Sunday, October 2, 2011

To Have or Have Not Children

Elder Neil Anderson gave an inspiring talk on mothering/parenting yesterday.  He talked about how the the choice to have children is between a husband, a wife, and God.  He also stressed that to have children is a commandment.  I think we often forget that second part about it being a commandment, but it should probably be one of the first things we consider.  We need to do a better job as parents at teaching young people that children are a responsibility of marriage.  We need to teach them how to understand, accept, and prepare for that.

I've surely mentioned on this blog that my husband and I weren't too excited about having kids, but after waiting several years, we determined it was time to be obedient and give it a try.  It was actually 13 months of trying, then we miscarried at 11 weeks.  What a lesson that was, and it gave us a deeper appreciation for children.  After much thought and learning, now our attitude is to welcome children into our family, one at a time (well, unless there are two!).  We won't put a cap on it until we "Know" we're done -- whether by feelings or the evidence of my body and mental state being finished, or whatever other circumstances (perhaps health of other family members or even money).  Raising children is not easy, and it's often not fun, but it is a commandment.  I have faith that it will all be worth it someday.  The Eyre's had some good counsel on this topic (Having another child: Questions Couples Can Consider, Des. News, April 1, 2011).

I'm afraid that sometimes people get so overwhelmed by so many little children so fast that they give up on the thought that they could ever have any more, so they claim to be "done."  Why not wait until the kids are a little older to decide that?  When they are little, it is soooooo hard!  It doesn't seem to be the best time to be making such big decisions.

I also believe that people jump to the conclusion that they will only have x number of children.  I feel that making decisions like that is like trying to decide on a first date if you are going to marry the person you're out with.  You just have to take it one date at a time, just like you have to take it one child at a time and not make decisions you're not ready to make.

Anderson quoted part of this from desiringGod (thanks to some fb friends for finding the quote):

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.


My friend, Andrea, sent this to me.  You may have seen it on facebook floating around.

We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between a man who flatters her - and a man who compliments her. A man who spends money on her - and a man who invests in her. A man who views her as property - and a man who views her properly. A man who lusts after her - and a man who loves her. A man who believes he is God's gift to women - and a man who remembers a woman was God's gift to man...And then teach our boys to be that man.