There’s a small local bookstore in my neighborhood. I like books. I like supporting the town. So I shop at this bookstore.
The books are used. Sometimes I have to settle for Olivia Saves the Circus instead of the original Olivia, but they’re both cute, they cost less than three dollars and I’m giving my money to members of my community, rather than some faceless chain store.
Once when I was looking at books and Magoo went on a crazy 2-year-old rampage, one of the store owners brought over some toys and played with him until I was ready to check out.
They have an unlisted phone number and no computer. They take cash or checks only. They keep an index card listing of the books you’d like to purchase so that if a copy comes in, they can give you a call. The store smells like my grandma’s basement, not really in a good way. I love this bookstore.
Then a couple of days ago a friend who recently moved to the area said, “I know you like that bookstore but I just don’t feel comfortable going in there with my 3 kids. They have a big bumper sticker right on the door that says ”˜Reproductive Responsibility — 2 is Enough!’”
I was dumbstruck. Nah! She must be mistaken. I’ve been in there tons of times and I’ve never seen that. She was pretty sure she’d seen it. So I took a peek the next time I was driving by. Sure enough, right at eye level, just above the OPEN sign is a good sized sign proclaiming that I should stop having children to save the planet.
I came home really upset. What right do they have to tell me how many kids I should have? Who are they to judge the reproductive choices of everyone on the planet? I was offended and I told Dan that I simply wouldn’t shop there anymore.
As usual, he remained calm despite my 28-year-old rampage and waited for me to join him in his happy place. Then he said something about how we choose not to live in a cave somewhere because we want to be part of a community and learn to get along with people who think and believe differently than we do. The owners of the bookstore are kind people and they’re our neighbors.
So now I’d at least like to talk to them about the sign. But what do I say?
First I want to ask them to explain their position. Then I want to explain mine.
I have the right to choose how many children my family can love, nurture and provide for. I have a religious belief that God created the earth with resources enough and to spare and that having and lovingly raising children is a spiritually fulfilling and earth-building endeavor. If we’re running out of resources, then we should be wiser about how we use them, not be controlling how many of us get to use them. If all the caring and educated people in the world start limiting their offspring in order to save the planet, won’t the very people who are the least well-equipped to care for and teach children become the ones who are having the most of them?
I feel like I need to say something if I’m gonna keep shopping there, especially if we decide to have another baby. Putting my personal feelings and religious beliefs aside, I just don’t think it’s their right to judge anyone else for their decision. I also don’t think it’s appropriate to place a sign like that prominently at the entry to your place of business.
I’ve never heard that “only 2” was a movement. I’m actually offended just hearing about it. It’s very odd that a local business would put that out there and so prominently displayed. I agree with your hubby that we do live in a community and we won’t always all have the same views. But I also feel that just as they have freedom of speech to share their opinions with us, I have freedom of speech too. And mine would be to no longer shop there.
I think you should talk to them about it, if you can do some calmly. As for it being inappropriate… well… that’s the perk of being a small business. You can speak your mind because there’s no corporate office regulating you.
Now I’m going to make myself very unpopular: I (sort of) understand the sentiment, although I absolutely agree that their bumper sticker feels very judgy and in-your-face. And you know that I have MANY friends who have more than two kids, and I am going to jump up and down and squeal when you have your next one; but on the other hand, I do wish that more people who want to have big families would consider adoption. That said, I would never announce to the world that two’s the limit, because it’s neither my choice nor my business… but I guess I’m saying I don’t see it as a completely heinous way to feel, it’s just heinous to display it that way.
Gonna go spend some time extracting my foot from my mouth, now.
JP's Mom says
As a small business owner, although we do have computers and take credit cards 🙂 , I welcome the concerns of my customers.
We currently have a “bumper sticker” on our door saying :
Pop told me to shoot every third salesman…the second one just left. Pictured is a little hillbilly boy with a shot gun.
Now that silly little sign has hung there for almost 15 years and while times have changed, oddly enough it receives the same chuckle each day. It does not; however, get read by every patron. In fact very few people actually read the signs on our door, so it is possible that the “reproductivity sign” has just been overlooked by most customers and the distaste has not been brought to the attention of the owners.
Bring it to their attention, if they value their customers, they will respect your opinion and take action.
I can understand your feelings toward the sign and I agree that you should have a chat with the owners about your feelings. If they don’t take it down, or get defensive about it, simply tell them that you can’t, in good concious, shop there anymore. If they’re the kind of owners that they seem to be, it’s very possible that they’ll remove it immediately. If not, then, well – you know.
OK. I agree with what you said about limiting familes. The ones most capable of taking care of children and raising them to be good, responsible citizens of the world often do not have large families. I don’t think the sign was directed at the capable.
It’s like at the beginning of Idiocracy. There are 2 couples: one educated, one trailer-trash (these characters were supposed to be stereotypes). The educated couple decided to wait. By the time they were ready, events kepy happening to prevent procreation. The trailer trash man had like 20 kids with 5 wives. And because the educated couple never had children, the earth’s population because alarmingly stupid.
So, I say that if you’re smart, procreate. If you’re not, keep your clothes on (for the love of God!)
I am with you on this one..as a mom of four, it does offend me as well. I do believe, that as a family, it is the right of the parents to determine how many childrend they can comfortably take care of. If you provide for your children, work hard to raise them, depending on no one else to do it for you….then I think it is your God given right to decide if you want one child or six….
If they had access to a television during the 70s, they would know that EIGHT Is Enough.
Personally, I think one might be enough. For me. But I’m not sure yet.
And some people I know probably shouldn’t have had any kids. But I wasn’t consulted beforehand.
Rocks in my Dryer says
You might ask them where they stand on abortion. (Because, you know, that’s always such a warm and fuzzy conversation opener). If they respect a woman’s “reproductive choice” in that area, I’d think they would respect it in every area, including how many kids to have.
Anyway, remind them that the more children you have, the higher the odds that one of the little punks will grow up to be a liberal. 😉
I recently read an article to this effect based on some scientist’s opinion that since we as humans are causing global warming, then if we have more than 1 or 2 children, the earth will be destroyed……and quick. I was dumb enough after reading that to read the comments posted about the article. It was amazing. It may have represented only a small, vocal, minority, but they were a obnoxious and offensive one. Everything from how we should adopt a policy similar to China’s (what? really, how much good has it done there?), to forced sterilization, to how anyone who wants more than 1 or 2 is selfish, narcisisstic, and/or can’t control their raging hormones for the good of everyone else was posted. I was feeling much like how you described feeling. I don’t think my decision to have a large family is any of anyone’s business, though I get comments all the time. I want them, I take care of them, I try my best to teach them right and wrong, etc. And vanity, selfishness, and lack of self-control has nothing to do with it.
I know this subject comes up every so often (with different motivation) and gains some popularity, but it still amazes me that people buy into it. And that it may give them enough motivation to get into other peoples’ business about it in an effort to “save the planet”.
I would agree that you either stop shopping there, or talk to them about it. I think the sticker is pretty inappropriate (to say the least) at a place of business.
I think I’d write a letter. I wouldn’t trust myself to be coherent and rational handling this in person. I’d get angry and start making judgments and then the babbling like an idiot would start, it’s never pretty.
