Who knew that having a third child would cause such a ruckus? I didn’t, that’s for sure. It’s been an interesting few days since finding out we are expecting another baby. A huge blessing and celebration, for sure, but also some interesting topics of conversation! People are really going to be mad when we have our sixth! Just kidding. OR AM I??? MUAHAHAHAHA. 😉
I happen to be reading a book called Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham. It’s very very good and is about raising our children to love God and not turn their back on Him once they leave the nest. One little section in the book was about the current views on larger families. By larger, I mean more than two kids. It was pretty interesting! With the first child, it’s a big party. With the second, another party, especially if you end up with a boy and a girl because then you’re congratulated on having your “perfect little family.” Then the third comes around, and people aren’t as excited, many start making rabbit jokes, and a few of them even start to voice concerns over whether you’re being responsible. What? Yah – turns out, that’s exactly what’s happening.
I don’t really mind the rabbit jokes. I’ve made a few similar comments already. 🙂 But I admit I was surprised by the rest. A general attitude of disapproval, shaking heads, or comments like “well as long as you can pay for their college education, then it’s alright I guess!” are beginning to come out. Really? Wow. It got me thinking.
First, when did kids become a burden that should only be introduced in the world if convenience and finances allow for it? I personally feel that there are only 3 factors that should impact whether or not we have more kids: 1) whether we feel God is leading us to have more or to stop, 2) whether Aaron and I are unified in our decision, and 3) whether we are bringing that child into a safe, loving, and nurturing environment where we can provide for them physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Having children to the point of being driven to poverty would be an unwise choice for us, obviously. Being unable to attend to them and provide a rich and joyous childhood would be tragic.
But paying for college? Low on the list of priorities, really. Don’t get me wrong… we are already saving for our kids’ college. But even if we were loaded and could pay for all of them to go to Harvard, we probably wouldn’t. First, we don’t believe we are obligated to pay for their college, although we do desire to help them in this way. But we also believe that the responsible thing to do as parents is require them to pay for it as well! Right now, we’re leaning toward the idea of trying to at least pay their living expenses during college so they don’t have to work during school, but it’s a ways away and we need to think/pray on it more and see what the future brings us financially. We may do more, we may do less. Here’s a great article by Moolanomy Personal Finance about this topic.
Apparently, this approach is seen as irresponsible by many people. It’s almost as if they believe it is better to abort a child or simply prevent pregnancy in order to avoid putting them through the hardship of paying for their own college or having to share a room with a sibling or two. In my opinon, the benefits of a loving and caring family, a childhood full of wonder and joy, the chance to live a rich and full life, the chance to love others and love God, and the chance to eventually go to heaven, FAR outweigh the burden of temporary debt and lack of privacy.
Am I crazy? Is it irresponsible to have children if you cannot hand them the world on a silver platter? I’d argue it’s irresponsible to be handing them that platter in the first place. The last thing the world needs is more children who grow up to be selfish, financially irresponsible, and believing that they are entitled to the good things in life without having to work for them.
I believe that regardless of how many children we choose to have and how we choose to help them financially, it is VASTLY more important that we raise them to be godly, reasonable, kind, compassionate, smart adults that love to serve others. It’s more important that we raise children who become world-changers! To love learning and education, to navigate relationships with grace, and to manage the issues of life with poise and integrity. To be world-wise… not of the world, but in it nonetheless.
Some would argue that having a large family is environmentally irresponsible or that education will be sacrificed. First, we intend to teach the value of living simply and frugally, not only out of necessity but also because it teaches selflessness and a kind of living that is responsible and reserved. We intend to teach our kids to be good stewards of the world and resources God has given us! Second, we intend to educate our children in such a way that maximizes their learning potential beyond what they would get otherwise. Education will be a way of life and treated as a responsibility and a privilege to be greatly pursued.
We believe that this is the right way to go for our family. We want to go against the tide of popular culture that raises kids to be egocentric, irresponsible brats but congratulates itself on being mature enough to only have one or two. Not that I have a strong opinon about this. 🙂
I am by no means implying that everyone SHOULD have a large family or that having a small one is in any way wrong. I am also certainly not implying that paying for your kids’ college is wrong or will, in itself, produce a spoiled brat. These are decisions that vary for different families! The point I’m trying to make is that how many children we have is not even remotely as critical as how we raise them. Whether you choose to have one child or many, my advice would be to ignore the pressures you get to have more or have less, follow God’s lead, and enjoy raising your kids for the Lord.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2