Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reasons to have children

Today I enjoyed my bike ride home from teaching. There were about 30 white pelicans on the lagoon and many ducks of various sorts.

I am teaching a Public Speaking class for non-native speakers of English. I have to teach persuasive speeches, so that's what we were working on today. Students came up with potential topics, etc. One group chose "children" as a topic, with the argument that "everyone must have children." However, when it came to coming up with reasons why, they were stumped. Eventually they said "we must stop the declining birth rate" and "children take care of you when you are old."

One of my yoga teachers has been having us do hanumanasana a lot. I'm not even close to being able to do a split, but I'm much closer than I was. I like inverted hanumanasana at the wall.


Kim said...

children are highly entertaining... which i think is a good reason for having them. maybe it's the sleep deprivation, but I find Clara hilarious. really, she's better than tv.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Hi Kim,

I'm sure Clara is fabulous and entertaining and highly intelligent!

Even I was kind of surprised that none of my students could come up with any reasons for having children that actually had to do with the children--they'd never thought about it before. It was strange.

mark wallace said...

Isn't it the implication of Doctor Mandalet in The Awakening that if more people actively considered why they were having children, perhaps not enough of them would:

"The trouble is that youth is given up to illusions. It seems to be a provision of Nature, a decoy to secure mothers for the race."

I'm not advocating that point of view, but I think it plays interestingly here, in which the insistence on the necessity of having children really has no reasons. The reasons, it seems, may be beside the point.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Yes, indeed.

Several of my professors always read Edna's suicide as a kind of triumphant, Feminist act. I always thought Edna walked into the ocean because she agreed with the doctor but didn't want to talk about it any more, and divorcing her husband or taking a lover isn't presented as a real option in the book.

Lily in House of Mirth runs into an old acquaintance at the end of the novel who is married and has a baby. Lily spends some time with her, holds the baby on her chest, feels a bit better and more energized, then goes home and ODs on sleeping drugs.


mark wallace said...

Just to draw this on even a little longer, isn't there evidence to suggest that people with more education and affluence, or in more educated and affluent societies, have less children? And also that this issue is directly related to the social status of women? Not no children though, just less?