No, having kids isn't a walk in the park. Yes, it does require sacrifice. Yes, it does require change. Some of us do have ambivalent feelings toward parenthood and those people should not be looked down upon because of their feelings. But, the other side needs to be told as well. Instead of gripping about the cost of children and how much of our free-time they take away, we need to also acknowledge that they make us better people. They teach us unconditional love. They give us our most depressing and frustrating moments, but they can give us our happiest moments, too.
Watching the world today, I cannot help but think about how it would be a better place if more of us were parents, if parenthood was exulted instead of shunned.
Yeah, go ahead and laugh. I didn't realize how unkind the world is for parents until I became one. Then you notice how many stores and restaurants do not have changing tables. You realize how utterly impossible it becomes to meet new people because, for instance, the young adult ministry in your diocese has events at bars on weeknights. You rarely see descent TV shows that feature families. They often have single main characters or the plot revolves around a workplace so you don't usually see the families. Most workplaces are not family-friendly. If you put you put your family ahead of your job, you get in trouble. If you have young children (especially if you're single), you don't get hired in the first place.
There are few things in America that are more counter-cultural than having a family (especially a family with more than one kid, yikes!).
But when you're holding that small body in your arms for the first time, you finally know what love is. You get a taste of what God's love is for us. You would do absolutely anything for that tiny human being. You have a vested interest in the future of the planet. This touches on everything from how you vote, whether you recycle, how you volunteer... Your heart breaks even more when you see a terrorist attack or hear about violence on the news, because you cannot help but think, "What if that was my child?"
If we would put our priorities in a different order, having families over having careers, the world would be a better place. We'd take the longer view. We could easier put creating a better world over making a bigger profit. We could give up traveling around the world and instead look at the world through children's eyes.
Again, say it all you want. "I don't need kids to teach me compassion." Again, I didn't think I did either.