But in a letter I can take time to compose it. I can be forthright with my opinions, but still respectful of others. I can get my husband to look it over and make sure it says what I think it says. I can reword and rework it.
But after all that if the sign was still there, I’d shop somewhere else. I’m sure you can find another private bookstore somewhere if you’re willing to search for one.
I wonder if its their way of saying only 2 kids in the store at a time? Alot of smaller stores do that. Maybe not. If it is, then that’s the WRONG sign to use!
Amy @ Experience Imagination says
I’ve never heard that this idea was any sort of organized movement, but I have heard of it before. The problem is, demographically, it doesn’t make any sense. To sustain a population, the “average” couple needs to have 2.1 children. In real-life terms, that means for every nine couples who have two kids, a tenth needs to have three.
Presumably, the philosophy of the people who made or display the sticker is that there are too many people on the planet right now, so we need to cut down the population. This is really only a short term solution, though, because as some point, you need to have enough people continuing to reproduce or the entire population slowly dies out.
Currently, many nations in northern Europe are reproducing at below replacement rate (the 2.1 figure above). I believe the US is just at 2.1 or just below it. Actual population numbers in this country may be increasing based on immigration, but we’re not making any more babies than we need, demographically.
Lois E. Lane says
I was just getting ready to type what Rocks in my Dryer already said — excellent point!
I’m going to have to go out on a limb here and say that, although you have a valid point (as substantiated by all the other commenters), the kind of people who have this opinion and post a sign about it at their STORE are probably not the kind of people who will change their mind based on your excellent arguments, no matter how well-framed they might be. I shop in a lot of stores with signs that say things like “meat is murder” and “hemp is hope” and other crazy stuff that I really don’t agree with and implies judgment of me for my way of living. But I’m with Dan in that I think this is a part of living in society. Everyone believes their own thing and we try to get along despite it. And the sad fact is that MOST people believe something that infringes on what I see as my personal rights. You could say something and try to change their mind, and then take your business elsewhere when they refuse to see your point of view. OR you could bring in your 3rd child when you have it, continue to be an excellent customer, and try to ever-so-subtly start to sway their thinking just by the very KNOWING of you. You know, that old saying that who you are and how you live speaks VOLUMES more than anything you could say. Ok now I really must shut up since I’ve gone on and on and on… 🙂
My older sister and her husband subscribed to this point of view. They only wanted to have two children, one child to replace each of them. However, she has never tried to force that point of view on the rest of us. If my parents had subscribed to that she would be out four siblings. I think everyone has a right to decide for themselves and I would probably not shop that store anymore. Of course, I am a bit hot headed.
The Daring One says
Chupie – It’s been around for a long time. I actually thought it had died out. In this age of CHOICE FOR EVERYONE, I really thought this kind of thing would be considered too repressive at the very least.
Mir – You know I just posted about this to bate you into commenting on my site? Nice to hear from you after so long! From my description, it’s obvious that the store doesn’t much care about conventional “appropriateness” and that’s part of what I like about them. I see your point about adoption because there are so many kids already that need good homes. There just seems to be a huge disconnect between wanting to adopt and actually being able to adopt a child. From the expense of the adoption process to the huge waiting lists at most traditional adoption agencies to the struggles of integrating an adopted child into a home, it seems a lot more complicated than just deciding to take care of a child who needs you.
I agree with you that they have the right to think whatever they want. It’s the bold display of those beliefs that bothers me. If they had a sign up that said, “Love Someone Who Needs You -We Support Adoption” that would be great. It’s the difference between “Abortion is Evil” and “All Life is Precious.” I think we many people could get behind the idea that adoption is a good thing and that all life is precious, both positive messages that mean different things to different people.
It’s the judgment and exclusion evident in the sign that really get to me. “If you have more than 2 kids, you’re irresponsible and (jumping to a conclusion) not welcome in this store.” What if I had 4 kids and 3 of them were adopted? I’d still feel uncomfortable shopping there with all of them, unless I’d had a chance to justify my family makeup to the store owners, something I should never have to do.
JP – I find that shop highly offensive in an internet drama sort of way and will henceforth never frequent your place of business. I agree that as a business owner, I’d want to know. And they really do seem like wonderful people.
Ree – I think a lot of it depends on their reaction. If they explain their sincere feelings in a kind way, even if they feel it’s important to keep the sign up, I don’t think I’d have a problem continuing to shop there. I know I shop at many places owned by people who have vastly different views and beliefs from my own (though not so publicly displayed) and I can respect their right to express themselves as long as they respect my right to make choices for my family.
Lori – Hmmm…. I wonder what category we’d fall into….
DixieChick – or 14… Personally I salute any parents who are raising great kids, no matter how many they have. Some of the best kids I know come from really large families and I agree, if the parents are amazing enough to produce great kids in this crazy world, let them have as many as they can handle.
Surcie – How dare they not consult you!? You should get a sign.
Rocks – The abortion argument is actually something I had thought of. If people support the right to terminate life, I would think they’d support the right to create it as well.
Jessica – I remember my mom being judged for her lack of self control as she worked to raise her 5 kids. It still doesn’t make sense to me. Do people really believe the woman raising 5 sweet kids is the one with no self control? And her kids are sweet. Just look at me!
Sketchy – The letter idea is a great one. At the very least it would help me organize my thoughts before going in to talk to them.
Sherry – Very funny. When I have more, I’ll just leave the rest of them in the car. I’m SURE no one would judge me for that decision.
I don’t know how I would bring it up. I have never shopped there, so I don’t feel any “loyalty” you know?
Like I have said before, without babies, who will take care of us when we are old?
The Daring One says
Amy – Those numbers are fascinating! Thanks!
Lois – She’s a sharp one, eh?
Bananas – I love you, you know? You’re such a cool lady. I love that you associate with me, even though my love of Hockey is so offensive to you. I’m not really thinking of changing their mind. I just want them to consider that someone, one of their customers, me specifically, doesn’t agree with them and finds their bold declaration offensive. I will say it nicely and I hope that they will explain their position in a way that helps me understand them better. Yeah. I’m pretty sure we’re both gonna hang on to our own opinions.
Heffalump – But it smells like a grandma’s basement… I’m sure you couldn’t resist that!
Stephanie – Um… Kay. Who would want a BABY taking care of them when they’re old? That’s just plain weird.
you like hockey?
I had a dentist ask me how many kids we had. I told him 3 and he went on a huge tirade about overpopulating the earth and why people can’t be more responsible and more in control of themselves and stop at two. I told him we loved our 3 and wouldn’t have it any other way. I would have said more, but he was about to perform a root canal in my mouth. Didn’t think it was wise to upset him even more at the moment. You’ll have to let us know if you do ask them about it. I’m curious…
hmm. First off know that I share your philosophy on bearing/raising children.
At the same time, sometimes I get so fed up with the whole “PC” thing to keep from hurting peoples feelings. We don’t use conventional grading systems because some kids will feel bad for not succeeding. We give all sports teams trophy’s- they are all winners. I support the idea that we should try and be sensitive to other peoples feelings, but at the same time we can’t pretend that everyone is going to agree and get along on every subject. By now you are starting to wonder how I am going to tie this in aren’t you?…here I go.
