As my middle expands to accommodate our fifth blessing, it's interesting to note the reactions of others to our happy news. Not all or even most reactions are necessarily negative, mind you, but there's this recurring theme of a "better you than me" attitude. It's clear to me that children are generally seen as more of a burden than a blessing in today's society. In a career driven world, they're a speed bump on the road to success. Even from a few stay at home moms, I've gotten the sad impression that the children coming home from school in the afternoon is an interruption to their day. These attitudes are a far cry from the biblical teaching that children are a blessing and a reward.
Before we go any further, I'm going to take a little detour. There are a few in the religious community that misapply this and other passages to condemn all forms of family planning, even "natural" family planning. While this author does have moral objections to some forms of pregnancy prevention, there is the matter of stewardship to consider. If you've followed this blog for long, you probably know the emphasis that the Bible places on planning and on being good stewards of our resources. Since most have limited resources, taking care to plan family size can be expedient to good stewardship.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to reconcile our attitudes toward children to God's view of them. I was listening to a ladies' seminar the other day, and the speaker said that our children are our first mission field. How true! Parents, let us strive to train and love our children with their eternal souls in mind. If we fail to adjust our attitudes, then we may just end up with children that are more of a burden than a blessing, and that will impact how others view children as well.
If you fall into the "others" category (you don’t, or no longer have children at home), your attitude toward children is important as well. Value the children in your congregation and encourage their parents. For a mother struggling to train young children to sit in worship, your prayers and encouraging words can give her the strength to continue her efforts. A loud sigh and an eye roll may make her want to hide out in the nursery instead! If you're able, be willing to teach or help out with children’s bible classes and VBS. Your loving attitude and involvement could have a major impact on our young ones, and the kingdom will benefit from your effort.