How We See It
In Agreement: A Response to “The case for having kids” – Wajahat Ali | TED2019
Birth2Work Staff, mother
Image from Wajahat Ali: The case for having kids | TED talk
“I believe we can, and should, fight for the earth and humanity, side by side,” proclaims Wajahat Ali in this deeply personal Ted Talk. He goes on to discuss the choice of many in the developed world who can, but have opted out of, having children.
Many believe that the consequences of overpopulation will be to choke the planet’s resources, but the domino effect of underpopulation will lead to devastating consequences, too. Though the reasons for having children are deeply personal (most folks don’t do it for their country), Ali’s message here is meaningful. He calls on us to carry on life, because otherwise, what’s the point?
We Can Help
The Birth2Work team members have discussed this very issue all over the country. For some people the fear of children is economic. And Ali does an impressive job discussing the economic necessity of having children long term. He further discusses the pro-natal policies that have been effective in France—the country in the EU showing the least population decline—and are under similar consideration in the world.
What we have found in our conversations, though, is a far, far deeper concern in the hearts of many, who fear the act of parenting. They fear that they don’t know how, and they fear they will mess it up … mess up their child/ren. It is to this group of young people currently considering their futures that we extend our hand and say, “Let us help.”
Is There a Manual for This?
So many young professionals have spent years in school and working and learning on the job, that their mindset has become fine tuned to the nuances of work. Questions are constantly running through their minds such as, “Am I doing this right? Am I doing it well? Am I doing it better than that person?”
Along the way there are established guidelines, rewards for accomplishment, and scaffolds for growth. But in parenting there isn’t a book for “How to…” So people ask, “How could I?
There is a retort that we often hear the likes of from people at the other end of the generational spectrum (Boomers) who, when they learn what we do, reply, “Why would anyone need a class for parenting? We all have a built-in manual that tells us how to do that!”
The manual they have inside could simply be titled “Instincts.” Then we discuss with them further the ways parenting has changed in the last 50 years.
For many, trusting those instincts has been lost—stripped by traditional schooling and work environments in which the young person’s own voice and volition are so thoroughly squashed that they no longer listen to the voice inside. Out of necessity, they listen only to the teacher/boss/manager.
Which means, when it’s time to consider having children, young people often no longer have instincts they trust. They turn to professionals or experts which offer conflicting advice and total absolutism, simultaneously.
You Can Make the Plan
The joy of Birth2Work’s Leading Your Child to Success course is that it provides a scaffold for individuals and couples to grow on in their own way. We don’t provide answers so much as prompts. The only answers that are valid for you and your family are your own.
There needn’t be fear of having children. There need only be a plan.
Wajahat Ali’s TED talk
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