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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 16, 2013/ 10 Elul, 5773

Whatever happened to 'It takes a village'?

By Betsy Hart



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As a young woman new to the world of work and loving it, I actually went through a phase in which I hoped I would not be able to bear children.

Seriously.

I've written before about my ambivalence about having a family -- before I had four children, of course. Yet I'm not sure I've shared that little tidbit!

But yes, there was a time when I thought about the "advantage" of being childless being decided (begin ital) for (end ital) me. Deciding on that course myself? Not an option. Even then, I had a sense that having children was a calling about more than me.

Fast forward to Time magazine's provocative cover story on the dramatic rise in people in the U.S. choosing to be childless. "Child-free," as it is called. The fallout has been strong, with much of it centered around a new culture war over "to have children/not have children." Who is right? Which way is better? Who is being more selfish?

But the most interesting stream of response to the Time piece has not been different folks making their case for their lifestyle. But rather, the argument that the decision about childbearing, whether one has children at all, is a completely private one.

Really? Whatever happened to "It takes a village"? Does the involvement in the village ensue only after the private decision to have children has been made? Or should the village have a stake in that decision, too?

Yes, I wrote a book called "It Takes a Parent," arguing that it's parents who are primarily responsible for raising their children, and this is how it ought to be. But I do make the case for "the village," and always have, in the sense that our actions are interconnected, and morally intertwined. So when my first marriage ended in (my unwanted) divorce, it didn't just impact my four young children. It had a profound impact on our community -- on the kids down the street, on the kids living on the street we moved to, and on it went.


One of the reasons marriage has fallen apart in our culture is because, today, people think of it as being privatized, thoroughly decoupled from any larger obligation to the culture around us. These days, marriage, according to society's rules, is only about my spouse and me and what we want marriage to be, or don't want it to be. It is cut off from the fabric of community needed to support it.

Likewise, we are privatizing decisions about childbearing. Historically, having children, if one could, was simply assumed. Now, not having them is a choice on a very complicated new menu that has never existed before. And that, too, has consequences for the community.

If someone doesn't want to have kids, well, obviously I'm not going to step in and make them, or even try to change their minds, or argue that no one is really ready to be a parent before they are a parent.

But when record rates of people -- even if still very much in the minority -- are making the choice to be child-free, I'm sure going to ask, "Where does that movement come from, and how does it impact the children who are already here?"

I think we've gotten to a lamentable place in the West, with a perfect storm of independent (versus interdependent) lives, a focus on self-actualization and personal satisfaction, a sexual revolution coupled with reliable birth control, all of which have fundamentally shifted our thinking. It used to be that we understood that part of our role as human beings was to create and develop the generation that would replace us and carry on community and civilization itself.

Our grandparents, for instance, didn't agonize about when to start their families -- or whether to have kids in the first place. Not just because they (begin ital) couldn't (end ital) very effectively, until the 1960s and the birth-control pill, but because they (begin ital) wouldn't (end ital). It wasn't the way they thought about the world.

It has taken generational shifts, not just reliable birth control, to privatize the decision about whether to have children at all.

It seems to me that this trend is, more than anything else, a symptom of a larger problem: A disappearing village. And even a child can see that this has consequences for all of us.

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