Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Children are a Blessing


Talking about the blessings of children can be hurtful to many. There are some who desperately want them, or want more than they have. I don't know why everyone isn't given as many children as they want. But I want it recorded my ideas and feelings about children, because I know there are lots of different types of people out there, and how I live does not make sense to most of them. And as children become less and less valued in our culture, I want my children to know I feel about them.

My switch is set to "ON." Because of the family I grew up in, my siblings (I have 10 of them), and my extended family culture (close to 500 on my dad's side), my switch was set to "on" before I ever got married. Besides graduating from college, I never saw any reason to wait. If I had a bucket list, in my mind it was always after I started having kids. This is how I'm programmed. The question in my mind is not usually "when?" but "how many?" or "tell me when to stop." I don't think this is necessarily right for every couple, but I also don't think God is going to punish me for being programmed this way. God works with and through all couples who are willing to include Him in their family planning.

We take them one at a time. I sometimes get asked, "What's your number?" Like having children is some kind of goal to achieve. These children are God's children. They have specific needs from us as their parents, and needs within our family. I don't know when the needs of my children and our own capacity to fulfill them is going to be reached. We will take them one at a time. I don't know if that number is 4 or 8 (I don't think it's 3). I don't know if your number is 1 or 6. Why do we need to talk about numbers when it comes to children anyway?

Let them be little. Our culture makes motherhood and babies look like some disease. You deal with spit up and blow outs? Gross. Your life consists of dirty dishes and laundry? Get a job! In my mind, these things are so minor compared to the payoffs. Babies are ridiculously sweet. Toddlers are so funny and happy. On the "happiness meter" kids are at the very top. I honestly believe that. I want to revel in it as long as a I can.

Pregnancy ends. Pregnancy is not easy for me. I am not one of those women who doesn't get sick or one who enjoys being pregnant. Although I am learning to see the good in it. God can support us through things we never thought we could possibly endure. And although it can seem endless, it does end, and what a beautiful gift you get in return!

Children grow up. Babies do not stay babies. Toddlers will not forever stay toddlers. Anything you experience as a young mom that is "too hard" or "out of control" is only a stage or a phase and will pass. I might be a year, maybe two, maybe three! but because I feel so strongly about my children having a lot of siblings, I am totally fine with a couple years of chaos. This too shall pass.

I look forward. As an adult, I LOVE having this built-in peer group of my siblings. They support you in your endeavors. There are several people praying and thinking about you when you struggle. I have learned now as an adult, this kind of support can make a huge difference in how you fair in reaching your goals. I have so many people who are striving for the exact same things in life that I am, we have similar weaknesses and strengths, and are each at different stages in life (see this series of posts for things I love about my siblings). Siblings are something that cannot be duplicated, no matter how many close friends you have.

I love the way big families work. As a kid, I loved having built-in playmates. As a teenager, I loved having lots of live-in best friends and late night girl talk. I loved dividing up chores in our family among many people. I loved being a part of a family culture. I loved having the chance to lead younger siblings. I loved learning to share and be selfless. I loved having few resources and being creative. Having a lot of siblings made my life rich and meaningful. I desperately want to create that for my own children. I'm sure people with small families could counter with experiences and things they learned from being part of a small family. But I don't know what that's like. I only know my own experience, which I was deeply moved by.

I want God's approval, not Man's. The lifestyle of a big family will be different than that of a small family. When we were growing up, we never went out to eat. It's just not something I worry about, what kinds of things we will "miss out" on. Happy, family-building activities can be had on a small budget or no budget at all. We limit ourselves to simple things and I don't take my kids many places during the day. We won't always live this secluded, but how we live right now might by viewed as "not living" or "boring" by the world's standards. I don't find it boring; I've learned more from this slow way of life than I can ever say. It's not about fitting God into the world we have here, but creating a world (our life) where God can always be.

I don't think everyone should have a bunch of kids. But I do think we can work harder to view children as the royalty they are. And it all starts with how we think about them in our thoughts, how we treat them in daily conversation. You can decide to respond positively about children, and change our culture even if it's just in your corner of the world.

I know you were wondering what this looked like...three kids in the back of a sedan

3 comments:

  1. I can relate to all of these thoughts, especially taking them one at a time. That's what we're doing, so who knows what number we'll end on (I don't think it's 3 for us either). :)

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  2. I enjoyed reading this. Thank you for taking the time to write. Cheers, Tori.

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  3. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing! I know what you mean about stages being temporary. I am grateful for each stage and I love the happiness that my boys bring to my life!

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