The Great Progeny Contest

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
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Gerald
Posts: 444
Joined: 29 Sep 2011, 04:57

Re: The Great Progeny Contest

Post by Gerald » 02 Nov 2019, 12:38

I can't speak to how this works in other cultures and religions but I know it is a big deal where I live. Obituaries, anniversary announcements, professional bios, and private conversations will almost always make some reference to number of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and if they are ALL returned missionaries and/or card-carrying members with families of their own, you can bet that will get a mention. I saw it in my own father's family in which every brother had been a bishop and every sister a relief society president. When my grandfather died (a wonderful man by the way), it was certainly brought up multiple times.

But, you know. there are some tough things that individuals in large families have to endure (fewer resources, less parental and grandparental attention, lack of privacy). It's not my place to judge the number of children one should have or criticize anyone for that number. But having grown up in a family of eight, I knew that for me personally, once married, large numbers of children would simply not work (I have five). I knew a family of 16 children (a number often brought up when discussing this family with whispers of awe) but I also knew that the family struggled financially to support those children and that the constant competition for their parents' attention created hostility between siblings and frustration in the parents. I wouldn't be surprised to find that children in superlarge families rarely have families that large themselves.

It's painful to put up with but it's very human to brag. And if some of your accomplishments aren't what you'd like them to be you'll focus on those that are. If I can't brag about my large numerous family, I'll definitely find something to brag about. And, generally, I do.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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Daughter1
Posts: 56
Joined: 28 Mar 2019, 21:19

Re: The Great Progeny Contest

Post by Daughter1 » 03 Nov 2019, 12:24

Gerald wrote:
02 Nov 2019, 12:38
But having grown up in a family of eight, I knew that for me personally, once married, large numbers of children would simply not work (I have five).
And to me (oldest of 3) a family of 5 kids seems huge! I think this is part of it. My best friend has 4 and I know that she and her husband have wanted 4 or 5. They aren't sure if they'll have another at this point. He was the oldest of two and she was the oldest of eight. He wanted a big family, she wanted a small family. The actual number they wanted was the same.

I work in banking and keep a photo of my family (parents/siblings) on my desk. The topic of kids will come up and I'm often asked if I have any. It's amazing how many people reply with "you have plenty of time" when I say I don't currently. Occasionally I even state "I don't know if I ever will" and they just seem unable to process that statement as a fact, not a despairing cry for comfort. After visiting my friend recently, this topic would come up again and again. Please note, I am not in Utah so I assume most if not all of the people I speak to are not Mormon. First, amazement that she has 4 children would be expressed. Then the joke that the trip was "good practice" for when I have my own. I would try to come back with "Well, I love borrowing hers - it's nice I don't need my own!" only other women seemed to take that at face value. All the men hastened to reassure me that I had plenty of time to have my own.

It's been strange to see how people react to either extreme of child-bearing. Both my expressed disinterest in having a baby and my friend's joyful welcome to 4 little ones are looked at with confusion. Often by the same person. I think the world at large is trying to deal with the changing economic realities of families in the modern day.
I don't think there could ever be just one single philosophy or one single religion. Since there are so many different types of people, with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences between religions. And the fact that there are so many different descriptions of the religious path shows how rich religion is. - HH the XIV Dalai Lama

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Katzpur
Posts: 419
Joined: 26 Jul 2009, 08:40
Location: Salt Lake City

Re: The Great Progeny Contest

Post by Katzpur » 03 Nov 2019, 19:07

Daughter1 wrote:
03 Nov 2019, 12:24
I work in banking and keep a photo of my family (parents/siblings) on my desk. The topic of kids will come up and I'm often asked if I have any. It's amazing how many people reply with "you have plenty of time" when I say I don't currently. Occasionally I even state "I don't know if I ever will" and they just seem unable to process that statement as a fact, not a despairing cry for comfort.
When I was a teenager, I used to swear that I didn't want kids -- EVER! I came to that conclusion by babysitting the neighbor kids. My mom always used to tell me that it was different with your own. After I met my husband, I changed my mind and decided that I actually did want a couple of kids -- at some point in the very, very distant future. We had our first (of two) children 9 1/2 years after we got married, and it was by choice that we didn't have any before then. I was 30 when I got pregnant, and I more or less decided when I turned 30 that I probably ought to get started, just in case I ended up having problems conceiving (which I didn't). I got a lot of static over our choice. My parents were fortunately completely supportive of the decision being ours and ours alone. My sister-in-law, though, used to call us long distance (not cell phones back then) and tell us it was our responsibility to multiply and replenish the earth. When I told me parents about her hounding us, my dad said, "God commanded Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth. He commanded Noah to build a ark. Ask her if she's started on her ark yet." I never got the chance, but boy! would I have loved to do so. We still don't have grandkids, and quite frankly, it doesn't bother me all that much. Yeah, I'd like some, but I am definitely not in any kind of despair over it. People annoy me.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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