You Grow Together
After the last transmissions on Human Colony Collapse Disorder and Avoiding the Extinction Event, one of our steaders wrote in to say
I think that the main things that made me want to have kids were 1) having younger siblings, 2) being around my extended family (which is huge) and 3) my parents taking for granted that I would someday have kids. I wouldn’t even say they were actively pronatalist, it just never occurred to them that I would do otherwise (sorry for being single for so long, mom and dad).
Both of my parents come from families with 8 kids. Family reunions are always extremely fun. I remember thinking from a very young age that family reunions would not be as fun with my siblings because there’s only 4 of us.
This is how it works. A kid grows up having a blast around their family/extended family, something clicks, and then they decide they want that for themselves. Not everybody has the extended family, but if you do, take advantage of it. Kids love “getting together with the cousins.” You as a parent then help the “click” happen. “Wouldn’t it be sad if Grandma and Grandpa forgot to have all your aunts and uncles so you didn’t have all these fun cousins to play with? Why don’t you go give them a hug and say thank you right now. When all you are grown up and have a bunch of kids, think how much fun the family reunion will be then!” Parents who feel this is manipulative would never hesitate to do the same thing with teaching their children about careers or being respectful and kind or other values. If it’s important to you, you need to teach your kids about it.
Again, not everybody has an extended family, and if you don’t, you will. Extended family begins with you. But if you do, take advantage. Even if it isn’t huge, you just have the one brother with a couple of kids, something like that, take advantage. Even if your parents are utter boomer cruiseshipniks, take your kids to see them when you can.
Case study: One of our steader’s father was one of just two siblings, The father’s sister only had one child. Nonetheless the father decided to have 8 children and to make extended family an emphasis in their home life. The steader says he and his siblings have fond memories of all the stories their Grandpa and Grandma told, or even the stories their father and their aunt told about each other when they got together.
For kids, extended family get togethers are fun and exciting. The implicit message is family is fun and the more the merrier. Family stories are usually a feature of extended family get togethers. Kids love them and they cement the child’s sense (and your sense) of family identity. Stories are history and culture. If we have a history and a culture, then we are a we.
Extended family helps the children sense that family is an ongoing, dynamic program. A generational program.
Note: even if your parents were not actively pronatalist and you turned out ok, you should be. The headwinds are stronger than when you were young.
The trees in the grove grow with interlaced roots.
To an extent, concerns about kids getting socialized are cope for not having an active extended family