A rational reason for children

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I don't want to nitpick on this one point, but I'm not certain how I could be wrong here. Having a child means there is a financial cost, guaranteed. You must feed it and maintain it at the very least. There is a guaranteed financial cost.

There is a guaranteed emotional cost, heartbreak, no matter what. They will make a wrong decision, large or small, at some point in their life. Even good parents, great parents, can have children that turn out to be much less than their potential. That alone would be a bitter outcome. Good parenting does not necessarily turn out good children. At the very brute level, perhaps the child is injured in some way, or even killed. I cannot imagine a greater heartbreak.

It is for this that I claim there is a guaranteed cost and an uncertain pleasure. You may be right that as a parent you know how much more pleasure you receive, a multiplier, and know that the costs are eclipsed.

You should see what it's like watching your own child collapse into autism. To see a happy, healthy toddler go nuts is about as bad as anything I can imagine. What did my wife and I do? - worked like crazy to heal my son and then had another child. Go figure. FWIW, I am more motivated now to work hard, make money and generally kick ass. Having kids has made me more driven. I'm a better producer now. I am sharper and more focused.

In the case of my son, it was heartbreaking. I had waited a long time to have children and was very eager and ready to teach a young man some of the things I had learned through hard knocks. I was primed to create the next Rearden (don't think I was qualified to create a Galt). Then, we were stymied by a serious developmental disorder. To see all of these parents who do meth and feed their kids twinkies for dinner be given the gift of a healthy child yet squander could say I was a little angry. And, in the case of my son, the family name lives or dies with him. It could have died with me, chasing women on a tropical beach somewhere like my grandfather, or it could die in an institution with my son. As it sits now, it looks like he may go on to live a pretty normal life.

To me, children are amazing. Many times I have observed that the most slothful, slobbiest, uneducated dolts have children who, at the age of 3, are sharp-witted, kind, and honest. I remember hearing in the church when I was kid that we are born sinners. Man, what a load of malarky.

You are your wife must be very strong people, Abaco. I can't even imagine. You sound like the kind of parents who think, really and truly think, about who you are raising.

When you look, brilliance that can come from anywhere. Beethoven often comes to mind for me.

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When I was younger I didn't appreciate the value of kids and was convinced I didn't want any. I changed my mind after spending time with friends who had kids of their own. I got to see directly the joy the parents experienced as well as enjoy the company of the kids myself. I suggest doing the same thing to see if that is something worth investing in yourself - financially and emotionally. I don't think it is for everyone, so take a good look at it. What I get from what you wrote is a desire to clarify the value side, and this is where it would likely help to spend time with kids and their parents.

Along the lines of what others wrote, raising kids is an investment and a potential value. Any investment means foregoing other uses for one's resources (time, money, energy). This is where the cost you mentioned factors in. Yes, there is a definite cost to raising kids -- but that's true of investments as such. The fact that there are costs associated with raising kids does not negate the value.

What else will you do with your time? Spend and extra 20 hours/week on your career? Take up a hobby? Travel? Retire early? These are all possible uses for your time and money. Having kids means giving up some measure of flexibility in your schedule, because their activities require priority. So maybe you give up a spontaneous trip to happy hour with co-workers, in order to help Johnny with his multiplication tables, or nurse Susie through a cold, or take the family out bowling.

So a deeper issue is consciously, explicitly identifying your value hierarchy. Where there are grey areas, spend time investigating which values are higher than others.

What I see from raising kids is the potential of creating a close personal relationship with another person that lasts throughout your life. You get to see and participate in the development of a person, from birth through adulthood. You get to see the joy of discovery of the world in a young pair of eyes.

Re: the happiness survey mentioned earlier: I don't think this is necessarily applicable to everyone. What average parents do with and get from their kids has little bearing on what one may get. What one gets from values depends on the valuer, his purpose, and his methods. One can't say "kids are always values" because of this; one has to ask: to whom? for what? So, for the parents surveyed: why did their happiness go up after the kids left? How were the kids raised? Were the parents themselves to blame for their own unhappiness? Were the parents to blame for making the kids miserable, and the kids were happy to leave home? I'm sure that's true of at least some of the people surveyed. So, I'd ignore the results without knowing more.

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