Kids: Burden or Joy?

My son reached his hand up to me, wanting to hold my hand while we walked down the sidewalk. I reached back and grasped onto his little fingers, realizing that this moment is not going to last forever. When he’s 15 years old, what will he think of holding his mom’s hand?! Surely this season won’t last forever, and it’s moments like these that do something to my heart that makes me feel like it could burst at times.

Lots of my friends are in the stage of having babies, and so my Facebook feed is often filled with comments like, “My heart is so full!” after new births. And for good reason.    

The Psalms tell us that “children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward,” (Psalm 127:3). They are gifts from our gracious God, bringing those who are blessed to be parents great honor and satisfaction.

This was confirmed in a recent study reported by CNN among the millennial generation of young men: “millennial fathers claimed significantly higher levels of satisfaction with their work and home lives than single men.” The article reports that those who were fathers “just seemed to have richer, more meaningful lives” and “were more satisfied… than their single counterparts.”

With more than 1/3 of millennials preferring not to become parents (citing various reasons, like not wanting to lose the flexibility that a child-free life affords them, and not wanting the major responsibilities that comes with being a parent), it’s interesting that this research has found that having kids might actually make a person more satisfied in life, not less.

Maybe Scripture is right: our children aren’t the burdens that we can so often feel like they are (especially in those really hard, really long days); rather, they are gifts from our good God, who has given them to us to steward and delight in. What if we saw our kids this way? Not as people we should worship and idolize (as is the tendency with every good gift we receive), not as solely those we must train, but as little people whom God has given us to enjoy. Even in the throes of raising and instructing young children, let’s treasure them, and enjoy these days that God has given us.

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