The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox, C4FIC Board member.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord…” (Psalm 127: 3)
Almost every time my whole family goes anywhere in public, it happens. There are stares. There are elbow jabs and subtle head nods in our direction. Sometimes people look like poorly trained mimes, pointing at each of us and counting silently, moving their lips, “one… two… three…”
There are sometimes even comments. “Are those all yours?” “Do you know what causes that?” And my favorite, “Do you have a parade permit?”
As I have said in previous entries, my wife and I have seven children. And to answer your questions, “Yes, they are all ours.” “Yes, we know.” “No, we don’t need a parade permit, but that’s funny.”
Most of the time, people are curious or amazed. Every now and then, someone is genuinely appreciative of what they call our “courage.” We were even shocked once many years ago when our waiter at a local restaurant told us, “Someone has picked up your tab. Your meal is paid for.” We kept going to that restaurant every week for a year, hoping it would happen again, but … not really.
There have also been the occasions, and they have been few and far between, when someone takes it upon himself to question our good sense, our ethics, or even our morality. I remember a woman asking us why we would have so many children at a time when the world is “running out of resources.” I have been challenged by students who say, with all the sincerity in the world, that every family in America should be limited to two children.
A pastor from Texas said he was talking to a man he had just met, and the man introduced his three children as “Any, Minnie, and Miney.” The pastor looked at him funny, so the man continued, “We ain’t having no Moe.”
All of those comments point to an almost universal belief in America: children are not a blessing, they are a burden. Children are seen in our culture by many as an optional extra. I have met people who told me that they were not having kids, they were having dogs instead. Why, I asked? Because kids are more trouble!
I hear people say things like, “I will be glad when summer is over so these kids can go back to school!” Or, “I cannot wait to have these kids grown and gone so I can have a life again!” Or even, “It’s because of you kids that we don’t have a nicer house!”
We have graduated two from high school and one from college, and our youngest is seven, so we have a long way to go. But my wife and I would not trade with anybody else in the world. We believe what the Bible says, that “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” We believe that our lives have been richly blessed by our children, and that it will get even better as these young people we have trained in the fear and admonition of the Lord get married and begin to raise their own children. We believe that God will greatly use these young warriors to impact their culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Who knows? Perhaps one day, when all of us, parents, children and grandchildren go out in public together, we will need a parade permit. I hope so.
Prayer: “O Lord, my children are a blessing from You, not a burden, and I give You thanks for each one!”
Action: If you are not already in the habit, begin today praying for each of your children, by name, every day.