Monday, January 26, 2009

Children: Cost or Blessing?

I was watching the news this morning and heard a report in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was questioned about how the new economic stimulus package that she has promoted includes large amounts of money to be given toward contraception. And she was asked how in the world that is to stimulate the economy. She said:

Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

She was then given a second chance to reconsider that statement/thought. But said she has "no apologies."

I could not believe this. Mrs. Pelosi, regardless of what I think about other policies she promotes or what I think of the idea of economic stimulus, was suggesting that children are primarily cash-drainers from the economy. And I doubt that she is alone. Our society and way of thinking has become so self-centered that we think of children more as cost than as blessing. God has said that children are a "heritage from the Lord." But many of us see children as an expenditure that we just can't afford any more.

Now, I understand that there is some wisdom--at least in my opinion--to limiting the number of children one has. Not every family can or should have 18 children like the Duggar family. But I think that we do think far too much about children in economic terms and that we let our family planning revolve around finances far too much. I'm about to enter the world of parenthood, so I'm sure that I'll start to realize how much having a child can cost financially. But as believers in Christ, we are not to let money drive our lives. We serve the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and who has riches beyond what we could ever imagine. He can provide for every need we will ever have. We might not have as luxurious of a life--in worldly terms--with a family of six children as we would with a family of zero or one child. But we would have a larger family to love and probably more people entering the kingdom of God, sharing life together!

I don't know what the "ideal" family size is; there's probably not one. But I am sure that we need to be very cautious when we start noticing politicians--or ourselves in our more hidden thoughts--think that children are a cost to be avoided rather than a blessing to be welcomed.

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