Rabbi Boteach: 'The contempt shown to parents of large families'

By Rabbi Boteach
A funny thing happened to me the other day when my wife and I had, thank God, another baby (a boy). Many of my friends didn't seem all that happy for me. Sure, they went through the motions of smiles and congratulations. But it was evident that many thought me insane. Why would a young man and his wife ruin their lives with eight children? Who could afford the Jewish day-school bills? Didn't we want to live life a little, and not just be burdened with kids?
It got downright surreal when a European film company, pressed me, while my wife was in labor, to finish shooting a segment that had an urgent deadline (I obviously told them they were insane). And the next day, I was mildly criticized by a Jewish organization which was supposed to be hosting me for a lecture for having to cancel on them because the lecture clashed with the baby's bris.
I don't mind that the world doesn't really love babies, just that it pretends to....As a father of a large family, I find myself apologizing wherever I go, as if I committed a crime. The frequent and loaded stares from scornful onlookers imply that the famine in Africa was caused by my selfish insistence on overpopulating the earth...Rich countries, by contrast, prefer to increase their standard of living rather than the number of the living....A Christian mother of six once wrote to me, "I find it troubling to worry about getting pregnant again ... because I don't want to face the criticism of friends and family. Why do people not see children as a blessing?" A fair question which deserves a fair response....A world that has lost its innocence has trouble appreciating beings who are innocent....By just looking at my children, I become more innocent. By loving them, I become more noble. By spending my money on them rather than myself, I find transcendence....I am often asked by women dating men how to tell whether they are marriage material. I tell them, "See if he enjoys children." A man who loves children is playful. He will spend his life joking with his wife because he loves to see her laugh, and will flirt with her because he loves to see her smile. Read the full article here.

Comments

  1. I've only ever heard nice comments about my large family!

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