August 18, 2013 4 Comments
It would probably be safe to say that most have entertained the thought of having children. I have, and as of now, the answer remains unchanged as an emphatic “no thank you.” From the point of view of what I think my life will look like ten years from now, allow me explain why. Feel free to laugh the optimism of my assumptions.
Consider the costs of supporting a child from the perspective of a single-income household, the dominant family model in Japan. A three-hundred fifty square foot loft will comfortably support a couple with no children. Shoehorning a family of three to four into the same space would be considered a gross violation of human rights, as would any attempt to fit a third person in the back seat of a Toyota GT86. School fees and ancillary costs easily quintuple the delta. If child rearing were a financial instrument, it would have a credit rating of D and a coupon rate of negative five hundred.
Critics argue one cannot put a monetary value on the joy of raising a child, and they are certainly correct in that regard. But are childless couples inherently unhappier than couples with children? I have a hard time believing that they are. Particularly when the US$250,000 needed to raise a child can afford me an Aston Martin V8 Vantage and a lavish vacation to a tropical paradise in the South Pacific every year.
Then there is the issue of time. A child is not a cat that can be left in the house all day. Of course, I could leave it to my hypothetical wife to ferry the kids around, but what would be the point if I am not involved in the upbringing of my own child? My only purpose would be generating income for the family, and I would be paying through the roof to support someone that I would hardly get to know.
Many look hopefully to children as a source of family support and care when they get old. In reality, this is the ideal situation that many parents do not have the opportunity to experience. More often than not, children “support” their parents by sending them to old-age homes separate from their loved ones and friends. I volunteered in an old-age home, and quite frankly, I would rather not live my final years in clinical isolation. A movie released this year revolved around the trauma experienced by a woman in an old-age home. But maybe that’s just me.
You may be curious as to what a baby between you and your significant other would look like. This is a terrible reason to have a child. If you really are that curious, there is a free app available on the Google Store that gives you the result for free.
Granted, child rearing may not be based on any facet of logic, and I completely respect the decision to have children. But beyond acting outside a biological urge and extending my family name for another generation, bearing a child is a decision that I still struggle to understand.