A couple weeks ago, Time Magazine had a article titled Having It All Without Children. Suffice to say the following quote summarizes the entire piece quit accurately:
Even so, women who choose not to become mothers are finding new paths of acceptance. As their ranks rise, so do positive attitudes about leading a life in which having it all doesn’t mean having a baby.
Now, I’m not a woman, but I am a father. When I saw this headline pop up in my facebook feed, I was surprised to see that several people had commented in favor of its stance. In fact, every commenter agreed that not having children was the best decision they had never made.
To make matters worse, I was the only one to contend that having children was the single greatest thing that had ever happened to me.
And so, the following 6 reasons why everyone should have kids are my response to said commenters and pesky online article:
1. Kids change your perspective on the world
Before my wife and I found out we were expecting, we were world travelers and success seekers. We spent our time and energy attempting to discover and, to an extent, defy the world. When our first child was born, we held her in our hands and became servants to something much greater. Indeed, the entire world was now in our hands.
2. Children can regulate your diet well
When I was in college (and for several years thereafter), I could survive on Ramen Noodles and hot dogs. I was 6’4” and 180 pounds of skinny. When I married my wife, my eating habits got better, but a missionary year in Mexico thwarted our health efforts as we had to adhere to a missionary’s diet.
All that changed when we came back to the States and began to have children. Our diets mirrored that of our kids’. We began to eat the right stuff at the right times because we wanted our young’ns to grow up healthy. As a result, we too became healthy.
3. Children build your muscles
Every time I pick up my daughters, I’m reminded of Stanley Yelnats’ great-great-great grandfather from the book Holes. He had to carry a pig up a mountain every day for several years and, as the pig got fatter, Stanley’s great-great-great grandfather got stronger.
I carry, run, bounce, toss, tackle, tickle, hop, squat and bench press my kids 100+ times a day. In fact, I was a collegiate athlete and being a father has proven to be just as, if not more effective in my muscle retention than when i was training 6 days a week, 5 hours a day.
4. Babies make you more flexible
Between 3 a.m. wakeup calls, toddler gymnastics, weekend visits to grandma and grandpa’s house and constant birthday parties, your schedule after having children gets packed. How you find ways to give of yourself and still find time for your spouse, hobbies and work defines your physical and mental stability. Creating an effective, yet flexible schedule becomes Do-or-Die for parents and, for the most part, the majority to indeed do.
5. Your own children make you concerned for the future
I never was a political guy. I never voted, I cared little about the environment and my religious beliefs were very personal. When my family began to multiply, their well-being became my number one priority and that included their safety long after I would leave them in death.
The decisions I make now reverberate into eternity and as such, I’ve recognized and taken on more positions of power within my community to make sure the world is a better place for my kids. Ultimately, my mission is to make sure that they get to heaven
6. Kids make you happier.
True love is defined by Christ as the limit by which you are willing to give of yourself to another (John 15:13). There is something about the love a parent has for their child that supersedes all other loves, even the love one has for their spouse. You see, when two people who love each other bear the fruit of their love in children, the result is an eternal echo of humble service that both mother and father are called to complete by God Himself. Children require both parents to sacrifice their own selfish desires daily. In these sacrifices there is found an eternal return of smiles, giggles, hugs and snuggles. In short, in children, couples find celestial joy.
In conclusion, I have no problem with a couple’s decision to not have children if they do not desire. However, I’ve come to the realization that there is no better way to get to heaven than by exercising the necessary patience, self-control, understanding and happiness that being a parent requires.
I’m sure your parents would say the same.