Mother’s Day was winding down this past Sunday when I caught a glimpse in my home office of a photograph of my mom, who has been gone for over eleven years.
We had spent the day lauding my wife and mother-in-law, but now it was quiet, and my thoughts turned to the woman who gave me life and so much more. Her absence no longer brings sadness, though you never stop missing your mother.
All kinds of memories flooded my mind, and several made me laugh. Growing up, my mom always got a chuckle out of something I said when I was in my teens.
“I never knew my mother when she was young,” I told someone. I was alluding to the fact that my mom was forty when I was born. I was her sixth and last child. She suffered a miscarriage between children three and four.
Over the years, people have asked me if I were an “Oops Baby” – a crass term used to describe children born to parents who weren’t expecting them. I’ve never liked the reference, and for several reasons.
In God’s eyes, no child is a mistake. No baby is conceived without His permission.
Yet in today’s world, there exists a troubling tendency to believe that men and women control everything, including procreation.
This belief manifests itself in everything from the number of children some couples plan right down to their actual birth month. I’ve heard several women brag about planning spring babies in order to avoid carrying a child through the heat of summer. Others talk about spacing them apart. It’s a matter of debate as to what the ideal age gap might be.
But the consequences of assuming God’s seat goes well beyond family formation convenience. Fertility rates are rapidly declining all over the world, threatening not only the prosperity of societies but also their very existence.
There’s a reason that one of God’s first directives in the Bible is “to be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Left to our own selfishness, our flesh may not want the work and responsibilities that come with children. Just talk with those in cities where pets outnumber children, and you’ll hear a familiar refrain – “It’s easier to take care of a cat or dog than a child.”
Some suggest the directive in Genesis is outdated, but it’s just not the case. It’s a command that still applies today.
Many couples who deliberately wait to try for children may find themselves running out of time if things don’t go as planned. Others regret not trying for more children. After waiting too long, they sadly discover it’s too late.
Culture’s lies feed the fallacy that children are more a burden than blessing. Just count up how many stories talk about the cost of raising a family, paying medical bills or sending Junior to college. And then there is the silly nonsense about the heavy toll humans wreak on the environment.
The solution to many of the challenges facing us today isn’t fewer children – it’s more.
So, how might we boost the fertility rate in America? We might start by talking about children in a more favorable light. Stop talking about a child as being a mistake and instead as a gift and miracle.
President John F. Kennedy was right when he said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
Photo from Getty.