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Why do you have kids?

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Why do you have kids? Martin Potter 2/15/15 5:39 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Change A. 2/15/15 6:15 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Simon Ekstrand 2/15/15 6:49 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Steve 2/15/15 7:06 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Andreas 2/15/15 10:11 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Simon Ekstrand 2/15/15 11:27 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Jonas Emil Eriksson 2/9/19 4:03 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Steve 2/15/15 7:10 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Laurel Carrington 2/15/15 8:00 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Eric M W 2/15/15 9:18 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? C P M 2/15/15 10:24 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Jason Snyder 2/15/15 11:37 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Andreas 2/15/15 1:52 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Simon Ekstrand 2/15/15 2:16 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Andreas 2/15/15 2:41 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Simon Ekstrand 2/15/15 3:22 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Andreas 2/15/15 4:29 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Simon Ekstrand 2/15/15 4:33 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Andreas 2/15/15 5:04 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Jo Jo 2/16/15 4:58 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? John Wilde 2/15/15 5:54 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? John P 2/15/15 5:42 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Andreas 2/15/15 6:11 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Jason Snyder 2/15/15 6:58 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Psi 2/15/15 10:05 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Jean B. 2/16/15 3:00 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Connie Dobbs 2/16/15 5:25 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? ed c 2/16/15 11:20 AM
RE: Why do you have kids? Matt 2/16/15 11:12 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? tom moylan 2/19/15 2:28 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? C P M 2/19/15 3:03 PM
RE: Why do you have kids? Hugh Fox 2/24/15 4:16 AM
Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 5:39 AM
Hello,

I must admit I'm averse to having children, given that life can be hard and scary statistics come up such as half of people will be getting cancer in their lifetime. I am particularly curious about the reasons people here choose to have kids, being aware of existential suffering and so on, and knowing that any children will share the same basic DNA. I'm sure there are many positive reasons to have children and I'm very interested in the other side of the argument. I know it's personal but is anyone willing to share?

Thanks
Martin

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 6:15 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
I'm averse to having kids for the same reasons as you. Someone might say that your kids may not have the same existential questions as you do but then does it make sense to have dumb kids?

The kids will have suffering in life so I think it is mean of parents to give them life just as to bring some meaning to their own life.

Some parents often say to their kids that they gave them life so that they should be indebted to them. But the kid didn't ask them to bring him/her to life and may even ask as to why they give him/her life?

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 6:49 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
Hi,

I don't understand the argument that life is scary and bad things happen to people and you should therefore not have kids.

Obviously the one making the argument thinks their own life is worth living as they haven't killed themselves, why shouldn't their kids have the same opportunity? Ie. if life really is that bad, why are you still here discussing kids?

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, it isn't meant to be, and I am absolutely not encouraging anyone to kill themselves.

Simon

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 7:06 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:
Hi,

I don't understand the argument that life is scary and bad things happen to people and you should therefore not have kids.




I agree.

It has been that way since the year 1 and life isn't 100% bad.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 7:10 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
Martin Potter:
Hello,

I must admit I'm averse to having children,


Then don't.  It is a lifelong commitment that takes over your life.   Your time and your money will not be your own.  My understanding from some of my friends who are parents is that it can be extremely rewarding, but you have to be ready to give most of yourself and be extremely into it for that to thappen.   

In a world of 7 billion people with a projected population of 11 billion nobody needs to have kids.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 8:00 AM as a reply to Steve.
It's not necessarily a rational decision. I felt the way you do for years, and then all of a sudden was struck by lightening. I had prior to that had several periods pass where I'd sit down and write out the pros and cons, and then stare at the page. Maybe all of that writing out and thinking contributed to the eventual lightening bolt; I don't really know. But I remember in the past thinking about taking a child to dance recitals or baseball games or what have you and not being remotely interested. Then it was my own child and here I am, taking him here and there, and it's not at all what I had imagined, because he's not an imaginary child, he's my Paul. 

No child is just a child, but a relationship, an experience of fierce, protective, adoring, overwhelming love. I can't imagine not having him in our lives. Whatever it is that is "you" changes with the experience of having a child. But I'm not recommending parenthood to anyone who is averse or even on the fence. It is, as I said, not a rational decision.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 9:18 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
I can't be the only one here who has kids... Despite being in my early 20s, I have four children, including my step-son. My four year old son has severe autism, so it's kind of like caring for two when it comes to him.

