The Nicest Compliment Ever

youz not our momSo, I got an email from a nice man yesterday. He read my de-conversion story and told me something I have never been told before, at least not this way. He told me I need to reconsider and have a child! Now, I'm 40, so I really don't see that happening for a myriad of reasons, but the sentiment was so honest and forthright that I was taken aback.

This nice man found HDC and my story and just thought that atheists like me and my husband should have more children. You know, he's right, in a way. I mean, if you can do it, and you're a freethinking atheist, then yes, you should consider having a kid or two. Like he said, it would bring a bit more sanity into the world.

Unfortunately people who are more educated, intelligent and rational might think it's a bad idea. But the movie Idiocracy does make a good point. Mostly people who are sheep, who follow the crowd, who think having unprotected sex is ok because, if they get pregnant it was "meant to be"! (my idiot neighbors told me this... they can't afford their meager bills and the wife told me she doesn't even like her husband, but he is "hers" so they might as well have a kid.. OMFG don't even get me started on those two idiots... they believe drinking Mountain Dew is a good method of birth control! Seriously, WTF!)

I don't have any specific numbers, but it seems that educated, intelligent people are having less children in Europe and America. While less educated, (more religious?),  lower income people (I don't know a politically correct term that would be better to use. So try not to be offended, ok?) are having more kids. I know that Europe has been dwindling in population, especially in Germany, Italy and other countries. And muslim people are filling up the ghost towns, then immediately going on the Dole over there. That's what I've heard, but I don't have hard data. (that's from NPR, from a year ago, so maybe things are different now. But I don't listen to NPR anymore). Pat Condell is always talking about such things too.

I never saw the movie, Idiocracy. It looked really dumb, but the concept is what I'm talking about. It's more about I.Q. though, and I'm also talking about education and belief systems. If more atheists raise their children to be freethinkers and critical thinkers, imagine what the next generation would be like instead of what I see when we go out these days?

Since when did it become "cool" to be ignorant? That makes me stark raving crazy mad. I know of only 2 teenagers who seem to value intelligence and they are in my family. Maybe I sound old and crotchety, I don't know. It just seems that teenagers are having babies, and that everyone is purposefully embracing ignorance and mindlessness.

In my day... (just kidding... but seriously, in my day, it wasn't like this!)

Ok, it's getting a bit late, the weekend has been really long, and I'm tired. But I wanted to thank the man for thinking I'd make a good parent. I know I'd raise my kids to be freethinking individuals, even though it's not very cool.

Maybe you out there can chime in. Are you raising your children to be critical thinkers? How is that going? I imagine with the societal influences and poor education system it must be tough. Then again, am I just out of touch since I'm not a parent? Or did you do what my husband and I did? Did you decide for whatever reason that it would be best not to have kids? As always, I look forward to your thoughts!


  1. My husband and I decided very early on in our relationship that children were not in our future. It's a little surprising that we came to that decision, given that we were so young at the time (he was 21 and I was 18). My husband got a vasectomy at the age of 21 to prevent any "accidents". The biggest reason behind it was not wanting to pass on the genes and specifically mental issues that both sides of our family seem to have in abundance. For me at least, there is also a specific set of criteria that should be met before even considering procreation. Among them is emotional maturity, financial stability and a good relationship between both parents if possible. I certainly didn't meet any of the criteria when I made the decision to not have children, and while I do meet at least part of them now, I still don't have a desire to procreate. I like my life as it is - I like being able to pursue my goals and grow as a person without the need to transfer that to a child. While I do think occasionally about what it might be like to have a child, I can't get past the idea that most reasons to have a baby are beyond selfish - I am actually writing a blog series about "Terrible Reasons to Have a Baby". I see so many people having children around me - some of which I am surprised are even able to keep a goldfish alive. Thus, Neece, it WOULD be nice to raise a child that isn't a victim of the parents' stupidity. Then again, there is no guarantee that I wouldn't be a terrible parent. It would be my luck, that to rebel, my teenager would become a Fundamentalist Republican. Oh, the horror!! :)

  2. "not wanting to pass on the genes and specifically mental issues"

    You see that a lot today with the intelligent, they think their family has a lot of issues. Every family has it's fair share. But mostly, you forgot to take into consideration of the nurture part of the equation. Furthermore, a lot of hereditary conditions are becoming more and more treatable as the modern age develops, especially if tackled early.

