Last night whilst having dinner with some friends we got onto the topic of children. I expressed my wish to have as many children as possible (like at least 5). I was shocked to hear that I was "socially irresponsible" if I had more than 2 children. I was told that the world is overpopulated and its resources fast depleting. And I was totally outnumbered in this debate, as I was the only one who believed in big families.
We are going to be the mothers and fathers of the future generations and it really worries me that this such popular belief... What is the Jewish take on this?
I wouldn't worry about being outnumbered. You will have many children, your friends less, and in a few generations, the only ones left will be irresponsible multipliers like yourself who believe in big families. Any philosophy that encourages low birth rates, no matter how noble, is self-destructive. If it succeeds, it fails. But anyway, if anything will save the planet, it is having more kids, not less.
If we limit how many children we have out of concern for the earth's resources, we are actually perpetuating the problem. We are looking at humans as consumers rather than contributors. In this view, more babies means more consumers, so we need to have less children to save the planet. This attitude will trickle down to our children - if we view them as just another mouth to feed, that's how they will view themselves, and we just perpetuate the view that humans are here to take what they can.
Rather than seeing a child as another mouth to feed, see a child as another soul to nurture. Every new soul is another ray of light, another spark of holiness that brings more love to the world. The more children you have the more giving you become, and the more light there is in the world. The more light the more goodness, and the more goodness the more we realise that there is plenty of room on this planet for all of us.
If we truly see our children as rays of light, then we will teach them to see themselves as givers rather than takers, contributors rather than consumers. Then we will not just leave a beautiful world for our children to enjoy, we will leave beautiful children for the world to enjoy.
The most responsible thing you could do to save the planet is to bring holy souls down into it. The more the better.