The bookstore owners obviously have an opinion that is contrary to yours. That happens. The world is full of people who will disagree with you. It is their store, they can advertise any point of view they want even if it means alienating potential customers. I am sure they are aware that the sign is offensive to some of their patrons (they cannot be dumb enough to think that it isn’t alienating). If it really bothers you that much don’t shop there anymore.
I kind of think that addressing them about it would be starting an argument that would serve no purpose. What would you hope to accomplish by talking with them? Do you want them to feel bullied into taking the sign down, you can’t really think that you would be the first person to address this concern with them or share an alternative view. It is their first amendment right to advertise how and what they want in their shop, whether it hurts someones feelings or not.
Put a different spin on it. Think about Deseret Book and the kinds of things they sell and advertise in their store. Imagine how the owners of your bookstore would feel walking in there…do you think they would be offended or put off by some of it? Probably. Perhaps, despite how they feel about the store they just LOVE the Lion House rolls that they sell in the back (they sell them at our store) so they continue to shop there. Should they speak to the store owners about all the references and images of God and Deity all over the store (assuming for arguments sake that they are atheists)?
Anyhoo, that is just my take on the situation. Make sure you share how you choose to handle the situation, I’m very intersted.
I would definitely have a respectful conversation….but DYM…you have to remember where you live (and I can say this because I grew up in the same area). There are a lot of people in the NW with these kinds of views and it is a hotbed for liberal thought. Some of these people might be just as offended by an LDS sticker on your minivan…doesn’t really make sense but they might. My experience is that ongoing open conversations are the key…you aren’t going to change any minds, but will at least come to a better understanding. It would be a real shame for you to stop going to your favorite bookstore (and stop supporting a locally owned business) over a bumper sticker that is probably 30 years old.
The Wiz says
Clearly, you should sneak over at night and put a bumper sticker over that one. I think you should pick one that says “Commies aren’t cool.” That should get them to scratch their heads.
Or you could find an old one that says “Nixon now more than ever.” As far as I know, Nixon had no strong feelings on family size, but he was certainly a controversial figure.
Or maybe you could get one that says “We don’t need no education” and paste Pink Floyd posters all over the store.
Or there’s always the go live in a cave option. But I’m not sure you’d have internet there.
This kind of argument always reminds me of the Nazis a little bit, which is weird, because Nazis were really far right and these people consider themselves really far left. But seriously, it just smacks of eugenics to me.
This is my first time commenting, and I’ve been sitting here staring at the photo, trying to think of how you and other commenters could have gotten into such a stink about it. The sign is not advocating some sort of “law” limiting your “right” to have as many children as you want. It is a simple statement reminding us that over-population has a great deal to do with many of the problems in the world. However, I am not speaking for them since I don’t know about any group or organization promoting population control.
Part of your comments are breathtaking in their myopia and arrogance. You said if resources are limited we should use them wisely. Really? You mentioned in a recent post about how you are always coming and going and your neighbor only sees you when you’re getting in your car. So the burning up of fossil fuels (a very limited resource no matter how “wisely” used) qualifies as using resources wisely? Maybe you could include all the ways in which you use resources wisely. Or maybe you just meant other people should use them wisely, like people in far away countries.
Your other comment, “if all the caring and educated people in the world start limiting their offspring in order to save the planet, won’t the very people who are the least well-equipped to care for and teach children become the ones who are having the most of them?” “Caring and educated people”. Hmm, could you define that please? Because if you’re just talking about people with a college degree there’s a problem. Most of the population of the planet are un- or under-educated. The vast majority of the population of the U.S. are not college educated. You and all your college educated friends better get plenty busy, eh?! By your statement, too, you can only be a good, “caring” parent if you’re educated, right? That’s going to come as quite a surprise to a whole bunch of people living (and dead) who have been wonderful leaders, writers, artists, social activists (and ordinary people), etc., who had parents, a parent or no parents, who were not “educated”. In the same vein, would you please define “well-equipped to care for and teach children”? This statement is such a slippery slope that I don’t even know where to begin commenting on it.
My thoughts about the bookstore owner is that the decision to post that sort of statement on your place of business does not strike me as being particularly well thought out since I would think you wouldn’t want to alienate potential customers. That said, it’s not any kind of call to action, nor is it an insult. It’s simply a statement that is asking people to think about such an important decision and what impact that decision has on the rest of the world. Because it does have an impact.
Finally, before you decide I have some sort of agenda or axe to grind, I do not. My husband and I are in our late 40s with a three year old son (my husband has two adult children from a previous marriage). We would have happily had at least another child if it weren’t for my age. Plus we are both college educated (husband with two degrees).
I feel crazy after reading all these comments… but I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. They have a different opinion than you. If they had a Obama 08 sticker on their window and you were Republican would you stop shopping there? I doubt they would be crass enough to bring it to you face if you did walk in with three kids. So they are quietly judging you. Aren’t we all?
Slightly off-topic, but perhaps relevant. Most people haven’t fooled with the numbers to figure out how many people there really are in the world. I mean, “billion” is a really big number, not something we’re familiar with. Here’s an exercise I like to do to get calibrated:
Take all of the people in the world and organize them into households of 4 people each. Finished yet? Okay, I’ll wait…
Right, that would be two parents and two children per household, but that’s just a coincidence. Consolidate all these households into a large subdivision so that the average lot size, including streets, is 1/4 acre. That’s a cramped size for some people, a generous size for others – it depends on your current situation.
How large is the subdivision?
The answer sounds big, in acres: a little less than 420 million acres. It converts to about 650 thousand square miles. So, how big is that? It’s the combined size of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. That leaves 43 other states, plus the rest of the world, empty.
Now I’m not proposing we move everyone to the north-central United States, or that we should bunch up that much. It’s just an exercise to help calibrate our minds as to how many people there are on the planet relative to the size of the planet, the point being that we tend to vastly underestimate the size of the planet and/or overestimate the number of people on it.
Resouces is a different topic. Generally speaking, the known reserves of everything have gone up during our lifetime, not down. So I don’t worry so much about that, either.
If I could get to an overall “happy place” mentality with it… I would probably really enjoy walking in there with two kids in tow and a HUGELY protruding babytummy, read the bumpersticker out loud and then laugh my head off.
No one wants to fight with a laughing pregnant woman, so just wait a bit, your time will come.
come ta think of it… no one wants to fight with a pregnant woman in ANY emotional state!
Karen @ Simply A Musing Blog says
While I don’t think it was a wise business decision for the book store owners to put that bumper sticker on their door, I do believe they are entitled to their opinion. If I want to put a bumper sticker on my door that says, for instance, which political party I am aligned with, I should be ready for those of the opposite political views to be offended, want to discuss it with me, and even possibly stop shopping with me.
I’d discuss it with them, and try to use the Bible as my basis, whether they are believers or not.
I read a Dr.’s view on population control a few years back and he basically said that in Creation, God gave mankind abundant natural resources to provide for the needs of a planet “filled” with people. In addition, He has given mankind an ingenious mind that is capable of utilizing those resources, provided man is willing and is free to pursue such development.
The whole idea of overpopulation is hogwash, if you will. The answer really has to do with short-term vs. long-term costs, apparent consensus of expert judgment, population as a cause of pollution, judgments about people’s rational use of resources, one-sided news media exposure, and hidden agendas that include increasing government control and an elite power structure.
