In the 1968 move, Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang , there is a scene where the townspeople of Vulgaria stare wide eyed at Jeremy and Jemima Potts, who with their father are trying to find their kidnapped Grandpa. The people stare at the children because their town has no children, not one! Children are banned in Vulgaria because Baroness Bomburst finds children disgusting. The plot includes an evil Child-Catcher (China? Planned Parenthood?) and is relevant today.
Our children's large families have encountered similar stares. When one daughter takes all her well-disciplined (mostly!) young children with her to the grocery store, she is asked whether they are all hers. While visiting his wife in the maternity ward of a hospital, my son-in-law is questioned on whether the new baby is the last one. [He quickly answered that he might need more substitutes for his sports team!]
The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stare should be called the Kiddie, Kiddie, Bang, Bang! stare, and it's even been encountered in Catholic churches. One of our children's family stopped for Sunday Mass while on vacation in another state. When they entered the large church, many of the congregation stared openly at them. As they looked around, they saw only one other person in church was less than five years old. So it was not surprising that the old people looked in wonder at all the little kids entering the church with their two parents.
The same situation happened to another daughter. The church was quite large and in a wealthy neighborhood, but there were extremely few children. My daughter actually felt somewhat uncomfortable because her large and young family stood out as so different from the rest of the older Mass-goers.
One local Catholic parish approaches death because the parishioners are mostly elderly. One large family visited this parish and easily stood out from the rest of the many much older Mass attendees. The family was eagerly approached after Mass with a specific invitation to become parishioners. The inviting parishioner was somewhat disappointed to hear that the visiting family was a member of a Kansas City community with the old Latin Mass.
The National Center for Health Statistics says the fertility rate in the U.S. has jumped to its highest level since 1962, when the " baby boom" ended. Many of the births are due to new young immigrants, but some appear to be the result of individual citizen concerns that our country and families will die without more children being born. I was surprised and elated that USA Today's article on the increasing birthrate correctly emphasizes:
A high fertility rate is important to industrialized nations. When birthrates are low, there are fewer people to fill jobs and support the elderly.May these valid concerns increase and result in larger families.