Surprising as this may be as a millennial, I’m really not that easily offended. I can strongly disagree with you and still continue living my life without too much disruption. However, I believe there are some things which are worth setting the record straight. The recent comments from Emmanuel Macron are on that list.
“I always say: ‘Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children.'” Macron said. “Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12. This is just because a lot of girls were not properly educated, sometimes because these countries decided the rights of these girls were not exactly the same rights as the young man. That is not acceptable.”
I cannot disagree with the fact that 12 years old seems a perfectly ridiculous age to get married, and that education SHOULD be considered an important part of every life, male or female. However, to say that a perfectly educated woman would never choose to have eight or nine children? Well, that I can disagree with.
Dear President Macron,
Growing up in small town Ohio, I was one of three children. But just about all of the families I knew had between 6 and 11 kids. While this may come as a shock to you, their mothers were, across the board, some of the smartest women I’ve ever met. Not only were they smart, they held other qualities that allowed them to be women worthy of our respect.
First, I believe there is no person on earth that sacrifices more than a parent. Having less children makes life “easier,” certainly. There is more money to go around. There is more sleep to be had. There is less giving of self. There is more food, more clothes, more things.
Secondly, perseverance. The more children, the more personalities. Some of those will clash. Some will challenge their parents. All will require effort to shape into the type of humans parents wish their children to be. It will take persistence, time and effort.
Third, humility. I can attest from my own experience, that we caused my mother’s humility to grow a great deal. The more kids, the more opportunity for them to have a “kids say the darndest things,” moment.
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. While I am not one, I think it is apparent that being a mother entails a LOT of giving, and it cannot be easy. The more children there are, the more selflessness is required. But what, might I ask, could possibly be more rewarding or honoring than being given the opportunity to raise and shape a child?
I can’t think of one thing. Because what is important, Mr. President, is people. They are the legacy we leave behind. They are the reason for which we live. I don’t know your belief system, but I believe that we will face our Maker at the end of this life. When He asks me what I chose to do with my life, I can’t imagine a response I would be prouder of, than raising children.
My Mom told me a story once about friend of hers. This friend was in the hospital after just having her eighth child. She happened to share a room with a woman who had just had her second. The mom of two said, “Oh my goodness, I don’t know how you do it. I only have two and they take up ALL of my time!” To which, the mom of eight replied, “That’s all mine take.”
I do not believe that having nine children makes you a better person than a woman who has three, or even none. But I do believe that making a decision, as an educated woman, to have eight or nine children, makes perfect sense. Maybe not in the eyes of the world, but then again…look around you. Maybe being counter cultural is exactly what we need right now. Mother Teresa once wrote, “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, 'How many good things have you done in your life?' rather he will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?” So maybe, then, the number of children we have, the number of worldly accomplishments we have, the house we can afford…well maybe none of that matters. What matters is the love that we put into it.
On behalf of all the mama’s (and dad’s for that matter) that I know, in particular my own, thank you. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made. For being our biggest fans. For not deciding the world didn’t need another child.