He stated, “Population statistics indicate that 2.2 children per married couple is necessary to maintain population at current levels. Thus, the logical conclusion is that couples who are able to have children should be “fruitful” with 3 or more to continue to “multiply” within God’s Creation Mandate. This number should also be adequate statistically to fill the void of those who are physically unable to bear children.
These children will themselves become the resources to feed themselves and others. As long ago as the 18th century, Adam Smith recognized the surest sign of a healthy economic order was continuted population growth. As children “multiply,” their needs of children (food, shelter, clothing) increase, and economic expansion occurs. (This reality is certainly a message to the United States in the 1990’s with its abortion rate and stagnant economy.)
In addition, an expanding number of children are necessary to provide for the needs of their parents. In the United States, an inordinate burden is being placed upon productive workers because the abortion of one in three pregnancies for 18 years has greatly limited present and future workers.
Population growth creates new economic opportunities and markets. Such growth expands markets, making investments more attractive by reducing risks and increasing total demand for goods and services. Larger numbers of people lead to proportional economies that make large public investments such as highways, bridges, railroads, irrigation systems, and ports less expensive on a per-person basis.
Finally, we must believe God. Every mention of the bearing of children is described in positive terms (e.g., Psalms 127:3-5). This Biblical affirmation of children coupled with the Creation Mandate provides the authority to override any scientific objections to population control. And, God never limited or abrogated that affirmation or mandate. However, the greater scientific evidence points to more-than-sufficient resources to meet a growing population. And likely, God will either terminate history before actual overpopulation occurs, or He will continue to give man the ingenuity to stay ahead of population needs until His second coming.”
Sorry this is so long, but I found his article and wanted to include some of it for you. I thought it might be helpful. Maybe I should have emailed it…lol.
The Daring One says
Bananas – JENNYYY!!!!! I will miss you so.
Melissa – Do you still go to that dentist? The only thing I want my dentist to advise me on is tooth and gum care.
Apples – Great points! I hope everyone goes back and reads your comment. The only thing I would counter is that a religious bookstore is obviously catering to a certain crowd. By entering a religious bookstore, you can expect to be confronted with propaganda such as “Stand for Something” and if that kind of message offended you, you wouldn’t go to a religious bookstore unless you were looking to pick a fight. To me, the sign seems out of place because it is not any kind of specialty bookstore. You go there looking for Dr Seuss and end up being told what is an acceptable number of children to have as you walk in the door.
Jen – Thanks. I think it would be a shame too and honestly I always thought of myself as somewhat liberal until I came here. I’m certainly not a card-carrying republican.
The Wiz – You made me laugh. I’ve honestly never been a fan of “issues” bumper stickers. I think you can get a lot more accomplished in the way of gentle persuasion and increased understanding by having actual conversations with people and learning about them and all their complexities.
Gwen – I’m sorry that the first time I wrote something compelling enough to make you comment I was being myopic and arrogant. Yes, I have mentioned driving a car on this blog. It’s true. I do drive a car, a car that runs on fossil fuels. It’s not even a hybrid. I use toilet paper and more than the number of squares suggested by Cheryl Crow. I even have electric lights in my house. I’m actually using electricity right now to type this message on my computer. If doing these things negates any other efforts I may be making to be responsible with resources, then you’re right, I am a hypocrite.
I would never define “educated” as having a college degree. I’m talking about people who are educated enough to read that kind of propaganda, to know how to obtain and use contraceptives and to know that there’s anything they can do to be responsible and care for the earth. There are all kinds of ways to be educated.
Also, I would never equate “caring” with “educated”. If that were the case, I could have just written “educated” because “caring” and “educated” would have been redundant. There are educated people who don’t care about doing what’s right and there are caring people who have not been blessed with any kind of education, formal or otherwise.
By well-equipped, I meant financially, emotionally, and mentally. And you’re right, it’s dangerous to throw things like that around because everyone’s definition of “equipped” is likely different. I should not be the one to judge who is equipped to take care of a certain number of children. I think the parents are the ones who should make that decision.
Melanie – You’re not crazy. You have an opinion and that’s great. If I didn’t want to hear other opinions, I wouldn’t post this kind of thing on the internet. I’d write it in my journal and discuss it only with people I felt sure would agree with me.
I appreciate you being honest and sharing how you feel.
A sticker for a political campaign I don’t agree with would not offend me because saying you support Giuliani is not telling me outright how many children you think is acceptable for me to have. I do think we’re all quietly judging each other and I think it’s sad. I guess in a case like this, ignorance is bliss. Maybe I’m just someone who doesn’t want to have the ways people are judging me printed on a sign as I walk through the door.
The Daring One says
Pops – I wish I was more informed about all this stuff. I’m obviously not “educated” enough on this topic.
Bon – You’ve given me a very entertaining mental image. Thanks.
The Wiz says
Population control has created massive problems in China and Europe. Japan is asking its citizens to have more babies. Germany will pay you, and yet people still aren’t having more. Population control is not the answer it’s cracked up to be.
Environmental issues cannot exist outside of economic issues, much as people would want them to. The reverse is also true. Pretty much all issues are interdependent. You cannot repeal the law of supply and demand.
As to resources, well, people figure out how to live, even when the amount of resources changes. We’re smart that way. We adapt. If no cars could work, we would still survive, even though that would bug me immensely.:)
You can still shop at that store, though. You know, if you want. Ask if they have Skating Shoes by Noel Streatfield. If they do, please buy it and send it to me. I’ll pay you for it. Thank you.
Julie P says
Wow. Big food for thought. Sharing your feelings sounds like a good idea, in a respectful way. I would totally ask “if I have a 3rd child, I don’t know if I would feel welcome here anymore. How do you see that situation?” Since they seem like good people, I’m sure they’ll listen to you, and respectfully agree to disagree, which they’re allowed to. I think that continuing to shop there would show a respect for that agreement, does that make sense? If I had a small business, with a “Families Are Forever” bumper sticker, and a “non-traditional” family objected to that because of my belief that ‘traditional families’ are forever…I wouldn’t take my bumper sticker down. I’d listen to them, thank them for caring enough to talk to me about it, explain my position back, and ask them to keep shopping and continue the friendship/relationship that already existed.
I haven’t read all the comments, but just for the sake of some perspective, this movement has been underway for more than a 100 years. There were even papers written on the position 200 years ago. The idea is nothing new, has never gained steam, and we have not run out of resources. In fact, you could say that we are making better use of our current resources than ever before.
We need to be better stewards of the earth, for sure, but the idea of limiting children to safe resources is nothing new and is just as silly as trying to burn up all our resources because we don’t care.
I think it’s a silly position, because honestly people, I’m having children to pay your social security (you’re welcome.)
You just tell them that since I didn’t have any, you’re making up for the shortage.
I only got here from a link on another site I read regularly, and I only want to say this: apparently, you will have to make a choice. You can protest this belief that the people who run this bookstore have and start shopping at big box retailers, or you can continue to support a local business and swallow your ire (whether or not it is justified is another story).
I guess it depends on how strongly you feel about one issue or another. Me? I’m sticking with local business every day of the week and twice on Sunday, unless the personal belief I’m protesting is so unethical I can’t stand it. I guess it’s a matter of priority.
As has been mentioned above, underpopulation rather than overpopulation is a problem in some countries.
