It used to be between 3 and 4. Now, it’s between 1 and 2, and at times, “not now…later can, or may be.”
That’s the response from marrying couples when we deal with the number of children they would have in our marriage preparatory course, Kasih Sejati. And those are also some of the responses I have been getting from participants of other programmes.
Why? …Mainly they cite economic reasons. They fear that they will not have the means and the time to raise more children than they can handle. Even graduates express such fears or concerns. In an interview over radio after the National Day Rally speech, a married graduate with a career in hand decided not to have children until several years down the road. Why? Not prepared to have any for the near future. Must focus on putting her career on tract first.
I have another group of participants in my training programmes, usually in their 50’s and 60’s, that however wished they have had more than 2 children. Many of them stopped at 2. And they have been hoping that their children will bear more. But the prospects seem not promising. If this generation of parents were moving along the grain of policy then, their married children now seem adept to cut across it..somehow.
My own generation of friends, siblings and in-laws have more than 2 children in general. My own brother-in-law has got 7…not sure if he is stopping a that figure. My campus friend, who’s now my neighbour has 6. Jus got to know another one has 5. Recently, another one was reported to have 8.
But I can also vividly recall this particular participant, a security personnel working for a bank, who have 12 children, and all of them have it made in life. Majority of them have at least a diploma or ‘A’ levels with quite a number with degrees. And he’s the sole breadwinner. He seemed very much contented with his life. No regrets. In fact, his whole predisposition suggests a happy man.
Perhaps to understand his feelings better, read the report in BH, “Tak kaya harta, tetapi kaya anak” – about a man with his 10 children.
There are some other participants, much younger and married, but decided not to have children. They said, they would rather have puppies than babies. To some of them, puppies would pose much lesser headache than babies. Puppies would grow to become loyalists. Babies would grow to become antagonists.
What is the value of having our own children? Now it seems that it is based on or driven by economic value and quality of life more than anything else.
Do you agree?