I had kids because I wanted to be a father. It was not a rational decision, as Laurel says. When people ask me why I didn't use birth control or put one up for adoption, it baffles me. Having children is not a cold, calculated decision grounded in finances.

I realize that we live in a society that glorifies individualism, but the happiness and stability that comes from having your own family is not something that can be found when you are on your own. The deep love I feel for my children, and they for me, is like nothing I have ever experienced before. It can't even come close to touching romantic love, or even the love I have for my parents. I feel that realizing this level of love has made for faster spiritual progress for me, personally.

The biggest "pro" for me was an increase in maturity. Having children is an experience in constant surrender. You can't just go out with friends or play video games. You have to devote that time, instead, to your children. This sucked at first, but as time went on I became more at peace with it, and it's really helped me to grow psychologically. Before I had kids I would get pissed and upset  at very small things. If anything interrupted me playing video games, for example. Now, I feel like I can pretty much handle anything. I just have more strength and peace. I can definitely see a big difference between my friends who have kids and my friends who are childless-- the ones with kids are definitely more mature, though there are some exceptions, and having kids won't automatically make you grow up. It's more about how you handle it.

There are definitely cons to have kids. Finances are huge. I don't even want to think about how much money I've spent clothes, food, toys, day care, etc. I personally don't have a big problem with this, but if you buy into society's idea that more money is good, you may find yoruself frustrated. I find that I have very little free time. I have to wash and fold at least one full load of laundry every day, as one example. Caring for children can also be very intense and stressful, such as when they get sick, or when they get into trouble at school. And being a dark night yogi, there are times when I resent my family, because I am unable to go on retreat or even devote much time to daily practice.

Having kids is not for everybody. Some people just can't handle it. Some people can handle having one but can't fathom having any more, though I can say from experience that you will simply adapt.

Overall, I'd recommend having kids if you can handle the responsibility. There's nothing more frustrating, more heart-breaking, more rewarding, more amazing. My life would be so boring and meaningless without my kids. 10/10, would do again.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 10:11 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:
Hi,

I don't understand the argument that life is scary and bad things happen to people and you should therefore not have kids.

Obviously the one making the argument thinks their own life is worth living as they haven't killed themselves, why shouldn't their kids have the same opportunity? Ie. if life really is that bad, why are you still here discussing kids?

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, it isn't meant to be, and I am absolutely not encouraging anyone to kill themselves.

Simon
You cant talk about existence in the way you do. Its illogical. When you exist you want to continue existing, it has to be really bad to commit suicide. If there is no existence it cannot by definition suffer. Non-existence is neither good or bad since there aint one that can have the experience. So what you compare is non-experience vs experience. A potential child cannot suffer. It can only suffer when it is an actual child. Is existence better than non-existence that is the question, is sickness, old age and death better than no sickness, old age and death.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 10:24 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
I have four kids, but they adults now, and I'm into the grandchildren phase. I sometimes see colleagues at work agonize over the decision to have children. These are people who have stable jobs and a house, and they are still timid. I don't get it.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 11:27 AM as a reply to Andreas.
Andreas:
is sickness, old age and death better than no sickness, old age and death.

[Edited to be less inflamatory]

I doubt either of us will convince the other of anything so I will leave the discussion.

Have good weekend,
Simon

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 11:37 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
I don't understand the Buddhist argument that since there is suffering, life is not worth living, or that we need to get off the wheel and into cessation/non-existence as soon as possible. It's a highly pessimistic view. What about all of the good experiences in life? I feel like the good experiences compensate for the bad ones. I am definitely happy that I was born and had the opportunity to experience life.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 1:52 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
I don't understand the Buddhist argument that since there is suffering, life is not worth living, or that we need to get off the wheel and into cessation/non-existence as soon as possible. It's a highly pessimistic view. What about all of the good experiences in life? I feel like the good experiences compensate for the bad ones. I am definitely happy that I was born and had the opportunity to experience life.
Its not really an buddhist argument. It can be found in western philosophy as well. The thing is we humans are very good at rationalizing, forgetying, ignoring etc. If you talk to atheist they often say if god exist he is cruel because there is suffering, sickness etc. But that is only true for humans as long as there are humans. No babies no suffering, so if you argue that god would be cruel that also means parents are cruel. 
If you werent born you wouldnt suffer. You make the same logical fallacy as Simon. You in your arguement add or remove something from something that do not exist. Did you suffer before you were born? Did you miss not existing? When you are born you might like it, or you might not, does the good outweigh the bad fully? Can you guarantee that your children will like existence and not mind it comming to an end? Is it worth the risk?

