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How a Civilization Kills Itself, One Generation at a Time

On Monday our whole family went to Costco. We have nine kids under the age of twelve so there is almost a 100% chance that someone we don't know will make a comment.

We stopped for lunch at the Costco food court and ordered pizza (about the best you can buy). Sitting at the table behind us was an elderly man and his daughter. He asked if all of the kids were ours and said that we didn't have his grandparents beat.

His grandparents had twenty two children and lost four from disease. His parents had thirteen children and lost three to diphtheria. His dad was born in 1901 and only completed third grade.

This man had spent four years in the air force and had grown up during the depression with his nine siblings. He said that people today have no idea how tough things used to be. He then said that he had only had one child – he didn't think he was educated enough to have any more. He also said that his brother had only had one child. After mentioning his father's third grade education, thirteen children and growing up in the depression I was amazed at the contradictions in this man's life that he couldn't even see.

The problem is that his attitude about having children, in times far better than his ancestors, is the attitude of despair. Unfortunately, this attitude is shared by a majority of the population that doesn't see the future as anything to bring life into. It's generational suicide that only the hope in something beyond ourselves can cure.


  1. Please let me know when the The Parish Book of Chant is available. Thank you.

  2. belinda roccaforte

    Couldn’t agree more. Today we think about the reasons not to have children rather than all of the benefits. At my age, 50, it’s significant that my two children will be responsible to care for my husband and myself, and two sets of aunts and uncles who have no children. I pray they are up for the task. My only real regret in life is that I did not have more children. That was by choice in my youth and inability in my middle age. I came to late to this understanding for myself. Thankfully God through his church (theology of the body and life) will save my children from the same wrong thinking I succombed to.

  3. What an excellent article, Ian. My grandmother and grandfather were both from families of thirteen children or more. Then, with my mother’s generation it went down to three. My mother had two….

    God bless you for loving so many of God’s angels…we are only stewards, after all. You have found favor with God.

  4. It was either the “soon-to-be-declared Blessed” Pope John Paul II or our current Holy Father who said: “Deny your children everything — but siblings.” I always wanted to have a big family. 🙂 God bless you & your little ones!

  5. We have 11 children and now 35 grandchildren and ,so far, 2 great-grandchildren. When our children were in public school, all but our youngest who went 12 years to a traditional Catholic school at our church, teachers always made comments about our large family in spite of the fact that they were well behaved, polite, smart, clean and we never took a handout from any government agency. Now the schools are singing a different tune because the enrollment is WAY down, parents are limiting their children to two, if any and I almost feel like the jokes on them. They have talked themselves out of jobs. Our grandchildren all go to traditional Catholic schools and the Catholic faith shall persevere, in spite of the public schools.Parents should be encouraged to have more children and live as the church has always taught from scripture,”multiply, and fill the earth”. It doesn’t say to limit your family in the year 2011. God will bless you, if we only obey His words.

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