About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Don’t Want to Be...

that kind of person. That is what I said about a certain type of parent in my last post. And coincidentally, just a few days after typing those words, I stumbled across someone who exemplified what I would not want to become. I saw an excerpt of her writing while perusing a childfree site, and I actually thought the author was being facetious. I went to the source site to see if this was intended to be serious (it was), and I was dumbfounded by the following quote: “You created life and forever more, you will nurture life. Mothers are almost God-like in that way. And when you carry that force out into the world, you will be awed by the power you have to effect change everywhere. You are now a mother in the world. All hail before you.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes think too highly of myself. But… wow… just, wow. After I recovered from reading the paragraph above, I remembered something that I recently read in Luke 11:27-28: As [Jesus] said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

I found it fascinating that when someone praised the mother of our Savior for giving birth to and nursing him, he immediately shut the person down with the response that it was instead blessed for someone to keep the word of God. What an interesting set of priorities.

And this shall be my priority too. I know what I don’t want to be; instead, I do want to be the kind of person who hears and keeps the word of God.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More About Teenagers

I was at a party primarily for adults (there were a few children who had been relegated to another part of the house), and I was surrounded (blissfully) by people without young children: some childfree, some childless, and some parents of teens or adults. One of the mothers brought her 15-year-old daughter whom I’ll call Greta. Poor Greta was looking a little bored from feeling out of place -- a feeling I know all too well -- and since we now know that I like teenagers, I thought I would strike up a conversation with her. I found her to be a sweet, intelligent, and interesting young woman, and I enjoyed bringing her into the conversation.

To my dismay, however, every so often mom would chime in to either answer for Greta or to tell a story about her. For example, I asked Greta what her least favorite subject was at school. She paused to think for a moment, and her mother jumped right in to answer. I listened politely, but then I turned back to Greta to discuss the topic further.

This is a prime example of why I teach college rather than high school. Even though I encounter plenty of helicopter parents, there are still federal laws that support me in working with students and squeezing their intrusive parents out of the picture when appropriate. This situation is also another reason that I don’t want to be a parent: I don’t want to become that kind of person. (Though it isn’t just helicopter parenting. I also don’t want to develop that sense of entitlement, grandiose self-importance, single-mindedness, and self-centeredness that I witness in many parents. I have watched parenthood turn too many decent and interesting people into narcissistic boors.)

But getting back to my topic… If anyone has advice on how to lovingly, politely, and diplomatically let mom know that I want to hear what her daughter has to say, I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Childfree Confessions, #4 (teenagers)

I’m one of those rare people who likes teenagers. Obviously, not all teens -- some of them are disrespectful, irrational, or just plain mean. However, I think that most adolescents do not deserve to be painted with that stereotype.

When I was in college, I worked with the high school youth group at my church. Being shy and not a very good conversationalist, I don’t know that I was a particularly good youth worker, but I did enjoy it. I loved the energy of the teens, and I was quite fond of the girls who were in my small group.

More recently, I have worked with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship club at my college, at times acting as club advisor or being the guest speaker at one of their group meetings. I have found the students to be receptive to what I have to say, and the students in turn have encouraged me on many occasions.

I think I may have an ability to reach out to the more difficult young people too. During my weekly volunteer work at the local humane society, I am often side-by-side with adolescents who have been sentenced to community service. I have the luxury of not being an authority figure to them, so I am often able to convince them to do something for me or coax some respect out of them more easily than their leaders can. I find that showing the kids some respect -- smiles and hello’s, thank-you’s and excuse-me’s -- truly does go a long way. Some of the kids ask me about my work there, and when they learn that I have been happily giving my time to the shelter every weekend for the past nine years, they seem to see more value in their work… if this lady does this because she wants to, maybe it’s not a “punishment” after all. I recall one incident where a girl complained and disparaged the work for several minutes. Finally, I approached her and very lovingly said, “Please don’t call this ‘ghetto work.’ [her words] What you are doing is really important, and the shelter appreciates it. And even though the animals can’t say it to you, they are grateful for it too. I’m a math professor, so I have a full-time job and don’t need to be here doing these things, but I come every week out of love and because I know it’s important. I just want you to feel good about what you are doing too.” Bless her heart, the girl’s attitude changed completely, and I didn’t hear another complaint. One of her leaders took me aside afterward and thanked me.

My admiration for adolescents and young adults has influenced my choice of profession as a community college professor, and I describe this in an article published on The Childfree Life this week (Why Do I Need a Child When I Already Have 100 'Kids'?). I feel that I get all the perks of being in the lives of those young people without all of the headaches of parenting.

If only I didn’t have to survive pregnancy and all of those early childhood years, perhaps I would have wanted to be a parent (though maybe someday I will be compelled to adopt). But now that I think about it, being a role model or mentor to the scores of teens that I have worked with and will work with is probably far more valuable to society than my being a parent and focusing my energies on just my own one or two kids.