Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5
I guess it’s true. The Bible is outdated after all. Who these days really believes this passage? Sure one or two children are “a gift of the Lord”. Three is an added bonus but add a fourth and the eyes start rolling, the comments start flowing. No longer are those children considered to be a gift by most people. Those children are looked on as a burden to society, an unnecessary hardship on the parents, even a detriment to the family. After all, now the older children are going to have to take on more responsibility. The older children will not be the center of their parents’ universe. The older children might even have to learn to share — a bedroom! Who does that these days?
I have two young friends who are about to become moms of five. Yes, I said five. As a mom of six myself I know exactly what these moms are dealing with. They are excited at the prospect of becoming moms again. They are honored to be given another precious gift from God. They are barraged with comments, questions, and looks that let them know how reckless, irresponsible and downright odd most people consider them. People who are perfect strangers. People who are casual acquaintances. People who are family. People who are brothers and sisters in Christ. Shame on you. All of you who show anything but love and support for these women and their families.
When I was expecting #5 and eventually #6, I guess I was so busy raising my growing family that I was not immediately aware of the backlash people were unleashing on me. Thankfully. Maybe God was protecting me from what would have certainly had a negative effect on me. As my children have grown and begun to leave home and people no longer see me as a “mom of 6”, I hear comments made about young growing families. I am shocked. Why would any God-fearing person think it is acceptable to God to discourage others from wanting large families?
I think that we as Christians, even though we say we are not buying into the politically correct, feminist rhetoric, have bought into this aspect of it. I hear parents and grandparents discourage their young children and especially their pre-teen/teenage children from even talking about having children themselves. I hear young married couples being warned to wait to have children until they can afford it or until they have had time to enjoy life. I remember encouraging young girls to hold my babies and talk to them about being mothers. I actually got comments from these girls’ moms in front of the girls that I shouldn’t be putting ideas into their heads. What? If we are not teaching our girls to “love their children” at an early age, they are going to struggle when they become moms themselves.
Where does this come from? When did we go from a time when “children are a gift of the Lord” to children are a burden that should be put off as long as possible? When did “the fruit of the womb is a reward” become something we dare not say to young couples for fear they’ll have more than the 2.53 children/family that is common in the US today. Maybe it’s an arithmetic problem. When God said to be fruitful and multiply, some of us thought he meant to be fruitful and add.
We need to change the conversation. We need to start talking about the joys of parenting instead of the drudgery of parenting. We need to start referring to children (even the 6th) as a blessing from the Lord that we are honored and thankful to have in our lives. We need to be supportive of these young families realizing that we can have a positive impact on them that will turn around and be a blessing to us. We need to have babies and young children in our lives. We need to teach our children how to be parents — easily done if they witness their parents parenting their baby brother or sister or witness their older siblings parenting their nieces and nephews. Large families need to be encouraged, praised and welcomed into our lives. We need to thank God for these young families who are raising their many children to love Him and serve Him.
On a personal note let me just say, “Congratulations to Jacob and Stephanie and to Garrett and Jenna. Number five is going to be a blessing to you and to all those who have the privilege of being around them.”