CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Recent articles in the newspapers keep me pondering and praying.
"More deaths than births in West Virginia . . . Charleston population stalled at 50,000 . . . average age in Charleston rises . . . . number of households drops . . . outlook for insufficient number of caregivers for elderly. . ."
Troubling statistics continue to unfold.
Add the issues prevalent in the Western Christian world:
Birth rate below replacement rate -- tacit acceptance of destruction of those conceived but not yet born, and even those partially born -- couples postponing marriage, choosing not to marry, preferring to embrace long-term "relationships" -- married couples who, for selfish reasons, choose not to conceive or who, because of hard economic reasons, are forced to avoid or postpone conception -- "in vitro fertilization" and the associated destruction of "extra" embryos to assure only healthy, handsome, highly intelligent or specific-sex babies -- and the push for sterile marital unions of same-sex couples.
Compare low birthrates in the West with the high rates of birth in other parts of the world. Is it just a matter of time before the West is overwhelmed by the East?
Better minds than mine need to address these issues. My plea and prayer is simply that people change what I consider a growing "anti-children" attitude in today's Western society. John Burroughs, an American naturalist, suggested that those lives not blessed by children are "narrow and confined." There is something to be said for that, even though it is not possible for some of us to have the several children Burroughs recommended.
I suggest a 12-step program to ensure that we as a society do all we can to be child-friendly and family-focused, to see children as God's gift of the present, God's hope for the future.
<z6b-1f"ZapfDingbats">n<f$z$b$> "Children have more need of models than of critics." -- Joseph Joubert, French moralist and essayist. By modeling positive, appropriate behavior ourselves, we shape children's actions and attitudes. If we show them the best, they will emulate the best. When we speak positively to and of children, we say as much about ourselves as we say of them.