People always seem to be personally offended by these lines of thought. They dread it, they react as if they are fearful of it. But its just philosophy but slso its reality, how one decides to act upon it is still a personal choice.
ps
there is a small somewhat ok book called Better never to have been. It explains all this using logic.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 2:16 PM as a reply to Andreas.
Except you're not actually responding to the argument that either of us are making - the fact that we find life enjoyable, that the good by far outweighs that bad, and that odds are that any children we may have will also think so.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 2:41 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
I am arguing against it. I am saying that you cannot logically, in any manner say that its better to have been born. Because there is nothing to compare it too. The suffering will always outweigh when compared to nill. Also you cannot argue that you children will not suffer since you are not your children. The logic of "I do not mind suffering a bit, therefor my children will not mind it either" is fairly non sensical.

Its much more honest to just say I want to have children for my own selfish reasons. Because that is in the end the only reason. All other reasons are rationalizations.

Sry for the OT remarks Mr Potter.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 3:22 PM as a reply to Andreas.
Andreas:
I am arguing against it. I am saying that you cannot logically, in any manner say that its better to have been born. Because there is nothing to compare it too. The suffering will always outweigh when compared to nill. Also you cannot argue that you children will not suffer since you are not your children. The logic of "I do not mind suffering a bit, therefor my children will not mind it either" is fairly non sensical.


See, you're still missing the fact that life is not just suffering, it is also joy. The suffering isn't compared to nill, it is compared to the joys of life and for many of us, the joys of life win out by a large margin. Of course my children will suffer, but the joys of life make the suffering worthwhile. Part of my job as a parent is to teach my children how to enjoy life.

It's perfectly simple to compare life to non-life - I just need to ask myself "Am _I_ happy to have been born, do _I_ think my children will be happy to have been born.

Andreas:
Its much more honest to just say I want to have children for my own selfish reasons. Because that is in the end the only reason. All other reasons are rationalizations.


If you say so!

Simon

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 5:54 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
I am definitely happy that I was born and had the opportunity to experience life.

Same here. It's very rare that I come across a human sentiment that I can't relate to in some way, but this one -- (better not to have been born) -- is truly alien to me. For me, it's not really about the ratio of enjoyment to suffering. The sheer stupendous fact of being present and awake to all this -- no matter what happens to me -- is literally incomparable, literally invaluable.

I can understand that if the suffering to enjoyment ratio gets too high, someone might decide enough is enough. But to wish to have never been here in the first place... rather not have had all those possibilities at all... I just can't wrap my head around that one.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 4:29 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:

See, you're still missing the fact that life is not just suffering, it is also joy. The suffering isn't compared to nill, it is compared to the joys of life and for many of us, the joys of life win out by a large margin. Of course my children will suffer, but the joys of life make the suffering worthwhile. Part of my job as a parent is to teach my children how to enjoy life.

The suffering is compared to nill. That is the whole point. To evaluate if birth is worthwhile you need to compare it to the state before birth. Unless you are a believer in reincarnation that state is oblivion.


It's perfectly simple to compare life to non-life - I just need to ask myself "Am _I_ happy to have been born, do _I_ think my children will be happy to have been born.

Do I like to be spanked with a spiked plank, yes I do. Therefor I can assume others want to be spanked as well.
All greek men are mortal.
I am mortal.
Therefor I am greek.
*sic*
I thought logic was a part of buddhist philosophy but when looking at debates here and elsewhere the fallacies fills the pages, unfounded assumptions, logical errors just hits one in the face.


