Where does this come from? The Constitution talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My in-laws strongly support abortion and define the "pursuit of happiness" to be the "guarantee of happiness." Guaranteed by the government, of course, equalizing the playing field and resources, but only to the point of their coming out on top. As long as they get theirs, things are fair.
After 20 years, I'm still shocked they are so entrenched in this mindset. Their own parents, members of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation," were the types of folks who struggled and never complained, put a greater good above their own interests and were willing to sacrifice for it. Brokaw portrays this generation as heroes and many were.
Last weekend, we were having dinner with my parents-in-law and husband's aunt. Don't know how the topic came up, but families with lots of children were mentioned. My MIL, who was sitting next to me, made some comment under her breath about that women who have lots of children (more than two is her definition) should have their heads examined. I bit at that one.
Her whole thing is that kids are a lot of work and it isn't FAIR that the parents have all these kids and expect the older kids "to help raise them." Being slow of the uptake since having my own kids, I asked how that wasn't fair. I should've asked how is it fair that many families with one child don't raise their own kid either, but send them to daycare? I'm not criticizing people who need two incomes just to stay afloat, but there are plenty of families who use daycare to allow both parents to work so that the family can have more stuff.
Hubby's aunt, my MIL's sister, commented how she thought it was crazy that my MIL had her third baby. "I thought you were nuts," she told my MIL. Since when is three kids an extreme?
I told her I know plenty of large families where the loss of a child through miscarriage or knowing that the child they are holding in their arms is probably the last, is heart-breaking. Why? Because these families see children as they blessing they truly are. The bible is full of references about how children are a blessing, but then their idea is that Jesus wants us to be happy, and that happiness is brought about by how we individually define it and choose to pursue it.
Jesus told the rich man to give away all he had and follow him. His disciples were to do the same and many religious orders follow the same examples of poverty. Tanqueray, in The Spiritual Life, says this:
Our Lord addresses the following invitation to all His disciples: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." In order to follow and to love Jesus, there is an indispensable condition, that of renouncing self, that is to say, renouncing the evil inclinations of our nature: selfishness, pride, ambition, sensuality, lust, inordinate love of ease and riches. There is the condition of carrying one's cross, of accepting the sufferings, the privations, the humiliations, the evil turns of fortune, labor, sickness, in a word, those crosses with which the hand of God's Providence puts us to the test, strengthens our virtue and makes easy the expiation of our faults. Then, and only then, can one be Christ's disciple and walk the way of love and perfection.
It seems many of those in the Greatest Generation knew this instinctively. On the radio just yesterday, Dr. Ray talked about a study that showed that the more people gave away, the happier they were. The more money they spent on themselves, the less happy they became. Hubby's aunt rails against the Republicans because they are "just for the rich." If we were to take an inventory, she'd be considered rich. A house, a cabin, a pension, a new pontoon, an ATV, computers, electronic gizmos, cars, and on and on. Same with my PIL. Instead of taking stock in their blessings and seeing all that they do have, they look around at the people who have more and compare themselves to the even wealthier folks. That's a shell game and a losing proposition...there's always going to be someone who has more than you. If keeping up with the Joneses is their idea of happiness, I'd rather run a day care.
How much is enough? when your soul is empty
How much is enough? in the land of plenty
When you have all you want and you still feel nothing at all
How much is enough, is enough