There seems to be a big debate about having children. People often say that we have a population problem in the world, so you shouldn’t have children. I recognize that children increase the population and tax the earth’s finite resources. I also recognize that we are doing a poor job of managing the resources that we have and I can train my children to be wise stewards of what they have.
I am expecting my 5th child in the end of January (the 29th is the due date). I already have four boys that consume enough food to sustain a small country. How in the world would that contribute to sustainability? The fact is, I don’t completely know. What I do know is that my family of 6 can live in well less than 300 square feet and be mostly sustained on 5 acres (along with 9 or 10 others who live here and the food we take to market and CSAs). I am completely confident that happiness does not depend on the amount of space in your house or the amount of land that you own.
While I will be raising a large family, I will be raising a large family that thinks differently than most. I will be raising children that know where their food comes from and how to produce it. I will be raising children ready to try new things and test the envelope of sustainable agriculture. Yes, it takes resources to raise a large family, but I also feel it is a model of a different way.
For example, yesterday was bath day. The one-year-old got the raw end of the deal because he got the last shower that turned cold at the end. That is right, all four of my boys were able to bathe on one hot water heater full of water. Did I mention that our trailer has a 6 gallon hot water heater?
While our intention is not to stay in this trailer forever, I am seriously evaluating what exactly I need in a home. Living with a 6 gallon hot water heater, I know that I don’t need to have it running 24-7. It only takes 10 minutes to warm up and you can do quite a bit with it. (And then there are the instant hot water heaters that are even better). Likewise, I have learned the value of spaces that have many purposes and how easy small spaces are to keep clean.
Above all I have 4 (soon to be 5) children who are amazing additions to the world. I am confident that they will contribute more than they consume in the world. That is, at least, my goal in parenting.