In the US, the replacement rate (births v. deaths) is actually very good. Our country is really not in danger of overpopulation. So the position of “2 kids only!” seems rather silly to me, in context.
I figure if you care about overpopulation, the best thing to do is work on making birth control more accessible.
It’s easy for you to make that comment when you live in a capitalist society that draws most of its resource from poorer countries. Try thinking about the poor, starving countries for a change. Yes, you may be comfortable, but the rest of the world is not.
I’m going to voice the unpopular opinion. Just as you are free to have your own opinion of the sign and it’s value judgment, the store owners are free to hold those opinions. They might be as offended by folks that have more than two kids as you are at their sign. That doesn’t make either of you right (or wrong for that matter.) It’s their store and there is nothing forcing you to shop there. For the same reasons you don’t shop at a chain store for your books you can choose not to shop at their store. I don’t understand why you feel you have to say something about their sign. Do you tell every driver of a car with a bumper sticker you don’t agree with that they are offending you and they should remove their bumper sticker? I happen to be a strong advocate of breastfeeding, but I wouldn’t dare to walk up to a bottle-feeding mom (whether it be formula or breastmilk in that bottle) and tell her that I don’t agree with her choice, just because I don’t hold those same values. Nor would I tell someone who was wearing a cross on their necklace that I think what they believe in is a bunch of hooey (which I do happen to believe) because they have just as much right to believe what they want as I do. I find proselytizing very offensive, but I’m still polite when someone knocks on my door to share their information. It doesn’t make my life better, their life better or the world in general better. If I don’t like having others impose their opinions on me, I ought not to impose my opinions on them.
I think the last time I ever thought about this movement in high school when I was forced to participate in a substandard production of “Saturday’s Warrior” (Zero Population is the answer, my friend. Without it, the rest of us are doomed).
Having kids is an extremely personal decision. So is freedom of speech.
Both come at a cost.
It’s kind of like the Dixi Chicks…I felt they had every right to express their views. I also felt that they (And those who support them) had zero right to be upset that people who were offended stopped buying their music and playing it.
So…I think they have a right to voice their opinions. I also think that you have the right to never give them another dime of your money.
“Hi, I’ve been shopping here for a while, and I just noticed you have a bumper sticker in your window that says ‘Reproduce Responsibly — 2 is Enough.’ I don’t want to get into a political debate about it, or start quoting fertility statistics, but I just wanted to tell you that sticker makes me feel unwelcome. My friend with three kids told me she doesn’t feel like she can shop here anymore, and she feels pretty sad about it. I don’t want to go that far, but maybe you could reconsider whether you really mean to say that couples with more than two children are being irresponsible.”
Nonconfrontational. Nonthreating. Friendly.
Now, I tend to think that it’s probably not ideal for the country’s population to grow as quickly as it is (due, actually, to immigration), but, since right now we have almost exactly a replacement fetility rate, with some people having more children, some less, if everyone truly were limited to ONLY two children, then, given the fact that there wouldn’t be any thee or more kid families to balance out the childless or only-child families, we would see a population decline.
I think it would be great if you said something.
If I have an opinion and don’t want to discuss it I don’t bring it up. When I don’t mind discussing it I do bring it up. I don’t see why it should be any different for this bookstore. They posted it where anyone could see it. Don’t make an opinion public if you never want to talk about it.
I think it totally depends upon how deeply you feel about this issue. Me, I would take offense to that one, and there are a few other hot button items that would make me steer clear of a business if they put a sign about it on their door.
But, you really enjoy the store and the owners, so a talk might be in order (even if it is uncomfortable). People don’t have to share all the same values and opinions to get along, and maybe they did not realize how offensive this sign would be . . .or maybe they just have a sick sense of humor! You won’t ever know if you don’t take that chance to find out.
Good luck! 🙂
Sheesh. I don’t know why this is such a big deal. Jonathan Swift solved this problem back in 1729. (see: “A Modest Proposal”)
I do think,though, that there is a crucial difference between being offended at someone’s bumper sticker (read: overreacting, generally) and being worried that the store you are patronizing may not welcome you for following your beliefs. I don’t know if I would talk to them about it myself, though: I don’t generally like telling people that they shouldn’t express or practice their beliefs.
I guess that’s the basic reason why I find this particular sign in this particular situation to be offensive: the expression seems to be a little too close to them saying you shouldn’t practice your beliefs, and there could be an implication there that those who don’t follow this belief might not be welcome. (With someone’s car it’s a bit different; they don’t intend to have random people come take it for a spin. A store wants people to come in, so a sign that makes some feel unwelcome feels a bit more personal than a simple bumper sticker.) But I think I’d probably let them get on with it and just go someplace else. No reason to start an argument. (That’s just me, though. I think it’s a personal choice everyone has to make for themselves and most responses, short of drastic measures like burning the store down — less effective; I don’t recommend it — are perfectly valid.)
In the case of Melissa’s dentist, though, I have to say that I wouldn’t have let him do the root canal on me after directly attacking my personal beliefs that way. That crosses my line of acceptability. (Ah, the crucial difference between a posted sign and a personal attack.)
Rambled too long. Apologize deeply. Wish luck. (trying to cut down on words to save resources)
As to your question, DYM:
The best response I can think of is a letter. A calmly written, polite letter informing the store owners of your frequent patronage and fondness of their establishment as well as the fact that you have recommended it to friends. You should then express your disappointment with their views and state that, while you regret the decision, you can no longer in good conscience continue to shop at their store or recommend it to friends. You should also express some hope that the bookstore will change its ways so that you can continue to shop there soon, as your two children presently love it and you hope to take your third there as well.
Businesses – especially bookstores – make decisions all the time to limit their customer base. It’s called specialization. If they prefer to market their services to those without children or to those without small businesses, that’s fine. As a Mormon, I haven’t visited an anti-Mormon bookstore in my life, nor should I be expected to – these businesses have clearly limited the scope of their customers to exclude me. Businesses specialize because they believe that specialization will bring them more customers. Sometimes this is accurate – and sometimes it is not. It is fair to warn a business when its specialization has excluded you from its possible group of customers and that you are now, in fact, helping their competitors.
This business has done the same – it has stated an opinion hostile to those who have or who wish to have 2 or more children and you, expressing a different opinion, have withheld your business from it. I see nothing wrong with the bookstore expressing its thoughts and you are absolutely correct to be picky as to where your money goes and whose cause you support with it.
Comparisons of this argument – and yours, DYM – with those against breast feeding, bumper stickers on privately owned vehicles, or personal demonstrations of religious belief are entirely illogical on their face and deserve neither deference nor respect. (Can you tell I just started law school?)
As to the other:
The overpopulation argument is so far beyond stupid that it boggles the mind that it must even be explained.
Consider the following:
1. The biggest health problem facing the U.S. is obesity which is (pardon the pun) growing at an alarming rate – hardly the concern of a country who is facing an imminent population crisis.
2. The U.S. exports massive amounts of food each year, dumping it on the market essentially.
3. Crop yields per acre have consistently gone up, not down, each year.
4. The U.S. population density – hovering around 80/sq. mile in 2000 – is less than half that of the extremely closed European agricultural markets who, somehow, with very little space, manage to live quite well off of what they grow and can successfully import.