If you say so!
Simon

Its not something I say its the only logical conclusion. Gravity exist regardless if you believe in it or not. Its not magical. Since the child has no say in the matter, only what the PARENT wants/desires IS the cause of the child (unless you are a man and the condom breaks). Why does this offend you so much? If you want to have a child have a child.

Made a new thread to expand on the suffering topic.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 4:33 PM as a reply to Andreas.
Andreas:
The suffering is compared to nill. That is the whole point. To evaluate if birth is worthwhile you need to compare it to the state before birth. Unless you are a believer in reincarnation that state is oblivion.


But life is not only suffering, why do you insist on only including suffering in the evaluation?

Do I like to be spanked with a spiked plank, yes I do. Therefor I can assume others want to be spanked as well.
All greek men are mortal.
I am mortal.
Therefor I am greek.
*sic*
I thought logic was a part of buddhist philosophy but when looking at debates here and elsewhere the fallacies fills the pages, unfounded assumptions, logical errors just hits one in the face.


If your life is equivalent to being spanked with a spiked plank i truly feel sorry for you and understand why you regret having been born. It must be very tough. For those of us who value and enjoy life your comparison make no sense.

Do feel that it makes your arguments stronger to keep inserting semi passive-aggressive quips into your postings? It's a good thing that I'm not buddhist or I might be obliged to feel offended.

Its not something I say its the only logical conclusion. Gravity exist regardless if you believe in it or not. Its not magical. Since the child has no say i
n the matter, only what the PARENT wants/desires IS the cause of the child (unless you are a man and the condom breaks). Why does this offend you so much? If you want to have a child have a child.

What in the world makes you think I am offended? I already have three children and I am perfectly content with that choice. I am however vaguely annoyed with myself that I allowed myself to be drawn into another argument on the internet, where no one has ever changed their mind once a position has been taken so the whole discussion is entirely pointless.

Repeating something over and over doesn't make it true, neither does putting forth completely irrelevant comparisons. Putting forth reasoned arguments does. People have children for many reasons, some selfish, some not. One such reason can be, for example, that they want their children to experience the joys of life. That is not a selfish reason, therefor your argument doesn't hold water.

I have to go to bed now and tomorrow I will not have time to continue this, so I guess you will get to have the final word and will therefor get to consider yourself the winner of this little argument, congratulations!

Have a good night,
Simon

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 5:04 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:

But life is not only suffering, why do you insist on only including suffering in the evaluation?

See my other thread. Im using basic suffering since its universal. In my other thread Im curious as to what happiness compensates for the suffering of mutilation, kids getting brain cancer etc.


If your life is equivalent to being spanked with a spiked plank i truly feel sorry for you and understand why you regret having been born. It must be very tough. For those of us who value and enjoy life your comparison make no sense.

What I wrote is the equivalent of your argument. Im trying to explain that your argument is not logically valid in the given context. Its a very difficult task it seems.
I havent made any argument based on my own experience since that is irrelleveant and anecdotal. All experiences are subjective to that individual. What I consider suffering might be bliss for someone else such as the spanking. You cannot assume someone will like something because you like it.


What in the world makes you think I am offended? I already have three children and I am perfectly content with that choice. I am however vaguely annoyed with myself that I allowed myself to be drawn into another argument on the internet, where no one has ever changed their mind once a position has been taken so the whole discussion is entirely pointless.
You come across as very emotional. You dont present any logical arguments just anecdotal or false arguments.
People have children for many reasons, some selfish, some not. One such reason can be, for example, that they want their children to experience the joys of life. That is not a selfish reason, therefor your argument doesn't hold water.

Did you even read the sentences you just wrote? First the presumption that children already exist before being born. Yes saying one want ones children to experience life presupposes that there is something that exist before birth and therefor would benefit from the experience of life.  Also you actually wrote "they want their children" wanting is egobased since the children dont exist.

Good night and godspeed.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 5:42 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Disclaimer: I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if I repeat something that was said before.
Jason Snyder:
I don't understand the Buddhist argument that (1)since there is suffering, life is not worth living, or that (2)we need to get off the wheel and into cessation/(3)non-existence as soon as possible. (4) It's a highly pessimistic view. What about all of the good experiences in life? I feel like the good experiences compensate for the bad ones. I am definitely happy that I was born and had the opportunity to experience life.

