Of course, it also matters that children are expensive. In his book, Last examines a variety of expenses and career realities and concludes that it costs about $1.1 million to raise a single child, with home costs and college expenses higher in prime locations. When living in New York City, San Francisco or Washington, D.C., having two children is "having a lot of children," he said. "What's countercultural in one city is normal in another."
The bottom line is that Americans who choose to have large families are almost certainly making "some kind of theological statement," he said. "They are making countercultural decisions and people just don't keep taking specific countercultural actions without having some kind of purpose, a larger reason for what they are doing. ...
"Think of it this way. At some point, you have to ask: 'Am I the most important -- or even the only -- character that matters in the movie of my life?' ... Parents just can't think that way, and the more children you have, the less you can afford to think of yourself as the center of everything that happens in the world. ... That's a very important lesson to learn about life."
(Terry Mattingly is the director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and leads the GetReligion.org project to study religion and the news.)
(EDITORS: For editorial questions, please contact Kendra Phipps at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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