Perhaps population control would do good in some countries around the world – Africa and the Middle East in particular. These countries suffer significantly bottom-heavy population distribution pyramids with stagnant economies – in other words, it’s a really bad idea to have tons and tons of kids in a country is going nowhere fast. For the sake of comparison, 20.2% of the population the most powerful economy in the world, the U.S., is made up of those 14 and younger. The 0-14 populations of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Uganda, on the other hand, consist of between 38% (Saudi Arabia) and 50.2% (Uganda) of the total population. THIS is a problem – those are a lot of mouths to feed and few adults to feed them in countries where there are few jobs for people as they grow up (Saudi Arabia has plenty of money – but not much in the line of jobs). On the other hand, many of these countries also depend upon children for subsistence farming – the fewer children they have, the less food they will have as well.
So, long story short, if you don’t like it, let them know and stop doing business there. If they choose to remove the sign and maintain the personal belief the sign expressed then you will have a decision to make as to whether or not you wish to support them. If, however, they choose to keep the sign up, that is their decision. It is your decision to be a customer there or not – no one should make you feel as if you are required to financially support the beliefs of another, particularly when you disagree with them.
The irony of this is that the profits they have received from you in a single visit likely exceed the cost of the bumper sticker. That’s just plain bad business.
“A sticker for a political campaign I don’t agree with would not offend me because saying you support Giuliani is not telling me outright how many children you think is acceptable for me to have. I do think we’re all quietly judging each other and I think it’s sad.”
I think it’s impossible to believe in something “only for yourself.” Every belief implies judgment, in my opinion, and I’m always baffled when someone claims to believe this or that, but also claims not to judge anyone else. Maybe I’m cynical, but I don’t buy the plausibility of a “we should all decide what’s right and moral for ourselves and leave others to the same task!” sort of world. It’s just not that simple, especially since so many actions affect others, not just the person doing the action.
If you litter, I’ll judge you. If you don’t buckle your kid up, I’ll judge you. I make no apologies for that. But it’s not like it means I think you’re an awful person. I just think what you’re doing is wrong. That’s all. What does my disapproval mean in the bigger picture? Well, nothing, really. You can’t please everybody.
Judgment isn’t poison. So what if someone judges you? What then? If you really don’t like it, you can shop somewhere else, and I think that’s absolutely your right … but I have trouble understanding why people get so defensive when someone indirectly says that what they’re doing is wrong (as opposed to actually confronting them about it, which would be weird and pretty inappropriate). What are they really doing to you by judging you? As long as they aren’t trying to pass laws restricting your freedoms, the entire conflict just seems fabricated out of inferred judgment (that person believes everyone should do something, and I’m not doing it, so that person must disapprove of me) and the reaction of defensiveness (I feel judged! Stop judging me! I can feel you looking at me with your JUDGING EYES!).
We all judge each other. Sometimes I wish people could accept that as a natural byproduct of diversity rather than trying to quash it and pretend that we can all agree to disagree without judging one another in the slightest. Who are we kidding? I would hope that we could say, “I believe that action is wrong,” vs. saying, “I think you’re a big jerk,” but beyond that, forget it. Judgment is part of diversity, and I think that if we can learn to just accept that without feeling personally insulted and disliked, we’ll be better off. As hard as that is.
You can always go somewhere else to shop, if you choose … but I do agree with your husband that learning to let this sort of thing roll off your back is healthier in the long run.
So they believe a certain thing. So they’re judging you, maybe (I doubt they care that much about any particular instance, honestly–if they’re that aggressive, they’re going to get pretty tired). I’ll bet if you knew them at all, you’d find something to judge them on. Heck, you already did: you think it’s inappropriate and unprofessional for them to display a politically charged bumper sticker in their window. See? You’re already even. 🙂
We’re all defensive. We all think everything is about us. We all turn the general into the personal. We could probably all stand to chill out a little in that regard.
(climbs down from soapbox, dusts self off briskly) There now.
Great discussion–and kudos to you for broaching it and thinking this issue over before just creating conflict over it right away, as so many people would have done. You’re good people.
Also, if you click through, please ignore the fact that my most recent post said that having children is for suckers. I was just joking and am actually very nice. Honest. Some of the best people I know used to be children. I’m all for children! I was even one once, just between you and me.
Um, also, I can be kind of verbose. Ask anyone. Or at least anyone who didn’t run away years ago when I refused to stop talking, ever.
You address this issue with such care! I haven’t read the other comments, but here’s mine anyway. I agree that it seems like an odd place for the sticker. I actually don’t care for most bumper stickers, even if I agree with the sentiment; I feel they can back you into a corner. You know?
It’s too bad really, that people feel so differently about the topic of children. There are “breeder haters” on the one end, and people who believe that life isn’t complete without children on the other. I have one daughter, a girl I love with all of my heart. For many reasons, we don’t think we’ll have more children, but that’s our decision; we honor our friends who choose to have more (or who choose to have no children). A good friend of mine, having her third baby, was recently offended by an (supposed) friend who begrudged “people” who have three children. How can my friend be comfortable around this person again? Strange and sad.
I think that you should say something to the business owners — something gentle and wise — about how you know they don’t mean to be directly offensive, but… I’m sure that their intention is based on the type of fear that drives most of the other issues/causes out there right now. We all want to be happy and safe, isn’t that the truth? 🙂
andrea from the fishbowl says
I’m dropping in via Kerflop.
This is why I love the internets… this kind of thoughtful and diverse kind of discussion makes for great reading… !
I find it interesting that you’d consider not shopping there because of the sign.
Personally, if I knew the shop owners I would casually bring up the matter, but it would be out of sheer curiousity. i.e. “So… what’s up with the sign man?”
But I think I would leave it at that. Everyone has different opinions. Everyone feels strongly about one thing or another. These people just chose to advertise it on the front door of their store. Perhaps this topic is a little off-putting, but to me it’s not worth a boycott. But that’s just me! 🙂
Emily R says
I’m with Stephanie. They’re inviting discussion and opinion sharing by posting their opinion so publicly. It need not be a big emotional threat conversation. I think it’s good to understand people, and that’s hard to do without open discussion. In the end, if they choose to continue with something that makes you uncomfortable and unwelcome, you can drop them, because they chose to end the relationship just as much as you did. It’s a mutual break-up, and you both can be sad about it. I would be.
I remember when I got married my SIL asked how many kids I wanted and I said five! She then shared her two children philosophy, that she was only having enough children to replace her and my brother. 9 yrs. later I only have two kids and we’re done. Only because that was our choice as a couple; we have a child with autism and can’t handle another one, financially or emotionally. Now she she smuggly asks me what ever happened to five kids?
An excellent post! I’ve thought about this often over the last few years, and now that my husband and I are expecting our first, it gains a new gravity for me. What really dictates how many children we have?
A friend of mine is adamant that two is too many, and we’ve gone politely and passive-aggressively around and around about this. I think you make an excellent point as to the difference between using the resources we have in a conservative way, versus limiting how many people should be allowed to use them – it seems to me that a better, more long-lasting action to raise our children well, regardless of number, than to reduce the number of children being raised to consider things like this.
Must be Motherhood says
I agree with above posters about how great this intelligent conversation is on your site! I’ll definitely be back for more.
