In Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Simon and Malcolm Collins, parents to three young children, are making waves with their unorthodox approach to parenting. Shunning modern comforts and consumerist habits, they believe in raising resilient children and have become prominent advocates for the pronatalist movement—a philosophy promoting large families to counteract global declining birth rates and stave off economic instability caused by an aging population.

The Collins family includes two sons, Octavian George (4) and Torsten Savage (2), and a daughter, Titan Invictus (16 months). Their parenting methods are unconventional, to say the least. They reject buying new toys for their children and refuse to use heating in winter, considering such amenities as unnecessary luxuries. Simon and Malcolm run a charity, The Pragmatist Foundation, to promote their lifestyle and the ideals of pronatalism. This movement hinges on a “numbers game”—the more children a family has, the more their values and beliefs are passed down through generations.

Simon and Malcolm’s goal is to have at least seven children. Despite this ambitious family size, they insist that their parenting style is “intrinsically low-effort.” They avoid purchasing toys, although each child has an iPad hung around their neck. Gifts from others are accepted but not actively sought.

The Collinses celebrate “Future Day” instead of Christmas, reflecting their atheistic and scientific worldview. On this day, the “Future Police” visit and temporarily confiscate all toys. The children must then write a contract outlining how they will contribute positively to the world before their toys are returned. This ritual aims to instill a sense of responsibility and forward-thinking in their young minds.

Malcolm’s views on parenting are heavily influenced by thinkers like Bryan Caplan, who argue that genetics play a more significant role than upbringing. He contends that children are not inherently expensive and that high costs stem from cultural expectations rather than actual needs. The Collinses plan to homeschool their children, rejecting private school and college tuition costs. “We also don’t raise them like they’re retired millionaires,” Simon quipped, critiquing the typical American tendency to over-schedule children with various activities.

The names chosen for their children—strong and gender-neutral—are a deliberate strategy to empower them, particularly their daughters, to succeed in high-paying careers and STEM fields. This data-driven approach underscores their commitment to equipping their children for the future.

However, their parenting methods have not been without controversy. Malcolm was observed smacking his two-year-old son during an interview with a Guardian journalist, leading to multiple calls to child welfare services. Malcolm defended his actions by comparing them to how wild tigers discipline their cubs, a justification that did not sit well with many observers.

Despite facing criticism, Simon and Malcolm stand firm in their beliefs, arguing that their extreme methods are necessary to address the severe challenges posed by declining birth rates and shifting economic dynamics. They see their large family as crucial for the future of civilization and are unapologetic about their data-driven, minimalist lifestyle.

In an era where traditional values and family structures are increasingly under siege, the Collinses offer a provocative reminder of the power and importance of strong, resilient families. While their approach may not align with mainstream parenting practices, it underscores a crucial debate about how best to prepare future generations for the challenges ahead.