Well, my kids went back to school this week and turned a normal week into a hectic one with their magical schedule changes! But it’s been fun, exciting, new. For the first time all of our children are in school and watching them grow and try out their new roles, etc. is tremendously uplifting. I love the young men and women they are becoming. They also provided me with a pretty good segue into this portion of the series. One part of the definition of marriage is its place as the foundation for raising children.
The Bible says this about marriage and children:
Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?And what was the one Godseeking?Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.-Malachi 2:15
There is no question that in the past, marriage was inseparable from child rearing. When Malachi’s prophecy was penned you got married, you had kids; hopefully a lot of kids since they became the laborers in your family’s economic endeavors. Now, we have choices, and with choice has come change.
In the west, the birth rate is in decline. In fact, everywhere in the world where the finances and culture exist to allow contraception, the birth rate is in decline. Fewer and fewer people are opting to have children, and when they do it’s fewer and fewer children. Career choices, financial issues, a dropping marriage rate, a desire for personal freedom and body image/sexual choice issues have combined to make more and more of the folks in our culture decide against large families or having any children at all.
From a Christian viewpoint, original intent matters so if part of God’s plan for and definition of marriage is child rearing, we have to pay attention to that. That doesn’t mean everyone has to have nine kids like my brother or even four like me, but it does mean that we have to make our choices based on revelation not whim. It does mean that God created marriage, in part, as a foundation for raising children. Godly children carry the light of the gospel into the next generation and reach places we will never go.
This is an interesting conundrum for my brothers and sisters who don’t desire, or don’t feel called to have their own children, but one that can be answered. In a culture where ethical, disciplined, productive adults become more and more scarce; where a growing lower class struggles to even have a chance at a normal life; where more and more children are removed from their homes every year because of abuse, we have a responsibility.
The Letter from James in the New Testament says that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans. We have to remember that not all orphans are alone because of death, not anymore. There are multiple ways that married, foundational couples can be involved in the lives of children: adoption, fostering, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the list goes on. There are plenty of children who live in single parent situations who need to see correct interaction of the genders in a home setting. One couple that are good friends of Karin and I felt led, together, to not have children at all, yet they run a growing educational business that helps kids prep for and have a better chance at college. They are making a difference in the lives of children.
Many of the above truths are applicable to folks outside of my faith. Plus we have to remember, we have been fortunate (I usually say blessed) to grow up in a good culture. It’s reasonably tolerant and balanced, and the inequities that still claim us, we try to rectify over the course of years. We are a creative, inventive, roughshod, independent people who have made a difference in the world time and again the last two centuries. Some thought should be given to passing the torch to children we have raised in the spirit of what we believe to be true. Some of you will think that I’m just throwing off jingoistic nonsense when I say that, but consider: Why does a huge portion of the world hate us and another huge portion want to be us? We have some burden, responsibility to our society to not only perpetuate it through our children, but also to improve it by their presence….
and, arrogantly of course, to send our own opinions into the future.
That ought to get some response, looking forward to hearing from you.