    And if your still worried about it that much, you should consider adopting a young baby. Raising a child is a grand part of life. And in reality, you aren't too old to have a baby, although it will be a bit harder in some cases.

    I have more dealing with the future, your old age, and so forth, but I've got to go.

  3. Yeah, GMN, I agree. BUT.
    I hate it when people actually expect their friends to have children.

    Teresa and I decided to have one child, for mostly financial reasons. (We love traveling and want to make sure we can afford most of his college, and with our income we can travel with three quite comfortably as well as contribute to his scholarship. Another child would make that harder...) I can't tell you how often we hear "So, when are you going to have another?"


    We had our boy for all the right reasons, but bringing a child into the world is one of the biggest decisions you can make, and deciding not to have a child is a perfectly valid choice. I just wish it wasn't such an issue for other people.

  4. Bad genes and mental illness on both sides of our family also contributed to our decision not to ever have kids. I stand by my decision. And yes, we also felt we weren't financially well off enough. Not to mention we both admitted to being a bit too selfish to have kids. Hey at least we were honest.
    I also agree that having kids usually has to do with exceedingly selfish reasons. None of which I ever felt. I've never wanted kids. And I'm glad I never had any, honestly.
    I don't know if I'd make a good mother now, but back in my early 20's, certainly not. I was a mess. Yeah, my luck I'd end up with a fundamentalist republican too! Seriously, what a horror that would be!!!!!!! LOL

  5. Sure, nurture is really important, but so are teeth that have room to grow in your head, and most definitely, decent brain chemistry. Why bring a kid into the world when you can pretty much guarantee it will suffer with manic depression or worse?
    And, like DeletedSoul, we made our decision permanent. Only I was the one who got fixed. So no babies for me.
    I also think that my life is quite complete without having kids. I don't think every person or couple has to go through child-rearing to call their life complete. That seems... old fashioned or even wrong when the planet has so many people on it already.

  6. I agree. My husband and I get asked all the time, still, when we're going to have a child. He tells them he got me spayed years ago, which for some reason horrifies people in a very funny way. (Trust me, it's just to be funny. It was my decision to be the one to get fixed)

    Sounds like you made a logical and wonderful decision, Steve. You decided one child was right for you, and thought about the consequences of your decision and planned ahead. Good on you!

    Whereas Butch and I thought about it all, and decided zero was the right number for us. We have 2 great dogs that get excellent care, and that is what makes us happy.

  7. Hahaha. I'd love to see the expression on someone's face when you tell `em that!

    And yeah, we're pretty damned happy with our decision to have our son- He's pretty friggin' awesome. But before we did, we wanted to make sure we had our ducks in a row and wish that Teresa's friends would just stop asking when the next one is coming along.

    I have a friend who's Mother asked her on her wedding day when she should expect her first grandson. WTF, dude!

  8. Actually, rereading my earlier sentence- I need to clarify...

    "Teresa and I decided to have one child, for mostly financial reasons," sounds like we got him on sale or something. There was a coupon. You'd be amazed what Costco has in its catalog these days.

    But seriously, we had a child cause we wanted one. We wanted to make something special that was a part of both of us, and the gene pool we were pulling from was wide and deep. BUT, we only wanted one, for the financial reasons I mentioned...

  9. (EDIT: Neece copied this comment over from where it was misplaced here:

    This is a comment on your “Nicest Compliment” post (couldn’t figure how to directly comment on it). I don’t know how you define poor, but i know a number of people who don’t make a lot of money (like me) who are very intelligent (OK, not always me). Not everyone is interested in making as much money as they can. I don’t have a car and don’t own a house, but i am college-educated, read a lot and am very anti-religion in general. Maybe the crux of the problem is how you define poor. I never really considered myself poor (I only make about $1500 a month, have 7 guitars, a piano, gobs of audio equipment and live in a 2-bedroom apt by myself) so maybe by poor you really mean people who handle money poorly and live beyond their means. Care to explain?

