Smaller Families for a Healthy Environment
- Smaller Families for a Healthy Environment
Why less is more when it comes to kids
By Richard Grossman, MD
If you're concerned about overpopulation, it's easy to get
self-righteous about other peoples' growing families. But I think
Let's face itthe best reason to care about our growing population is
concern for future generations. People a generation or two from now
will experience increasing effects of crowding and resource
depletion. We should be concerned for our children and grandchildren,
who will know a world very different from ours.
Most of us will be part of the problem by having our own children. We
need to raise our kids to be conscious of population and
environmental issues. The most important step we can take is to
minimize our impact by having small families, or by not reproducing
You might think that there is not much difference between a family of
two children and one with three, but there is a large disparity after
a few generations. If each of your three children has three kids, and
so on, you will have 27 great grandchildren. In five generations
there will be 243 progeny. If there had only been two per couple,
there would only be eight great grandchildren, and 32 great, great,
great grandchildren. So at the end of five generations we compare 243
with 32; the difference is over seven fold!
People used to believe that a single child would be spoiled and would
not prosper, but recent studies have shown that this is not true. In
fact, an only child is likely to be a high achiever and to be well
adjusted. Some up-to-date information about only kids can be found in
prolific author Bill McKibben's book Maybe One.
If you are concerned that an only child will suffer from the lack of
siblings, there are ways to ensure the advantages of socializing with
other kids. If you parent a single child, try not to focus all of
your attention on her. Have her spend time with cousins. Choose a
neighborhood that has children of compatible ages. Find activities
for your child to do with other children; a good preschool is an
excellent way to get children together. You might trade cooperative
"sitting," or be a day-care provider.
Those of us who choose not to bear children have a support group all
our own: Childfree By Choice. If you are unsure about having kids,
the group meets your needs with material for people still trying to
make up their minds about being parentsthere's even a bunch of jokes
about childlessness. More and more people are choosing the option to
forego children. Now about one in five women will not bear any child,
while a few years ago it was only one in six.
Happily, there are alternatives to giving birth. For those who want
to participate in child rearing but not bear their own, and for those
who enjoy a big family but don't want to contribute to
overpopulation, there are several possibilities.
Adoption is one way to go. Those able to make a long-term commitment
deserve congratulations. So many kids need love and stability, and
many demand special care. Some have physical or mental problems, and
require mature or experienced parents with many resources.
Not ready to make the commitment for adoption? Consider being a
foster parent. There are kids of all ages who could use a short-term
home. Some are newborns who need a cradle for a few days while
awaiting permanent adoption. Others are teenagers in trouble who are
sent to people able to provide nurture and discipline. Foster
parenting can be especially challenging.
There are other, less extensive ways of being involved. For instance,
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a nationwide agency that
involves adults in the short-term care of kids. If you volunteer, you
only need to spend a few hours a week with your child. Coaching,
helping in a classroom, working with Scouts or a church group all
allow you to help kids grow.
It's definitely a paradox: We have children for the future, but if we
have too many the future will be compromised. The solution is for
people to have the right number of childrenfewer than in the past.
It also means that some people will forgo passing on their genes.
Instead, they have the opportunity to pass on their wisdom and
culture to future generations.
DR. RICHARD GROSSMAN is an obstetrician-gynecologist, a columnist in
the Durango (Colorado) Herald (where versions of this piece first
appeared) and a 2007 recipient of a Global Media Award from the
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Childfree By Choice
Live Simply So That
Others May Simply Live
- Really need help. MUST GO!!!
Date: 2007-11-02, 5:03PM EDT
Please help! After two long years of being on a waiting list for a dog, we have been notified by breed rescue that, at long last, our number has come up and ... WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!
We must get rid of our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time consuming our new little puppy is going to be and it just wouldn't be fair to the children. Since our little puppy will be arriving on Monday we MUST place the children up for adoption this weekend!
They are described as:
One male -- his name is Tommy, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde hair, blue eyes. Four years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn't bite. Temperament tested. Does have problems with peeing directly in the toilet. Has had chicken Pox and is current on all shots. Tonsils have already been removed. Tommy eats everything, is very clean, house trained and gets along well with others. Does not run with scissors and with a little training he should be able to read soon.
One female -- her name is Lexie, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), strawberry blonde hair, green eyes quite freckled. Two years old. Can be surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally. She is current on all shots, tonsils out, and is very healthy and can be affectionate. Gets along well with other
little girls and little boys but does not like to share her toys and
therefore would do best in a one child household. She is a very quick learner and is currently working on her house training. Shouldn't take long at all.
We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what's right for them. That is why we contacted a rescue group. But we simply can no longer keep them. Also, we are afraid that they may hurt our new puppy.
I hope you understand that ours is a UNIQUE situation and we have a real emergency here! They MUST be placed into your rescue by Sunday night at the latest or we will be forced to drop them off at the orphanage or along some dark, country road. Our priority now has to be our new puppy.
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
--- In Why_breed@yahoogroups.com, "Brian A." <phelsumas@...> wrote:
> Really need help. MUST GO!!!
> Date: 2007-11-02, 5:03PM EDT
> Please help! After two long years of being on a waiting list for a
dog, we have been notified by breed rescue that, at long last, our
number has come up and ... WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!