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Families Can't Get No Respect

Having kids makes life a little bit more challenging. It’s not without joy, but things just take a little longer. Gone are the days when you and your wife decide to hop in the car and go shopping. Trips take extra preparation, and they can be a challenge.

A few weeks ago, Alison and I took Benedict to IKEA. We’re in the market for some new furniture for our new home. When we arrived, I began the task of looking for a place to park. I was literally shocked when I saw the signs for the “Family Parking Lot.” The lot was sectioned off from the rest of the parking areas with only one entrance. This safety feature limited vehicular traffic, thus reducing the danger of a child being hit. The lot was right at the front of the store, so we didn’t have to walk very far with our family in tow. The spots were a bit wider than standard spots giving us the room to both park and put Benedict in his stroller. It was perfectly family friendly. But that wasn’t all. The Family Restroom had liners for the changing table and free diapers. Wow. This is just not the kind of treatment that we see among businesses in the United States today.

Couples today are holding off from starting families because they don’t want the “hardship” of children. They’re selfish. There’s no other way of putting it.

Companies use marketing to target children. It makes sense from a business perspective, as children are potential future customers. Then you go to their stores and it’s a nightmare. Parking is difficult, the shelves are overloaded, and it’s just not a good experience. Even traveling via airplane can be difficult. It really all comes down to the TSA employees themselves. At bigger airports, they’re not helpful at all. At smaller airports, you may find that some employees do their best to help parents through screening with all of their extra baggage.

So what’s the deal with all of this. Why am I objecting to the way companies treat families today?

The lack of accommodation is a result of a decrease in respect towards human life.

Kids aren’t considered to be the blessing that they are. They're an inconvenience to those around us. People hate a crying kid at “their” dinner out. People hate when other people’s kids “ruin” their movie experience. People hate when they’re on vacation and they have a baby in the next hotel room over. Parishioners can’t understand why you don’t take your crying baby to the cry room.

Get over it.

Babies cry. It’s what they do. Kids aren’t robots and they weren’t designed to please other people trying to have a nice night out.

While it may be a bit of a stretch, I’d say that this lack of respect is rooted in the widespread use of contraceptives. Pope Paul IV has been truly vindicated in his predictions.

Contraceptives have reduced families to an annoyance.

Parenting is no longer seen as a noble pursuit.

How do we reverse this negative trend? First, we must show the world the joy of parenthood. Second, we must teach our children that children are indeed a gift from God. Last, we must patiently bear the dirty looks and inconveniences that we experience. Our children are worth the hassle.

We don’t respect families like we should. Let’s find ways to make the lives of parents easier.
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