Here's a fun tangent... my sister's whole wedding was only a few thousand. And if I ever marry (marriage is another concept I'm fairly cynical about, but that's another story) I intend to follow her lead. Maybe I was lucky... my parents were always very good about making me pay for my own non-essentials, and my big sister was an excellent example of responsibility.
On that note, maybe I wasn't clear what I meant when I said I'd sacrifice everything. I meant, everything for what my child needs. I definitely understand the difference between that and spoiling a child with everything he or she wants.
That's very sad about the, um, "totally ignore their parents till they want something" part. Lucky me, again: I took off to college just a few towns over and still live very close. Every couple of weekends or so I head home to collect mail that's still sent there and have a chat. I'll admit It might be less than that if my parents weren't so anti-IM. But still, I enjoy a closeness to my parents that I never really had before leaving town.
As far as people following my lead and not having kids... I don't know. All I really know on that topic is how as IQ and income go up in a country, the birthrate slows down. I kind of suspect that a lot of people already think like me, and I just don't know enough of them. There will always be people who have kids for the sake of having kids and not really know why--that's the survival instinct. What's mildly depressing to me is that intelligent people, the ones who can think through and judge the validity of their instincts, who both recognize and reject that train of thought, eventually give in.
Another tangent: I once read an article by a conspiracy theorist who said the government is behind the dumbing down of America's schools (particularly the ineffectiveness and harm No Child Left Behind is causing) because more educated people have fewer babies--fewer sons to send to war, and fewer people willing to send their sons to war. Interesting, if a little far-fetched.
Dave, it's interesting you say that about something to offer with my cynical perspective. It never ceases to amaze me that about 2/3 of the people to whom I rant like this wind up saying that it sounds like I'd make a great mother, for exactly the reasons I think I'd be a bad one.
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