Numbers above were added by myself.
1. I don't think that's an argument in buddhism. Perhaps the argument would be that in the cycle of samsara, we will never be satisfied no matter what we do or how we do it.
2. Non-existence is an extreme view rejected by Gautama Buddha.
3. Although you say "as soon as possible", the idea is that we already had countless lifes before this one, so we should cherish the opportunity of getting to know the Buddhadharma.
4. Not everyone would agree (I think Goenka wrote a book about this topic). As far as I remember the argument boils down to: The Buddha was neither pessimist or optimist. He was realist. He can't be said to be pessimist because he described suffering AND the path to end suffering.

It seems Andreas is saying that a disadvantage of having children is that you are bringing to this world a being that is subject to suffering.
I disagree with that, because I don't think that avoiding it's rebirth would relieve that being from suffering.
(Of course, I'm assuming rebirth in this post, but if people would like to discuss this, please do in another thread).

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 6:11 PM as a reply to John P.
John P:
Disclaimer: I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if I repeat something that was said before.
Jason Snyder:
I don't understand the Buddhist argument that (1)since there is suffering, life is not worth living, or that (2)we need to get off the wheel and into cessation/(3)non-existence as soon as possible. (4) It's a highly pessimistic view. What about all of the good experiences in life? I feel like the good experiences compensate for the bad ones. I am definitely happy that I was born and had the opportunity to experience life.

Numbers above were added by myself.
1. I don't think that's an argument in buddhism. Perhaps the argument would be that in the cycle of samsara, we will never be satisfied no matter what we do or how we do it.
2. Non-existence is an extreme view rejected by Gautama Buddha.
3. Although you say "as soon as possible", the idea is that we already had countless lifes before this one, so we should cherish the opportunity of getting to know the Buddhadharma.
4. Not everyone would agree (I think Goenka wrote a book about this topic). As far as I remember the argument boils down to: The Buddha was neither pessimist or optimist. He was realist. He can't be said to be pessimist because he described suffering AND the path to end suffering.

1. No its not.
2. It depends on how one interpretes the teachings.
3. Also the argument itself does not say that this life is not worth living. Its only about creating new life. Nothing discussed is about suicide etc. When we are born we would like to continue to exist and should make the best of it. The thought of ceasing to exist however causes suffering.
4. Yup.

It seems Andreas is saying that a disadvantage of having children is that you are bringing to this world a being that is subject to suffering.
I disagree with that, because I don't think that avoiding it's rebirth would relieve that being from suffering.
(Of course, I'm assuming rebirth in this post, but if people would like to discuss this, please do in another thread).

You get my point, thank you. And yes I presume there is no souls, rebirth etc. I also presume that the child might not become enlightened or be born enlightened since we cannot know that.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 6:58 PM as a reply to John P.
John P:
Disclaimer: I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if I repeat something that was said before.
Jason Snyder:
I don't understand the Buddhist argument that (1)since there is suffering, life is not worth living, or that (2)we need to get off the wheel and into cessation/(3)non-existence as soon as possible. (4) It's a highly pessimistic view. What about all of the good experiences in life? I feel like the good experiences compensate for the bad ones. I am definitely happy that I was born and had the opportunity to experience life.

Numbers above were added by myself.
1. I don't think that's an argument in buddhism. Perhaps the argument would be that in the cycle of samsara, we will never be satisfied no matter what we do or how we do it.
2. Non-existence is an extreme view rejected by Gautama Buddha.
3. Although you say "as soon as possible", the idea is that we already had countless lifes before this one, so we should cherish the opportunity of getting to know the Buddhadharma.
4. Not everyone would agree (I think Goenka wrote a book about this topic). As far as I remember the argument boils down to: The Buddha was neither pessimist or optimist. He was realist. He can't be said to be pessimist because he described suffering AND the path to end suffering.

It seems Andreas is saying that a disadvantage of having children is that you are bringing to this world a being that is subject to suffering.
I disagree with that, because I don't think that avoiding it's rebirth would relieve that being from suffering.
(Of course, I'm assuming rebirth in this post, but if people would like to discuss this, please do in another thread).

