What are Children For?

Thanks to Barbara Moore for pointing me to this provocative article on the place of children in the family and society.

What’s truly fascinating – and not just a little troubling – however, is that our society has reached the point where we are using a “balance sheet approach” to assess the value of children (net worth equals assets minus liabilities) and a gain/strain ratio to evaluate the benefits of parenting.  We now live in a world where the decision to procreate has become a “lifestyle choice” to be weighed against the benefits of remaining free to devote ourselves and our lives to, well, ourselves.  The best educated, most affluent, socially progressive among us have in large part concluded that the age-old impulse to “be fruitful and multiply” can be explained by a combination of evolution and economics, neither of which applies to them.

Worth the trouble if you want or need to gain perspective of the place of children and your relationship with them.

A word of testimony. I always felt children were more important than career advance and that the Lord would look after us. As a result, we had children before I had a college degree and I received my only degree, a BA, when I was 30 years old. Along the way I had regrets. I now have none.

To walk in-step with our college system is harmful for most people who do it. More importantly, to bear children when it is convenient is so illogical and presumptuous as to make me wonder.

Life Lessons from a One-year-old

A little over one year ago, I became blessed and immersed into fatherhood.  From what I have been told, it is always this way – overwhelmed by joy and terror, hope and responsibility.  The thought of all I must teach and instill in my daughter regularly traipses across my mind.  Yet, in the midst of my often weighty musings on this subject, I have come to notice that she is quite a teacher herself.  So, while reflecting on her first birthday, a couple of her favorite lessons stand out.  Thank your for indulging a proud father for a few moments. 

  1. God’s small gifts are a big deal – My daughter, Temperance, has big blue eyes that are almost always filled with wonder.  Whether watching her first snowfall, sitting in the grass, petting the cat or eating kiwi, her appreciation of God’s good gifts is more than obvious.  There are no “small things” in her view of the world.  She takes communion with a loud “mmm” and greets her mother and me with a bright smile when she awakes from sleep.  Temperance’s wisdom (yes, wisdom) reflects that of Solomon who wrote, “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works” (Ecclesiastes 9:7).
  2. Laugh often – Few things bring a smile to the face as quickly as the laugh of a child.  Temperance has an infectious laugh and she shares it with abandon.  She has reminded me that life is either to be enjoyed or it is not.  God is sovereign and good and, because of these realities, we are ultimately without excuse for our all-too-persistent “mopey-ness,” regardless of the difficulties of life.  Does Temperance know that?  I do not know, but that is my point.  She has never had to know all of the answers in order to respond to life with joy and laughter.