  10. Mortified is usually the expression we get from that. :P Then again, Butch came home years ago and informed me that we were instant southern baptists because they had that conference that said that women were to always look up to their men and the man was to make all the decisions. For years I'd "defer" to Butch on everything. People didn't get it, of course. It was just a silly inside joke. But it cracked us up for quite awhile. This whole thing about him "getting me fixed" was a vestige of that joke, if I recall. :P

    That's so cool. I'm glad you have a son. You are just the people to do it right, it seems. :) How old is he now? It seems to me that people love to be busy-bodies and love to have people act exactly like they do. Something is wrong with "you" if you don't act exactly like me. Which of course, is impossible. That drives me crazy.

    Your friend was expected to do the SUPER old fashioned tradition of getting his bride pregnant on her wedding night. That's got to be a vestige of religion. How stupid!

  11. I totally think the kids available from Costco are the way to go. We got one ages ago at Kmart from a blue light special and had to take it back the next day. It was defective and past it's use by date! Never again!

    You definitely had kids for the right reasons, Steve. I'm really glad too. :D You're a smart cookie! :D

  12. Ok, I was going to make a joke about the comment being misplaced and your intelligence, but I figured my inflection would be lost on the interweb here. :D

    It doesn't matter what kind of job you have. If you think for yourself, I'm not talking about you. What I meant by "poor" was really not the right term. I can't think of one that wouldn't be considered offensive to anybody. So we'll say, yes, people who can't handle their money and live beyond their means. That sounds like a nice, mild way of saying what I mean. :P

  13. You can add to the count one extremely active three year old, down here in Darkest America*. Yes, he'll be an accomplished critical thinker; no, I can't guarantee that he'll be free of religion, because he's going to have an imagination that just won't slow down. I can guarantee that he will have a solid foundation of moral education, so he won't think think (for example) that religious edicts are some sort of reasonable excuse to hurt people.

    Right now, he goes to church with his grandparents on Sunday mornings. This is not so much to further his education as it is to give his parents a little alone time (though I do sometimes joke about the need to develop his anitbodies through early exposure). He also attends a mothers-day-out daycare at another church (courtesy of the other set of grandparents), because it's an extremely good value and they're good to him.

    I'm not terribly worried about it, for a couple of reasons. For one, I don't see this level of religious exposure being detrimental to his development; right now, we're mostly talking about people singing in a big room, and day care. For another, the denominations (I just started to type that as demoninations - yeesh) involved are Episcopalian and Disciples of Christ, both of which are pretty harmless, relatively low on guilt, and not much given to proselytizing**.

    When he gets old enough to start asking us questions about it, I'm simply going to explain to him that yes, there are people who believe these things, and no, our family does not. (My wife is, sort of arguably, a theist; and I'm basically an agnostic with some animist / pantheist / monist tendencies.) More to the point, if there is any sort of Creator out there, the best evidence we have is the world itself; and the best way to worship would be to study the world and the way it works; and the best way to study the world is through science.

    I have no idea how this will work out***. But that's what we're doing.

    As a side note, I also detest people who expect everyone to just get out there and procreate. Even if you're Christian, we've done it: we've gone forth, been fruitful, and multiplied. The Earth is darned well inherited. Maybe now it's time to back off a bit, and - as a species - try living within our means.

    Michael Mock

    * Texas.

    ** As a result, they're both dying out.

    *** This is, basically, a one-sentence summary of parenting.

  14. Good on ya, Michael. While I am rather anti-religion, I think a bit of sunday school or daycare through a church when a child is young, if tempered with critical thinking skills, logic and science education as the child grows up, is fine.
    And yes, study science, it rocks! :D
    I think you're right, no one has any idea how parenting will affect their child. You can only do your best. :)