The joy of parenting? You’ve got to be kidding! (part 1)
I apologize for the video. Let me be clear, I am not endorsing the product and I think the whole idea behind the video is appalling. However, the fact that this commercial was made and that people find it funny or appropriate, perfectly illustrates the point of my next few posts. Many people today believe that kids are generally horrible, that parenting is a huge thankless burden, and that having kids should be avoided. According to many statistical reports that I’ve viewed, the percentage of couples who are choosing not to have kids is increasing significantly ever year. So did God tell us to be fruitful and multiply so we could spend 20 years being miserable? Not! God meant parenting to be a joy not a burden.
I love it that the first recorded words of God to humankind are all about the joy of parenting;
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number.” (Genesis 1:28)
Please notice that not only did God’s first recorded message to us concern children, but he stated it as a blessing not as a burden: “God BLESSED them and said…”
Recently someone told me of a couple who declared that they had decided not to have children because they enjoyed their freedom and lifestyle too much and wanted to remain selfish about it. Although I admire this couple for recognizing their shortcomings, they have their wires severely crossed. Having children and raising them God’s way is not a burden – it’s a gift and a blessing from God. If that couple knew what a blessing it could be, they would jump at the chance to have children and thereby enrich their lives. Yes, raising children is a responsibility; every blessing comes with responsibilities. Having a lot of money is a huge responsibility, but who would refuse a million dollars because of the responsibilities that come along with it?
However, if you were raised in a family that went from rags to riches and you saw the money rip your family apart and create endless pain, would your attitude towards the gift of a million dollars be different? If I am guessing correctly, most of us would say that it wasn’t the money that caused the problem but the way the people involved responded to the money.
Many young people today are shying away from having children because they themselves have seen more pain and problems in the parenting process then blessings. Yet, it’s not parenting or having kids that caused the pain and problems, it’s often no knowledge of the way that God tells us to parent and/or just uninformed parenting that is the problem.
It always amazes me how so many people will get a coach, teacher, trainer and/or take a class or course when they want to learn anything from gourmet cooking to surfing, but when it comes to parenting, they think they can do a great job without making any effort to learn how. Not to long ago a woman told me that she believed that parenting was intuitive and therefore no one needed to learn it. If this were true, there would be no bad parenting because we’d all do it well intuitively. Unfortunately, there’s more bad parenting going on then good. Some aspects of nurture are intuitive, but the vast majority of what makes a good parent needs to be learned.
We need to get a message to those who, for the pain and problems that they’ve experienced or seen, are running from having kids. Parenting can be a joy if we apply ourselves to learning and growing as a parent. A good parenting book or parenting course will do for your parenting experience what a gourmet cooking course will do for your cooking experience. When God said that children were a blessing, he was assuming that we’d be getting his help and wisdom and learning from others who had done the same.
With this post and my next few, I want to explore what the Bible says about the joy of parenting. I’m spending time on this because I’ve found that when we understand how God views parenting, it helps us to make adjustments in our actions and attitudes and sometimes it’s those adjustments that make a huge difference in how we approach parenting. I also want to equip the Body so that they can respond, and lovingly instruct those in this generation that are shying away from having children for the wrong reasons. Those who would find truth and humor in the opening video instead of error and sadness.
For more practical and Biblical Christian Parenting ideas, we recommend the Christian resource, “The Seven Mistakes Parents of Toddlers Make”
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)