With the abortion movement as large as it is, some may think this post to be unnecessary. After all, over 30 million abortions have been performed this year alone. Despite this mass murder of babies, hundreds of millions of babies are born each year, creating a large number of parents.
As Christians, the response to parenting varies. I, personally, am not a parent (although, with my five siblings, I might as well be), but I have seen many different responses to the option of childbearing.
Some embrace parenting with open arms. “Oh, I want twelve biological children and eighteen adopted,” says the sixth-grader who hasn’t left the state. Honestly, this response is probably more common then one might think. 98% of all married couples I have ever met wanted to have some children when they grew up. The results, once again, vary. There are teenagers who want to be exactly like Katie Majors Davis, the author of bestselling Kisses From Katie and mother of thirteen(?) children (I may be wrong, tell me below if I am). So, the teenager dreams of moving to Uganda, adopting upwards of a dozen children, and being a single mom for several years. These dreams often fall through, as the teenager is grounded in reality and ends up working a job at a grocery store or something similar.
Quick disclaimer: Mrs. Davis, if you’re reading this, then understand I am not mocking you. You’re awesome, and your work is phenomenal. Also, my mom says hi.
The other response is a little more drastic. I have, to date, met only a few adults that didn’t want to have children, and only one couple said that vehemently. This desire for zero children is often brought out of a deep-seated fear of responsibility or parenting. While not entirely unreasonable, this fear is still unbiblical and should be corrected. Of course, parents are allowed to have their own opinions, and if they deem themselves unworthy or too busy to have children, then I leave the relationship in God’s hands. However, scripture tells a different story¹. Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” This verse tells us that the man who chooses to have children shall be blessed in abundance.
Many decline to have children for fear of the responsibility it brings. The effort, they say, is far more than the cost. Again, while this is not entirely unreasonable, as parenting can certainly be difficult, this simply borders as an excuse. As seen before, parenting is a blessing from God. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 speaks into this, “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” Obviously, parenting has its difficulties, particularly if you are the one parenting me. And, as Thessalonians tells us, Christian parents are called to bring up their child knowing Christ, an added difficulty. However, parenting is not without its rewards.
As we saw earlier, the Psalmist tells us that a parent will be blessed. Some of the most touching pictures involve a proud parent being blessed by his children. From the child at nine that makes his mother breakfast in bed to the child at fourteen who wins the “Christian character Award”, to the teenager at seventeen who wins the basketball game, and finally to the man leaving the home at age eighteen or nineteen. All of these have one thing in common- a proud parent. If in all of these situations, the parent was not proud of his/her child, they need to do a serious life check. Those moments of absolute blessing keep parents going, even into their old age. When your father or mother is ninety and looks through a scrapbook, will they see except pictures of your soccer games, pictures of you in the pool, with your siblings, friends, or anybody else? Or will they see lousy selfies of you at a gaming convention? These pictures are what makes a parent think back and smile, remembering a six-year-old you with chocolate around your mouth and a guilty smile playing on your face.
While parenting can be extremely difficult at times, causing a parent to go into bouts of depression or anxiety, it is not without its rewards. In choosing to become a parent, whether of a dozen children or just one, an adult embarks on an adventure that is unparalleled, save for the adventure of Christianity. In bringing up a child, the parent ensures three things.
“In choosing to become a parent, whether of a dozen children or just one, an adult embarks on an adventure that is unparalleled, save for the adventure of Christianity.” –Elisha McFarlandTweet
- Their name will not vanish from the face of the earth. Sadly, this isn’t a guaranteed statement, as my grandfather had eight children, four boys and four girls, and only the girls have had children, leaving the Soen line to be seemingly wilted. However, in having children, a parent increases the likelihood of his name being carried into the next generations.
- Their influence will remain on the child until the day they die. This applies more to a father then a mother, but the truth is still the same. Parents influence their children far more than anybody else. If an adult is a bad parent, chances are that their child will be the same. If the adult is a good parent, the child will most likely mimic that skill.
- They will have a far more meaningful life. As they watch their child grow up and see the child begin a (hopefully) successful life, the parent will discover that their life has meaning. In It’s a Wonderful Life, a popular movie released in 1946, George Bailey demonstrates this perfectly. Growing up in a tiny town, George gives up his dreams of adventure to pursue family and friendship. George is later shown a vision of what life would be like should he have never been born. Every person around him is either depressed or dead, and his children were never born. Children, as the movie shows, bring meaning to one’s life.
Children are a blessing from God and should be treated as such. Parents, praise God daily for your kids, and children, praise God daily for your parents. Hopefully, if you have never wanted children, that dream has been changed.
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¹All Scripture quotation taken from the ESV Student Study Bible. Copyright © 2011 by Crossway. All rights reserved.