend having multiple cats and watching their wrestling matches. Boatloads of fun. Or marry a funny person like I did. Rent vintage Eddie Murphy stand-up routines. Your library probably rents them for free. Classic! Here's my favorite Eddie Murphy routine of all time. I laugh just thinking about it!
5. I have news for you. Your kids aren't the only witnesses to your greatness and shortcomings. Have a wife? She's a witness. Have friends? (maybe not, since you rely on your kids to cure your loneliness) - if so, they are witnesses. Have a job? Your boss is watching. If you only care about what children think of you (and not adults), you are selling yourself (and everyone else in your life) short.
6. Follow my advice in #2 above and make some friends. That way, when you get old, you won't have to rely on your adult children to keep you company out of obligation - you will actually have people who voluntarily hang out with you (and really, isn't that more rewarding?) - people to share your life with, to do fun things with, to talk with. Can't bear the thought of not having children around at Christmas time? Invite your friends and family over. Most of them probably have kids - make it a big party! Better yet, adopt a needy family and shop 'till your heart's delight. There is certainly no shortage of kids who would be thrilled to receive Christmas gifts.
7. Have an affair. Develop a drug or drinking problem. Max out all the credit cards. Develop a gambling problem. I mean, come on. If you have to add "challenge my marriage to see how strong it is" to a list of reasons having kids is so wonderful, you're really stretching. This is a minus, not a plus. I am very happy not knowing my marriage's stress threshold, thank you very much.
Edited to Add: I just remembered that my very first post on this blog was about holding onto your inner child. Very relevant to this post.