I think the store owners most definitely DO have the right to poster their store with their political beliefs–and isn’t that ability one of the things that makes them different (and more loveable) than the box chain stores? Additionally, that they post controversial ideas like this on their front door suggests to me that they’re pretty open to conversation on the subject. Regarding the issue itself: if they’re thinking about conservation in ANY way, I think it’s a good thing. I agree that no one should tell us how many children we can have–clearly, it’s a personal decision.
That is one of the most offensive things I’ve ever read! I read this awhile ago and was immediately worked up since I have 3 kids. But I’m still worked up even when trying to look at this objectively. And considering my 3rd was conceived while using 2 forms of birth control; I guess God wasn’t really in a ‘reproductively responsible’ that night. or day. Whatever.
If you know the book store owners pretty well (and feel comfortable talking to them), I would just kindly mention that a friend of yours (with three kids) saw the sign in the window (about 2 is enough) and doesn’t feel welcome to their store (And you just wanted them -the owners, to know).
At that point you will probably find out if they really think babies are taking over the world, or if they just put the sticker there as a joke.
If they’re serious and defensive I would drop it and I would feel uncomfortable going there.
If they’re serious but friendly, I might say somehting like: when I have 3 kids can we still be friends? (BIG SMILE). ‘Cause I do like shopping here…
them: do you plan on having 3.
You: yes…so, can I still shop here? (BIG SMILES).
I don’t know if the coversation would actually go that way, or what would caome next, but I think the important thing is that they know that someone isn’t coming to the store because they didn’t feel welcome, because of the sticker in the window.
And to make things really interesting you could kindly suggest to them that your third child will be so intelligently raised in a loving family that in 2030 he/she will discover the answer to all our problems….Personally I hope you have a boy and that you name him Pedro and that he will run for President and we can all wear vote for Pedro shirts and he’ll win and we’ll finally have world peace and everyone will live happily ever after.
Is that too much to ask?
Oh, so many comments. I feel late to the party.
Like Amy (#12) said, the U.S. is not currently overpopulating the planet. I differ with Becca (#39) in that I don’t think the replacement rate is births v. deaths, but births + immigration v. deaths + emigration.
This article from the October 2006 Smithsonian Magazine is where I got my facts. Maybe they just don’t want to collect Social Security? I hope that Carrie (#45) is right and they have a sick sense of humor. Maybe they really have 6 kids? Maybe the sticker was put there by the previous tenants of that space and they couldn’t get it down?
I also agree with Schnozz’s (#48) suggestion that judging someone’s actions as inappropriate does not mean that you are judging that person. I’m very careful to tell my son that hitting is bad behavior so that he never, ever thinks that Mom thinks he is a bad person. Same idea, just with grown ups.
I would broach the topic with the store owners. Perhaps writing out what I think beforehand to make myself more thoughtful and less reactionary during the discussion, but I would still talk to them face-to-face.
Mom of a Munchkin says
I think it’s incredibly innappropriate for them to post a sign like that. Not only is it judgmental, it’s bad for business. But I’m curios to know why they would do it. Let us know what you find out
I’m always a little taken aback when people want to proclaim their controversial and offensive views to the world. Although I did once sport a bumper sticker that read “Human milk for Human babies”… Ah, to be that naive again.
I have heard of the “only 2” movement. And I’ve had it explained to me. And as a mom of 8 kids, I’ve come to accept that we are never going to see eye to eye on the issue.
I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and the conversation, but I really don’t understand why you would be offended or care what they think. I’ve been lurking for a while and you REALLY don’t seem like the type to manufacture drama. Why would you need to confront them? Who cares what they believe?
“I’m always a little taken aback when people want to proclaim their controversial and offensive views to the world.”
But maybe to them, this is not controversial or offensive. Maybe to THEM, this seems like common sense. You just don’t agree with them. Should they confront you because they think it’s immoral to have 8 kids?
I don’t understand the “I won’t shop there” because I don’t agree with every single opinion the shop owner has. Do you all check the religious, political and moral beliefs of every shop owner you go to? Would you ban a gift store because the owner is Republican if you are a Democrat? Would you not shop at a boutique if you are Buddhist and the owner is Christian?
Why so defensive? I doubt the owners are “judging” anyone, there is no sign that says “Parents of more than 2 are unwelcome here”.
They are just displaying their right of free speech. I also doubt they are trying to make anyone feel bad, the sticker does not imply judgement or malice to me (and I have 3 kids) any more than a sticker that proclaims “Pray the rosary”, “Support PFLAG”, or “Save the animals, Go Veg.”
Wow, I can’t read all of those comments, they’re hurting my head. All I can think about is that if we limited ourselves to two children only, we wouldn’t have the joy that is my River. Although he came sooner than planned, we did plan on having more, and we will have more after him. I love him with all my heart and he is such a very special part of our family.
This is a fantastic post (Thanks for sending us, Kerflop!) and I’m impressed that different points of view can be expressed calmly.
I’m with previous readers who advocate voicing your concerns if you simply must (perhaps with humor) and then deciding if you can still shop there.
I absolutely refuse to shop in some businesses because of the political or moral choices of the owners. BUT, I’m also honest enough to say that I don’t subject every business person or place to that kind of scrutiny. If I know their concerns and don’t agree I don’t shop there. I don’t know if that indicates integrity or a lack thereof. I just know that I operate on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. If they shove their beliefs (political, religious, social etc.) in my face and I don’t approve, I’m out the door. That’s my choice. Your post reminds me that perhaps I ought to ‘vote’ with my pocketbook more often. Check those big box stores out, too– if you don’t think they have political agendas then you’ll be quite surprised!
I do also have to ask about this idea of a ‘God given right’ to procreate? I’ve got kids, but I don’t think it’s my God-given right to have them. What does that mean for folks who can’t have kids? God didn’t give them the same rights? That one’s a stretch for me. It’s like the ‘right’ to privacy. Is it constructed by our laws / social institutions or our biology? Just wondering…
You might ask the store owner who he thinks will be paying his medicaid and social security. Oh, wait. that’s what I would ask him. You’re nicer than that.
Heather O. says
One of the great things about this country is the freedom of speech. They have a right to post (almost) whatever they want in their store, on what is, presumably private property. You have a right to hate it, and tell them that. And you also have a right to not shop there. But don’t be surprised if they don’t take it down just because you think they are misinformed (which they are, by the way. The overpopulation theory is utter and complete nonsense. If they need proof, point to Germany, where the whole country is practically imploding, and where Angela Merkel is trying to come up with incentives to get people to HAVE MORE BABIES! Oy.) I’m on your side, though.
I do also have to ask about this idea of a ”˜God given right’ to procreate? I’ve got kids, but I don’t think it’s my God-given right to have them. What does that mean for folks who can’t have kids? God didn’t give them the same rights? That one’s a stretch for me. It’s like the ”˜right’ to privacy. Is it constructed by our laws / social institutions or our biology? Just wondering…
The term “God-given” refers to an inalienable right – one that is not provided by the state and cannot be taken away from an individual unless a person is guilty of a serious crime against the state (i.e. life, liberty, etc.). While there have been a few cases where judges have ordered people to stop having children, these have been highly controversial to say the least. Most recognize the right of a person to have children as inherent to their status as a human being.
