Speaking of Children 

Writer: Barbara Holland

The essay “Speaking of Children” is an extract from Barbara Holland’s renowned volume Mother’s Day or the View from In Here. In this essay, Holland examines the idea of having more than one child and its effect on the parents. She believes that one child is an appendage but more than one is a way of life. One child is outnumbered and parents can brainwash it, carry it to parties, toss it on the bed with the coats and make it whatever they want. It is usually easy to look after one child. It is a part of their lives.

But, plural children are a counter-culture in the house. Parents are outnumbered by the children. In other words, parents must accept or do something they do not want but they are compelled to do certain undesired things. They have to buy many toy sets and they can not go to the weekend where they like. They have to move to better schools for their children. They have to be involved in many social converse/talk/discussion. They are pushed backwards. Above all, they have to lose peace and privacy because they are frequently interrupted by their children. Then, there is a bitter look in every one. When there is secrecy, they have to talk on the phone from their office. In this way, the children will not let the parents talk peacefully and privately. Even the plural children can become a real danger for a family because many marriages break up in America just due to the children. As a whole, mothers of plural children have no peace in their life. They have to sleep with startling suddenness and finality or determination. So, this essay is against having many children.

Important Questions: 

 Q.1. How does the essay ‘Speaking of children’ examine the idea of having more than one child?
  Having more than one child is an obstacle to a happy married life. Having more than one child is a way of child i.e. parents have to change their way of life into the children’s way of life since the parents are outnumbered. The parents hardly get time for their private affair. The children always come in between. The mother of the plural child gets tired and by the time she goes to bed sleep faster. So they even don’t get time to share their idea even in bedtime. Moreover, your holiday plan should be changed because of plural children. The parents search for cheaper and nearby place etc.

Q.2. Does the essay speaking of children speak in favour or against having many children? Give reason.
  This essay speaks against having many children. The essayist argues the one child is just like a part of our body. Its presence doesn’t bring about a basic difference in the mode of its parent life. They can make it do what they want it to do or carry it whenever they want to go. They can teach it nice things as they wish. In short, one child is never a burden.

However, more than one child becomes unmanageable for their parents. They outnumber their parents. Husband and wife can not have privacy. Whenever they want to spend some time together drinking and talking about their job, children come to disturb them. They seek the attention of their parents all the time. Things are never in order at home. Wherever we move in the house, children’s plaything comes in our way. In short, with more than one child, husband and wife can never enjoy themselves.

Q.3. What are the advantages of having only one child in the family?
Ans: There are several advantages to having only one child. One child is like a part of the body. It is outnumbered. We can implant good things into his mind. We can make it whatever you want. We can take our child wherever we go – to the party, to climb the mountain, anywhere. If we have only one child, we can have peace, privacy and happiness of life. We do not have to change your household routine.

Q.4. What are the disadvantages of having plural children?
Ans: More than one child makes our life difficult. They introduce unwanted culture in our life. Our living room turns into a storehouse of toys. We cannot enjoy our holidays freely. We have to take them to different places for entertainment. We have to frequently change flats to get better schools for children. We are forced to spend our time talking to unnecessary people because our children have become friends of their children. We can hardly get a chance to use the telephone. They make the room dirty. We have to change your household routine. We have to dine earlier because there are many children to be fed. They never let their parents have a peaceful chat. Parents have to live for their children. Our life becomes miserable because we cannot have peace, privacy and happiness of life without many children.

Q.5. Argue why child spacing may be important for happy family life.
Ans: Child spacing may be defined as leaving an interval of four or five years between the birth of two babies. If there is no such gap, both mother and child suffer a lot. Giving birth to a child is itself a very painful experience for a woman. One can hardly imagine how much a woman has to suffer when she delivers two or more babies at the intervals of one or two years. Her health becomes worse. She has to take care of many children at a time. As a result, she can’t pay sufficient attention to them. It is difficult for her to raise and educate them.

Child spacing is very important for happy family life. Child spacing leads to less number of children. There are peace and privacy in the family with only one or two children. Mother is not overburdened. She can easily handle her child. She can breastfeed him well. Most importantly, she has time to take care of her health too. If the age difference between the first child and the second child is about five, the first child can be a helping hand to his mother. He can support his mother in raising the second child. Moreover, parents can give them the best education and training without feeling too much financial burden. In short, child spacing is necessary for better health of mother and child. It is equally important for a happy family life.

Q.6. Write an essay on “The Position Of Women In Our Society.”
Ans: Currently, the position of women is relatively better in Nepalese society. The women literacy rate has reached around 40%. It is nearly ten times as high as it was thirty years ago. More or less, there are women working in government and private offices, business sectors and NGO / INGOs. Women have become doctors, professors, managers and ministers too. They have now their forum to raise voice against discrimination, and domination. These are the sings of their increasing status.

However, women still have a long way to go in order to have equal opportunity and treatment. Although they are improving themselves getting political freedom, formal education and jobs, they face many forms of discrimination in everyday life. They are still treated like a slave in a typical Nepalese family. The situation is not different in community and national level. The majority of women still have to limit themselves to the kitchen and other household works. Men hold major posts in decision-making levels as managers, directors and officers of different organization/corporation while among the women job holders the majority of them are clerks, secretaries, assistants accountants, teachers and nurses.

A nation can not prosper unless it insures good participation of its women manpower in developmental work, policy-making levels and civil services. To ensure this women should be made academically and professionally strong. If they are well educated well trained and skilful, they can easily compete with their men counterparts. Awareness programs should also be conducted in rural areas, which will help end the discrimination of different sorts.

Questions for Practice:

  1. Does Barbara Holland speak in favour of against having many children? Give reasons.
  2. What does Barbara Holland say about having many children?
  3. Write the advantage of having one child and the disadvantage of having many children for the present as shown in the essay  Speaking of Children.

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