If They're Not Cryin', We're Dyin'
Children should be seen and heard
A few months ago I was at a conference. It was one where a lot of people brought their families with them for a vacation as well. It was not a religious conference, by the way.
I thought it was very interesting that several of the women who were attending had their babies with them in the ballroom. Some of them had their bassinets sitting right next to their seat.
As they are known to do, some of the babies would cry from time to time. But that did not seem to bother anybody.
At one point someone even said from the dais, “If they’re not cryin’, we’re dyin’.” I thought that was a great sentiment.
To be honest, while having babies at a professional conference might sound odd, I thought it had a very healthy and even cool vibe.
Over the past few of years, I’d attended a few church or religious type conferences as well, and it’s not been uncommon there for women to have their babies with them in the event.
I don’t have have a comprehensive knowledge of how things worked in the past, but my impression is that it was pretty unusual for there to be babies in conference type settings if they event did not have onsite child care.
We aren’t going back to a midcentury type world where women with young children were at home and not engaged in civic life apart from child-centered activities. If we want to raise birth rates, then we have to make it as easy as possible for women with young children to be able to remain engaged in life.
Practices like making it clear that babies are welcome at what might seem to be business or formal type events, and creating cultures in our communities where having kids around in adult settings is normal and expected, is one way to do that.
Because with our below replacement rate fertility, it literally is true that if they aren’t crying, our society is dying out.
Cover image credit: Yogi/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0