I was really addressing the theological implications of the statement, but I appreciate the reminder about case law. I know we fight very hard to make sure people do have reproductive right to have kids (let alone not to), but I get worried when we call them God-given because it makes a very clear statement to those who cannot conceive.
I have not read all the comment, there were wayyyy to many for my buckety brain to handle. ;0) I am mom of 4 and if I had stopped at two many people, who love my kiddos, would be missing out on knowing them. I can not imagine my life without ALL my kids and I would hope parents everywhere would feel the same way.
I wonder how many kids the store owner has? How many siblings?? How many grandkids? ect…..
I very much think like you do on this. However, I wouldn’ shop from someone with whom I do not share similar views, especially if they are too eager to publicize their opinions. I might try a conversation with them on the matter, see how militant they are. If they insisted, I’d state my opinion, wait to see what they do, then if they insist look for another bookshop.
I find it unethical that all this pressure is put upon European, and Christian populations whereas people who don’t have as many means to support themselves are left to produce scores of offspring. It is suicidal that people across Europe and the US are actually embracing these ideas.
The Daring One says
Thanks everyone. There’s too much here to adequately respond to everyone and all your great points. The net result of the discussion is that I feel much more chilled out about things. I do plan on continuing to shop there but I will write a letter to the owners, which I will not deliver, to help get my thoughts straight and when the time feels right I will bring it up. Some of you gave GREAT ideas of what to say in a casual way just to see if I’m welcome in the store after I have my next kid and to let them know that there are people who are uncomfortable with it. I do fully understand that they have freedom of speech and belief and I’m grateful we all do. But like some of you have said, if they didn’t want me to exercise my freedom of speech and speak to them about it, they shouldn’t have put their freedom of speech on the front door of their store.
I’ll let you know how things go. Thanks for the great discussion!
What's the limit? says
I hate stepping on people’s toes, but here goes:
For all the people who insist that there’s no risk of overpopulation, do you really believe that there’s no limit? How many people can the earth hold? 10 billion? 100 billion? 1 trillion? 100 trillion? At some point there must be a limit.
The limit is less dictated by the number of poeple than by the amount of resources they use. Yes, we’ve gotten better at getting resources out of the planet, but we’re also digging deeper and spending more resources to get those resources (so the net gain is getting less and less). In addition, the byproducts of using those resources are overwhelming the reserve capacity of our planet to handle them (carbon dioxide, heat, pollution, etc.).
So while the number of people on this planet may not physically take up a huge chunk of the land mass on the planet, in order for those people to survive they need large amounts of good farming land to be fed. I did find one estimate of 1.2 acres of arable land per person the minimum to maintain adequate nutrition, so the family of four living on 1/4 acre would also require 5 additional acres for food, thus bumping up the amount of land required from 650,000 mi^2 to 13.6 million square miles. In addition, each person needs a minimum of 700 gallons of water per day for all their needs (presumably including growing food, we’re using more like 1450 gal/day now), so any of this land without adequate fresh water supply isn’t usable.
Yes, right now we’re maintaining our comfy lifestyle by having lots of extra room but also by living of the backs of third world countries. Many of the current and future conflicts are driven by lack of resources or trying to get more resources. Remember thet while the US only accounts for a tiny bit of the world’s population, we account for a huge chunk of the world’s resource use, so 1 US person uses the resources of 30 or so third world people.
The idea that we should be free to have kids with no consequences is just like running up your credit card: eventually the bill will come due. Will you be able to look your kids in the eye and say you did everything you could so they would have a good future?
Sorry, I was getting a little hot under the collar there, but I can’t abide people being willfully ignorant. If you know what you’re getting yourself into, that’s fine, but go in with your eyes open for God’s sake.
If you really want to learn something rather than listen to idiots like me blather on about stuff we only tangentially know, read the book called _Collapse_ by Jared Diamond, it’s entertaining (ever wonder what happened to the residents of Easter Island or the Anasazi?) and eye-opening. Also, in the end, it gives hope. (I put a link to it at Amazon as my website to make finding it easy.)
Anyways, that said, it’s true that unless you engage with the shopkeeps you don’t know if they’re judging you, and you may be just judging them. For all you know, they enter by the back door and unlock the front from the inside and neevr notice the sticker someone put on the door. Or maybe they’re Nazis. Or maybe they’re frustrated by the problems they see in the world. Or maybe they have six kids and are being ironic (or wish they had stopped earlier). Until you talk to them, you don’t know. As bookstore owners, they probably do want you to exercise your free speech. Use it.
Oddly enough I saw that sign on the bookstore for the first time yesterday on the way to music class. I had to do a double take and make sure it said what I think it did. Yep, it did! And yes I was surprised and distrubed. I’ll be interested to hear what kind of response you get from them!
Personally, I think population expansion is one of the biggest problems facing our planet. Either we’ll figure out how to handle it or we’ll end up with famines and plagues to force the issue. If we had our current level of technology and infrastructure with a tenth of the current population we’d have utopia.
On the other hand, the more people we have the more stuff we can do as a planet. And maybe utopia would be boring.
I liked Schnozz’s comment on how people judging each other is inevitable. I think that if they prominately post an opinion on a controversial issue, this is an invitation to debate. A friendly heated political debate is one of the great joys of life, in my opinion…
I agree with Lauxa. Also, I’m not so sure what’s so shocking about somebody stating their beliefs and opinions in the form of a bumper sticker. We see it every day, from politics to religion to what radio-stations we listen to. Perhaps it’s that it’s not on a bumper, but rather a small-business’s storefront? It may not be in the business’s best interest to post such a statement, but they clearly feel strongly enough about the issue to risk losing customers because of it. Which–if you ask me–shows how passionate they are about the subject.
You should most certainly go in and talk to them. After all, that’s why they have the sticker there to begin with–to spark debate. Just be ready to do just that, as I’m sure they’re prepared for one.
Amy W says
First (coming from a librarian here):
They are a bookstore – have they read Margaret Haddix’s Among the Hidden? (for you non-children’s lit. readers, it’s a book based in a 2 children per couple only society 🙂
My DH said we could only have 2 kids, ’cause 3 fight over the who gets the windows in the backseat. We ended up with three. But that third one was 15 years after the first two.
All fun aside – honestly, if you can care for them, have them. If you can’t care for them then don’t.
Good to hear (from a more recent post) that you decided to wait to bring it up. That seems wise and neighborly. Perhaps they’ll see your life & family, and change their mind (not only about posting the sign, but the view in itself).
I appreciate the way your post, and decisions, have been gracious toward your neighbors. Your children are learning from your example, and that is certainly something that will benefit future generations of our planet!
LOL. Being the oldest of 7 and a young mom to 4 children 4 and under planning on having as many as God allows, I can laugh as I remember as a young child, seeing an episode of Captain Planet.
We weren’t allowed to watch that show for some reason or another, but I clearly remember the one time I did and it still cracks me up.
The Planeteers(sp?) were gazing into the future somehow and saw that one of them had 6 kids!!!
It was literally the end of the planet, bc this man’s 6 kids were consuming all our resources! The planeteers were furious and went on to explain to the CHILDREN watching the show that to have more than 2 was dangerous for our planet!
My fave bumper sticker? “Birth Control is for Sissies!”
In jest of course, bc there are MANY people out there I do not want to see reproducing…sorry was that ugly?