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Childless cheers

After reading your article on couples who choose not to have children ("No kidding," cover story, June 21), a big cheer went up in my household! My husband and I have been married for 15 years and are childless by choice. We have nothing against children or people who have them. We simply, after much thought, have decided that children are not for us.

We always feel the need to explain our decisionto other people, many of whom seem to believe there is something wrong with a woman who consciously decides not to have a child. I was thrilled to find that there is a local group of people who share my views and lifestyle. Thank you for shedding light on this subject and showing that there is nothing wrong with couples who decide not to have children. They have simply chosen a path that is outside what many would consider the "norm."

Amber Carlton

Colorado Springs

Strength in numbers

At last I do not feel alone or freakish for not having children. I made the decision in my 20s and it was solidified by a diagnosis of MS in my 30s. I don't think I would be having the long remission from my illness if I had decided to bear children. The strain and drain of it would have exacerbated the condition. My life is no less interesting than those who have kids, and in fact, in many ways it is enhanced.

Alison Whiteman

Tacoma, Wash.

Mixed message

In one paragraph of "No kidding," the cost of raising a child was given as justification for not having one, but in another paragraph, Vincent Ciaccio complains that people are being "paid to have kids" with a tax credit. He forgets that even after 18 years' worth of that tax credit, parents of the two or more kids spend at least $175,000 on their children.

I am the oldest of five. The biweekly grocery trip adds up to more than $200. The (single) television has a hole in the speaker. Neither of our cars is younger than five years, which is about as long as it's been sincewe've had a vacation. My parents spend thousands of dollars a year on sports, and have two mortgages and no retirementsavings. People don't have kids for the money.

Can't we just say, "Sure, you have kids, I'd rather not," and quit the griping?

Conor Nugent (age 15)

Colorado Springs

'Baby material'

As a Colorado Springs resident since the 1960s, I observed this city and local businesses transform themselves literally overnight when Focus on the Family moved in. Suddenly, in newspaper, billboard and radio ads, one became inundated with "family-friendly" events and kiddie entertainment. This prominent, relentless marketing continues to this day.

I can relate to Naomi Zeveloff's "No kidding" cover story. I have also been left out of conversations when the topic of kids arises.

On numerous occasions, I've had to carry an unexpected, extra workload to fill in for absent co-workers because of their kids. In one case, when I had to rush my dog to emergency, I called my company to say I could not make it to work. Needless to say, that day was counted against my attendance record, but the records of co-workers with sick children were not affected. Without naming the company, it had been voted No. 1 in the state as the best "family-friendly" place to work.

When I was a widow in my 30s, returning to the dating scene, I encountered guys wanting a family or seeking a mother to their children. I wanted no part of that! I was considered selfish; but then, were notthese guys in their imposing pursuit for "baby material" also selfish? In another incident, I was told by a Christian group that I was "cursed by God" because I was a widow and remained childless. Those years made me acutely aware of just how much of an outsider I was in society.

Now, in my 40s, with a fulfilled life that continues to expand, I may have the last laugh. I notice mothers, whose children have left the nest, struggling to rediscover themselves or revive their past interests. So, I guess, in that arena, I am well ahead.

Carol Martinelle

Colorado Springs

Not oppressed

It's one thing to decide not to have kids, and everyone is free to decide. But "No kidding" makes these people out to be some kind of oppressed minority. In truth, the interviews Zeveloff took reveal them to be the strange, egocentric stereotypes that offend them so much.

I guess the audience who would be most offended by this article would be normal people who just don't happen to have kids and are being made out to be some kind of bitter child-haters, like the couple in the last paragraph who loath the thought of living next to a daycare center. It is implied that all the other childless (or "childfree," as it is so politically correctly put) couples do too.

To cite the environment, or overpopulation, as the reason for not having kids seems to be at best a pretentious rationalization as pretentious as people who say they do have children as some kind of ultimate gift to the world. It is just a personal choice, what you and your partner want to do with your time on this planet.

I have always wanted a child because I wanted to see the transformation in myself. And to me, children are some of the most beautiful, magical, playful beings in this world, and I couldn't imagine missing the chance to live with one, and grow with one, and be the mom. I wanted to experience that love, and see how love would deepen with my beloved. Overpopulation or not, this is my life, and I did it for myself.

There are plenty of other beautiful and loving ways to spend one's life, and no reason for anyone to apologize for not having children or to claim they did it for the good of the world. It is simply a personal decision. And if you feel left out when your mommy friends compare notes, just change the topic to how much money you are saving up to travel the world, or how deep you are going in dance and meditation in your spare time.

Brook Bhagat

Colorado Springs

Letter to Skorman

Mr. Richard Skorman:

When I want and/or need you to decide what books I can't or shouldn't read ("Saying no to Mike Jones," June 14), I'll let you know, OK? I mean, what is this Fahrenheit 451?

So, every book in your store is acceptable to everyone who walks in the door? I don't think so.

Ginni Francis

Manitou Springs

Barely managing

With the departure of the city manager, this citizen hopes that City Council will look at whether the structure of city government should be changed.

The city that created a government with a city manager handling most leadership functions is not the city that exists today.

This citizen would like to see a city government in which the day-to-day leadership is held by officials elected by and accountable to the citizens, not an appointed person who has the authority to determine the information released by city government.

Some people will say that the past city manager did a good job. Some will say that he protected parts of city government at the cost of citizens' rights. Regardless of your view, there are not enough hours in the day for one person to properly oversee all the city's operations.

Don A. Ortega

Colorado Springs

City defined

I would like to respond to an article ("Flag flown upside-down over Springs Spree," Noted, June 21) and to Cpl. Brandon Hawke.

Contrary to what the conservative majority thinks, this is not just an "Air Force or Army town." This is a town for all of us, even us"hippies and liberals" that oppose this insane war. We all live here.

Let me remind Cpl. Hawke of the grim facts about Iraq as reported by CNN.

"More than 800 [soldiers] have lost an arm, a leg, fingers ortoes. More than 100 are blind. Dozens need tubes and machines to keepthem alive. Hundreds are disfigured by burns, and thousands have braininjuries and mangled minds. "These are America's war wounded, a toll that has received less attention than the 3,500 troops killed in Iraq. Depending on how youcount them, they number between 35,000 and 53,000."

Kudos to whoever flew the flag upside-down. This country is, indeed,in distress, as Cpl. Hawke so rightly pointed out. We need more flags being flown upside-down.

Randel Barnes

Colorado Springs

Correction

City of Colorado Springs spokesperson Tim Burke provided incorrect information used in "Hot seat?" a news story that appeared in the June 21 issue. For assistance in its search for a new city manager, the city will pay executive recruiting firm Avery Associates $18,500, and will reimburse up to $8,500 in expenses.

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