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How to Decide Whether or Not To Have Kids

By: Brian Kim - July 27, 2011

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For some, the decision is easy. Both partners want kids and that’s that. Signed, sealed, and delivered and that’s always great when both parties are on board.

Then there are those who are on the fence, feeling pressure to have kids from parents, in laws, relatives, and friends. The reasons vary – you’ll regret it, who will take care of you when you’re old, you’ll fail at life if you don’t have kids, etc.

Then there’s the whole financial, emotional, mental, and physical toll of having kids. There’s no guarantee your kids will be the angels you envision. They might grow up to resent you, die early, not take care of you in your old age, grow up to become criminals - there’s a lot out of your control despite your best efforts at raising them.

Then the existential questions come into play. Have I failed at life if I don’t pass down my genes? Isn’t that the whole point of life? Have I let down all my ancestors before me if don’t continue the bloodline? Will it matter if I die? Would I have made a difference?

That’s the question most people struggle with before they die. They want to know that the world was different because they were there and having kids is a great answer to that question.

All that being said, let me make two things clear.

One – it’s OK not to have kids, despite what everyone else says.

Two – you should only have kids if the decision stems from love.

Love will carry through everything that revolves around having kids.

Having kids out of any other reason – out of fear, out of planning a retirement strategy, out of appeasement of the heavy questions of life will prove to be a disaster.

There’s SO much that comes with raising kids that the only thing that will give you a chance of doing a decent job at it is LOVE.

Nothing else has what it takes.

Only love.

So if you and your partner are feeling the love, go for it. It will all work out. You’ll manage. It will be hard, but love will get you through it and it will be rewarding as so many parents have said.

Now for those who don’t quite feel the love, but still are tempted at the thought of having kids to answer a lot of the heavy questions of life, specifically the ones about having your life matter, of having made a difference, of knowing that the world was different because you existed, there’s another way to look at that.

If you want to feel that you made a difference, that the world was indeed different because of your time there, SPREAD WORTHY IDEAS.

Everybody remembers Einstein and the ideas he spread. Nobody really remembers his children or even knows if he had any.

The same can be said for all the people that history has remembered.

Everybody remembers Socrates and the ideas he spread. Nobody really remembers his children or if he had any.

Everybody remembers Galileo and the ideas he spread. Nobody really remembers his children or if he had any.

In the span of time, we are all flashes of light.

But history will preserve, remember, and spread your worthy ideas for generations to come, far longer and wider than having children ever can.

So if that’s your M.O., if what you really want is to answer those heavy questions gnawing at you, but don’t want kids, this is another avenue to consider.

Now all this leads to the ONE question we all have in life:

What is the purpose of life?

Yes, biologically speaking, you could argue it’s to spread our genes but we as human beings have the power of choice, something animals don’t have.

For animals, their sole purpose is to reproduce. They are ruled by their instincts.

Humans are not. We have the ability to choose whether or not to have children.

We have the choice to assign meaning to our life, to stand for something other than what nature has intended, and if we can do that, if we can live our lives for something beyond ourselves, beyond natural instinct, and spread whatever that worthy idea is, then that’s a life worth living, a life well lived, and something history will definitely note as worth remembering.

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