Size matters

25 July 2015 | The Tablet

(Headline by The Tablet)

“Big families are best” was the only advice my father, one of fifteen, gave me when I married for the first time at the age of forty-eight. It’s quite true, they are best. (“Big is beautiful” – 18 July.) In the event we had only four.

The catch is that if we all had four this would cause repeated doubling of the population resulting in episodes of poverty, hunger, water shortage, conflict, and the migration of huge numbers of desperate people, as we can see in Africa where the fertility rate is just over four children per woman. Only by most couples having small families can a few have four or more without suffering these troubles. Especially honoured should be those who have chosen to remain childless. As the saying goes: “The child you have is a gift to you, the child you do not have is a gift to the community.”

Gerald Danaher

(The Tablet altered the start to “Your article brought to mind the only advice my father…”)