Saturday, June 18


Could it Really be That Easy?

So, Germany has a low birthrate -- 8.3 births per 1,000 people, less than half what it was 50 years ago (Italy is at 8.7 per 1,000; the US is at 14 per 1,000). Chalk it up to the self-centered culture of death resulting from inhuman secularization which saps the faith, hope, and love out of human existance, but it's a problem (especially with the giant need for taxes to support their welfare state).

One town in Germany, however, seems to be set apart. Laer is a town of 6000 people, and about 1,000 of them are children. The reason?

Apparently, childcare.

"Laer has among the highest number of births in the country, which has been attributed to its child-friendly policy. Laer's childcare system works because of the concerted efforts of parents, teachers, churches and local authorities, and because of money. Funding was assured when the town's mayor, Hans-Jurgen Schimke, took it into his own hands to lobby the local authorities and to support the scheme."

And, the movement is poised to spread:

"The mayor and the town of Laer are today making waves beyond the town's borders: he now sits on a federal commission on children in Berlin. Gerhard Schroeder's government, urged on by its economic problems, pension worries and falling birth rate, is now pledging money and action."

Now, I realize that this in some ways this more of an accomodation than an evangelization. In some respects, the childcare solution is accomodating a mentality which is very slow to give-of-self, for example, to the task of childcare as a primary family duty. On the other hand, though, the creation of a culture which is generally more family-friendly than the pervading German culture is also, in its own way, a form of evangelizing. Either way, it appears to be the most immediately effective way to keep a dying country from dying (because, that's what happens when there ain't no more kids).

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