I've been thinking a lot lately about the value we place on children. While working through the adoption process of our daughter that we brought home at Christmas time I read much on the one child policy in China as well as the culture both in books and on the Internet. It amazed me how little they value the lives of these girls. But how different are we here in the States?
Not too long ago I heard this message by Dr. Voddie Baucham. It has been heart changing both for our ministry as well pointing out flawed thoughts I have had. Please go listen to the message. I did not even realized I had some these opinions until I heard this message. But in the months since I heard this message and returning from China I wonder how different are we really from China? No, we do not abandon our children like they do, but there are so many other ways that we show a lack of valuing children. We do not treat them as the gift the Bible tells us they are. I know that I am included in making negative comments about large families (and we ourselves are one). Comments like 'I can't believe they are having ANOTHER baby'. We should rejoice when God chooses to bless a family with a child, no matter how many others they have. God is control of knitting every child together in his mother's womb, or do I believe that I have some control?
This subject really hit home with me in the past couple days. I saw such stark contrasts in two situations. A good friend of mine who I would consider a very godly woman told me that she babysat for a 6 week old baby. She did not say much about the child, just shook her head and laughed and said 'I am so glad it is not mine.' This woman has two kids 9 and 12. The other situation I saw at Lifesong. The video of. Baby Eliot was amazing. What a difference in attitude and perspective. You may say 'but that was their first child', or 'yeah, but that child died'. But do we value children, our children and the children we are in contact with like the blessings and treasures that they are? How this family celebrated each day of Eliot's life blessed me as I watched.
This attitude has been evident with our youngest daughter. She has been much more challenging than I thought she would be. Don't get me wrong, she is wonderful and I love her more than words can tell you. But she is still a baby and I forgot how much work babies are ;o) Friends have made comments like 'Well, you asked for it' and 'I am so glad it is you and not me'. I know in their hearts they don't mean it like I should have left her in China, but that is how it comes across. The attitude is 'life is easier without children, or at least not a lot of children'. I think this breaks the heart of God. Shouldn't we as believers live and act like we believe the Truth that children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord? Maybe we don't abandon them to orphanages, but we abort them because of convenience or circumstance not because of government enforcement. We send them to daycare so we can make more money. We put them in front of the television or computer so we don't have to deal with them.
In Dr. Bauchaum's message he makes the statement that the motto in the church is 'A boy for me, a girl for you, and thank the Lord we are finally through.' have also seen this attitude in Christians who question homeschooling saying 'I would rather shave my eyebrows off than school my kids.' or comment on how long the summer is going to be. Counting down the days til school starts again. This is not valuing children. This is dealing with them. I will be the first to say raising children is hard, hard work. But let's act like these children are the gifts they are, especially those of us in the faith.