Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the author of the book Stumbling On Happiness, says people's happiness declines after they have children, and never recovers until the children leave home. Gilbert's vast body of research indicates that playing with one's children produces less happiness than talking with friends, eating, or watching an episode of "According to Jim."
By the way, Gilbert has neither children nor pets. And in other good news the conference was organized by an outfit dedicated to the study and practice of Buddhism, so at least we can hope there were only a few "Christians" present.
For Christians, children are never mere accessories or a "lifestyle choice." Conception is an act of God (Ps. 127:3, Ruth 4:13, I Sam. 1:19-20, Gen. 16:2, Gen. 17:16, Ps. 22:9, Jer. 1:5, Gal. 1:15) and children from the womb are created to be the image bearers of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Scriptures commands us to be fruitful and multiply, for the purpose extending His dominion (Gen. 9:7) and producing Godly offspring (Mal. 2:15). Moreover, children are to be received as a gift from God:
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD ,
children a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate
Get the picture? Receiving a blessed inheritance from God involves in part the gift of children. Those who despise children despise life itself, and ultimately they despise the giver of life. Listen to Martin Luther: "The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men or women; for they despise the blessings of God, the Creator and Author of marriage."
The correlation between happiness and children sounds strange to modern ears. Fortunately the likes of Dr. Gilbert will ultimately have little significance for they carry few arrows into battle. The future belongs to the meek and obedient, to those who love God rather than death.