My bad, I wasn't being very precise in the characterization of Buddhism. 

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/15/15 10:05 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
I don't understand the Buddhist argument that since there is suffering, life is not worth living, or that we need to get off the wheel and into cessation/non-existence as soon as possible. It's a highly pessimistic view. What about all of the good experiences in life? I feel like the good experiences compensate for the bad ones. I am definitely happy that I was born and had the opportunity to experience life.
Hi Jason, that sounds like a misunderstanding.

Life is worth living, it is the suffering that is not worth having, when the suffering is reduced or even eliminated, what do you think is left?

Joy, Contentedness, Even-mindedness, Compassion, Extra Energy, etc...

Just some thoughts...

Psi

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/16/15 3:00 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
I have a 2.5 years-old son and I do agree with all that had been said. Pros and cons. Obviously, the best part is the deep bonding and love I have the tremendous chance to live with my child.

One thing I also find very interesting is: by raising a child, somehow I come to re-live my own life from another perspective. There a lot of things lived as a child that makes much more sense now that I'm witnessing - accompanying - my own kid going throught it.

Actually, there was no real reason for having a child, other than the sudden and profound desire to become a father, triggered by a powerful and vivid dream of having a child. Not very rational.
The weird thing is, there are a lot of great reasons for having a child, but much of them become really obvious only when you actually have one.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/16/15 4:58 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:
Except you're not actually responding to the argument that either of us are making - the fact that we find life enjoyable, that the good by far outweighs that bad, and that odds are that any children we may have will also think so.
That is not an argument. It is an experience.
So what we are having here is two opinions based on two different sets of experience.
If we admit that our experiences are always limited, we must come to the conclusion that there is no "truth" here, none of the two sides can win the argument.
All we can do is share our experiences, and respect each other.

"Compassion" with the seemingly life-denying standpoint is tricky. I myself understand Andreas POV very well. I used to wish that I had never been born, for many years. Life really beat the shit out of me, and there was no outweighing of the bad by the good, until some months ago the results of many years of bone-breaking and sustained practice changed it all. I was really lucky to have stumbled into the dharma. My family is stuck with the hell I came from, so I get to see it again and again - otherwise I would certainly have erased it from my memory in the very moment I left it. If in my shitty times anybody who´d never had this experience would have approached me saying "I feel truly sorry for you, you poor bag of shit, you haven´t had the chance to understand what life really is", I would have felt looked down upon. Because, however hellish this life was, it was still a fully experienced life and - once it was there - of course as fully rounded and worthy as any "better" life. However, what I wanted to say was, whoever has no real understanding of such suffering (which may very well lead to the - from this POV totally rational decision "I wouldn´t ever want to throw another living being into that"), whoever "cannot wrap his head around this", cannot truly be compassionate with it.

i have no children, and I still think this was a very good decision (it was not really a decision, though; it happened). Others may have children who are going to be a real gift to the world. Both is good, and both may be life-serving.

Just an opinion. May change over the times.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/16/15 5:25 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
Martin Potter:
Hello,

I must admit I'm averse to having children, given that life can be hard and scary statistics come up such as half of people will be getting cancer in their lifetime. I am particularly curious about the reasons people here choose to have kids, being aware of existential suffering and so on, and knowing that any children will share the same basic DNA. I'm sure there are many positive reasons to have children and I'm very interested in the other side of the argument. I know it's personal but is anyone willing to share?

Thanks
Martin


I have absolutely no idea why we decided to have them. We both felt it and It just happened. I never intellectualized much over it. I was averse to having them too before my thirties, so I guess it's biological (me shrugs). However, now that I do have these two little rascals, I would never go back to living my life as a non parent (as if I had a choice but seriously, even if there was hypothetically a way to go back I would never do it although I did wanted to throw them out of a four story building yesterday emoticon ) .

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/16/15 11:20 AM as a reply to Martin Potter.
Hi Martin, 

I am definitely in the camp that thinks the good parts of life outweigh the suffering. Life is better than nothingness. Whatever their motivation was, I’m grateful my parents gave life to me. My motivation to have kids was not well thought out or altruistic. These comments resonate with me.

