To Child or not To Child

The question of whether to build a family has always befuddled me. On one hand, it would be wonderful to help build a loving home for these little beings I helped create to grow in. I would feel quite satisfied knowing I contributed to the happiness of my children. Children could give my life meaning and purpose. I would no longer need to search for meaning and direction because my list of mandatory tasks would be longer than I could handle.

But is this whole concept selfish? If I’m having a family simply for my own satisfaction, isn’t that a mistake? I would almost want to ask my child before he or she is born, “Do you really want to do this? Life can be hard and full of suffering. Would you rather just avoid the whole thing?” This obviously can’t happen, but maybe I should think for my potential future child. While I know that life is full of suffering, isn’t it also full of hope and potential? What about the idea of not knowing until you try?

I should be able to find happiness with or without children. If I’m putting the burden of my happiness on my children’s shoulders, that’s just not fair and is bound to failure. But if I’m happy with the idea of both having children and not having children, which should I choose? Maybe my child will become liberated and be in a position to help many people. Maybe I should focus my energy on becoming liberating myself rather than expecting my child to do something I couldn’t do myself. The correct answer still doesn’t seem clear to me, but maybe with time it will. Time to meditate.

5 thoughts on “To Child or not To Child

  1. sudhakar

    I attended my first 10-day course. A year or two later I wanted to become monk and I did not want to marry. Few years later I did marry. After the marriage, I did not wish for children and with in a year I had. My two children have done many children courses and my daughter recently finished a 10-day course as soon as she turned 18. After going through all these experiences, my advise is not to have children of your own. There are many children out there in the world. You can help them if you want to grow/educated/get-enlightned/… with out identifying as “your” children. It is very very very … very difficult to get over the feeling of “my children”. We have such a big stock of sankharas to burn so why take some “my children” burden if you can avoid.

    If you are blessed with children like I did unconciously/unwishingly/under the influence of avidya. You too can help them grow in dhamma. They will bring out the deep rooted sankharas and test your equanimity. Back to parenting meditating or not! 🙂

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