I’m writing in response to Anna Enright’s letter to the editor, “Where have all the children gone?,” published Jan. 23:

The choice to have, or not have, children is a personal decision with a vast amount of reasons behind those choices, all of which are individual to each family. It is no one’s position to inquire about the reproductive choices of those around them, as it is a deeply personal matter for many.

The value and compassion of a person is not determined by their member status of a traditional nuclear family. Families come in all shapes and sizes – large families with many children, single parent households, loving homes full of foster children, families consisting of individuals who choose to never marry, families who are unable to have children, and families that remain child free by choice. All of those families have value, and all lean on and support each other in times of crisis.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by a community of people of varying ages and walks of life, with different definitions of “family,” all of which are kind, patient and generous. They donate their time and resources to support the growth of our local community and economy. They take the time to volunteer within various organizations throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area to build up our growing community and the incredible diversity that growth has gifted us. They work with homeless and at-risk citizens, providing them with safety, shelter and the resources to improve their current circumstances and remain safe.

They are compassionate. They are generous. They are patient, and loving, and selfless. Not a single one of them are any of those things because they chose to have — or not have — children. They are those things because as Anne Frank once said, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”