We both felt it and It just happened. I never intellectualized much over it.. However, now that I do have these two little rascals, I would never go back to living my life as a non parent (as if I had a choice but seriously, even if there was hypothetically a way to go back

The weird thing is, there are a lot of great reasons for having a child, but much of them become really obvious only when you actually have one.

As Jean says, here are some of the things I learned (am still learning) that weren’t entirely expected. I should add, while these things can all be learned without kids, the combination of requirement, dependency and love, really forces you confront things you can otherwise avoid or suppress. There is no where to run and the love can give you energy to confront issues and really try and resolve them

Patience/Acceptance
- As Eric said, kids are amazing for teaching patience. They don’t understand logic or cause and effect for so long that you are forced to go nuts, or just accept what is happening AND that you cannot really control or stop it from happening again. There is magic in that.

Social Conditioning - It’s also amazing to be shown how conditioned we are. Kids remind you, at one point in time you were free of all this and life was easier and can be again.

Naivety/Wonder –  . Being shown true curiosity, innocence, naivety and wonder is immensely valuable. They help you really see what you’ve layered onto the sense of self, how we’ve been conditioned since birth and if you’re motivated to do so, this can help you unravel it.

Instincts -
 On the flip side, kids remind you about the instincts we are born with, and this helps be a little less hard on yourself when ‘negative’ ones flare up in you.

Love  -
I didn’t understand what ‘love’ was, until I had children. Or at least I found there was another gear there that I didn’t know existed. This opened me up more to the concept that fundamental changes in experience were very possible.

No altruism -
But it also taught me that actions based on feelings cannot be truly altruistic even for someone I love. In the moment I often do what is needed for my children, independent of what my needs are (altruism), but at some point that occurs to me and I find it impossible to not have some sense of satisfaction for having done this. This leads to a concept (layer) of “being a good dad” and the whole thing is shown to have a self-serving aspect. It’s something else that can be attached to and can create craving and aversion.

Selfishness -
 Related to the item above, having children showed me how selfish I am. This first became apparent when I realized I really didn’t bond with my first child (nor second) until she was about 3-4 months old. Some people say the birth of their child was the best day of their life, for me the birth and next few months were more of an obligation with little positive emotion attached. I was starting to get really scared it would continue that way. But it didn’t. At about 3-4 months they begin interacting with me, like smiling, and I was hooked! But it honestly took feedback from her, to me, to really bond and that struck me as to how selfish I was (am).

All of this ebbs and flows, these are current thoughts, and they will change over time. I’d be happy to talk with you more about this if you would find that helpful. Especially focusing on the 'down side' like loss of personal time and money. 

Take care
ed

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/16/15 11:12 PM as a reply to Martin Potter.
Martin Potter:
Hello,

I know it's personal but is anyone willing to share?
Optimism about life. So far, his birth seems to have been good for both of us. Fingers crossed.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/19/15 2:28 PM as a reply to Martin Potter.
my self centered, largely hedonist picnic changed in the moment my unplanned daughter lay damp in my hands for the first time.  the completely unexpected protective instincts that were born in me that day have not left nor waned.  the depth of love completely overwhelmed anything i had previously named love and contained a component of utter humility which highlighted the empty things i had previously mistaken for fulfillment.

my earlier stances, posturings, doubts and fears were obliterated in the certainty of the closest thing to true destiny that i had ever experienced.  my life had been rich in love, death, wealth and fun but paled to utter inconsequence at that moment.

she is in college now and her sister is two years behind her.  i have never done anything in my life which comes remotely close to the sense of achievement i feel when i think of them and the people they have become and are becoming.  i am a better man because of my dedication to them.  they are my best teachers.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/19/15 3:03 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
my self centered, largely hedonist picnic changed in the moment my unplanned daughter lay damp in my hands for the first time.  the completely unexpected protective instincts that were born in me that day have not left nor waned.  the depth of love completely overwhelmed anything i had previously named love and contained a component of utter humility which highlighted the empty things i had previously mistaken for fulfillment.

my earlier stances, posturings, doubts and fears were obliterated in the certainty of the closest thing to true destiny that i had ever experienced.  my life had been rich in love, death, wealth and fun but paled to utter inconsequence at that moment.

she is in college now and her sister is two years behind her.  i have never done anything in my life which comes remotely close to the sense of achievement i feel when i think of them and the people they have become and are becoming.  i am a better man because of my dedication to them.  they are my best teachers.

Well said!

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/24/15 4:16 AM as a reply to C P M.
decisions in life aren't always entirely rational, and without some kind of emotional and biological urge to reproduce we wouldn't be here.
So I can't say exactly why I chose to have kids.  I think I thought me and my wife would make an ok job of being parents.

That said, now they are here they are without doubt the best teachers you can have.  I don't mean this in a right-on, touchy feely 'oh they live in the moment and are so innocent' type way, I just mean that they force you to consider what you value, rob you of a lot of self-indulgencies and in many cases provide you with the first thing in life more important than yourself.  Alot of the ideals I used to aspire to I now cringe at, seeing them as self-centred, cosy middle class bullshit.  I am definitely more pragmatic now, but crucuially feel that the things I do keep to have 100% more meaning.  Relating this to meditationfor example, it is no longer a cool hobby I do to enhance my self-image, it is something I do to make myself better able to skilfully deal with the stresses of family life, and not beat myself up when I fall short in this regard.  It's something I want to be able to teach my son to counteract his boisterous tendencies and give him some balance.  My other big interest as another example - physical exercise - is no longer about looking good on the beach, it's about living a long life to look out for my family, and staying fit enough to chase after the little feckers when they're charging around the park.

They're a heavy dose of reality most of the time, but equally introduced me to a kind of love I never experienced before.  

So, no regrets as to the path I find myself on.

RE: Why do you have kids?
Answer
2/9/19 4:03 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:
Hi,

I don't understand the argument that life is scary and bad things happen to people and you should therefore not have kids.

Obviously the one making the argument thinks their own life is worth living as they haven't killed themselves, why shouldn't their kids have the same opportunity? Ie. if life really is that bad, why are you still here discussing kids?

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, it isn't meant to be, and I am absolutely not encouraging anyone to kill themselves.

Simon


You see there is more reasons to not comit sucied then that you simply do not like living your self. I had a serious undertake¨on this one when I was in a deeper depression. I cam to the conclusion that I will not only kill my self, but also other people will get harmed by this. And then I thought, but I think most people around me will be able to handle this. BUT, my mother... She would most likely go completely mad. She would be so lost that either she might in some mysterious way become enlightened because she lost everything OR she would go into deep deep insanity, continuing blaming herself like never before. So I continued my life based on living for her at least, trying to find another way out of dukkha. Another thing is (which you rationaly can not support) is that you will just be reborned and suffer in the next life. Even though it is verry similar to that of my mother, since my suffering verry likely will attach to her body and others bodies, so I kind of getting reborned into other peoples bodies in regard to their reactions to my action.

Another thing which is a bit closer to your reasoning, but still not the same. Is that I too just laid down on the floor once, in this moment of suidcidal thoughts. I just laid there like I dont want to do anything, I just wanted to cease existing. So I was meditating, just laid there watching. Kind of involuntarily, as a bounce to the floor of the abyss. So yes I didnt want to die really, I just wanted my ego to cease ofcourse. Later I raised up on my legs, still heavy, but a bit lighter.
So do I want kids? Not at the moment because Im still thinking that life is suffering and that I dont want to give birth to more suffering if I can choose (If I suffer it is likely that my child will inherit some of my pain-body). If it happens, it happens. I was close to become a father once because my and my partners desire made us not thinking about any condom. It just happened and it felt good (Be equanimous even though you perhaps falled for an uncontrolled desire). She got pregnant and the embryo died. We both reacted strongly on this, especially her. And caused great suffering for us, but also it caused new oportunities. A few months later I went on my first retreat (with-this-suidcidal-thinking-and-laying-on-the-flor-thing happening in between embryodeath and retreat)
I just continue living because it is my responsibility and the only thing to do. Comitting suicide will just lead to more suffering. Even though I was verry depressed, there was some love and compassion still there making me to continue living. Now I also thinking that there is so many other people to share life with in the world anyway and if I cant experience the same love as I would with a child, I can learn it, it is just about my fear right... Fear of love, such a peculiar thing haha.. But if it happens, it happens.

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