Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kids? To Have, or Not? How Many?--Part 2. . .Blog Day #23

So I am pro-kids. Have them, if you can.  If you can't, but want to, what better home for a needy unwanted child than one with a couple who passionately wants to raise up a new generation with love and safety.  Don't think about it.  Just take that leap of faith.  Children are blessings.  That is something the Bible will definitely support.

Now on to the issue of family size.

How many kids should you have?

Again, with today's convenient access to contraceptives and birth control, we have many ways to determine how many kids and when.

Again, I emphasize that just because we can choose, doesn't necessarily mean we should.  God is a good God.  He can and will take care of anything we need:

      Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
     But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
     Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.--Matthew 6:26-34 (NASB)

Okay, so I'm not totally advocating having as many babies as you can.  Having 12 kids, while doable, is not everyone's calling.  It wasn't mine.  But, then again, why not?  Like I said before, if that is what God wants me to do, and I am willing to do what He wants, then He is sure to provide us with what we need to get the job done.

But then again, 12 kids.  Or more?  It makes me shudder just to think about it. 
Let's just keep it simple. "Should we have another?" Take it one kid at a time.

Before I tell you my answer to the question. . .let's dispel three myths.

Myth #1: Our house is not big enough for more.
I have heard this said about people who have 2 children, thinking that they need one bedroom for each child.  If some rich person were to bequeth to me a 7 bedroom house, you won't see me refusing the incredible blessing. But having lived in a 3rd story 1100 square foot apartment with four small children, I will tell you that small spaces are doable.  Not always fun, but doable.  Children can share.  In fact, it is better for them to share.  And how advantagous for their future marriages.  All this to say, that what you have is probably sufficient.  If it provides adequate shelter, heat for the cold and air for the hot, electricity and running water. . .plus somewhere soft to sleep, then that is great.  It's more than what most of the world has.  Then add on a loving, warm, attentive, safe and Godly atmosphere and it becomes homeA big house, though helpful,  is not a requirement for having more children.  Nor should it be.

Myth #2:  We can't afford more.
Ok, so there are times when this is valid.  Husbands need to be responsible, and do what needs to be done to provide for their families.  If you don't have a job, and aren't looking for one, how will you provide for these small humans who cannot fend for themselves?  I understand these concerns. But, speaking from experience, what would your children be lacking?
  • Clothes?  Hand-me-downs are great.  And when they are older, they prefer to wear the same outfits over and over anyway. . .
  • Toys?  Wow, don't even get me started on toys.  Most of them don't get played with. I can't even tell you how many Polly Pocket shoes I've vacuumed, doll hair I've cleaned up, and Lego's I've thrown away.  My kids end up playing "pretend" most of the time. And forts can be made with their blankets and pillows.  And usually, when one sibling is obsessing over something, the others will too. Thomas the Train is fun at all ages!
  • Extra activites?  I have to be careful here, or I'll have to eat my own words. . .but they don't need to know how to do everything. (ouch).  Lately I have picked just a few things that are important to us. And we scrounge to pay for them. And some we have scholarships.  But, honestly, we could do away with everything and still be okay. Just don't tell my husband I said that.
  • Food? Ok, I admit that my refrigerator is often empty at the end of the month.  But, home cooking is yummy. And I feed the 5 kids on $150 a week.  In a culture that is obsessed with having your fill and more, we think we have to serve these giant portions and that any twinge of hunger is a bad thing.  Well, actually, I've found that it's ok for them to be a little hungry sometimes.  They are healthy children and can wait an hour for dinner (most of the time.). I cook a healthy meal with real ingredients, they are hungry and so it's tasty, and since it is healthy no one needs to eat as much as if you ate at MacDonald's. And you won't have to worry about eating out.  Because who in their right mind takes 3 or more children to a restaurant on a weekly basis?
So while it's important to provide for your family, check to see if it's abundance, security or cushion you are talking about.  If your current children have a room to themselves with so many toys that you could start your own toy library, then maybe another child won't actually be such a stretch. 

Myth #3: I don't think I can handle more.
I won't lie, parenting is hard.  But it is hard no matter what.   If you have one, he/she constantly demands your attention and sometimes has trouble interacting with peers.  If you have two, you'll feel divided in half while you try and juggle both children's needs. If you have three, you have more children than hands and you have to come up with a system to handle and control the chaos. If you have four. . .well, it's the same as three. Just noisier.  If you have five or more. change focus and your household becomes a team of contributors that you have to train, manage and oversee.  All family sizes difficult in their own way.  You don't think you can handle it? No one does. Yet, with prayer and God's strength, we do sufficiently.

So should you have another? I can't answer that for you. I can tell you that the more you think about it, the  more impossible it will seem.  So stop thinking it over.  If there is even one iota of willingness in your heart, I say to go for it.  Because when you are 50 and your child-bearing/rearing days are through, you'll never regret having the one more.  But you may regret not having one more.

Everyone's situation is different.  Every pregnancy is different, even for the same woman.  Every person has a different relationship with God. What He tells you is between you and Him.  Trust Him.  Obey Him.  He will never fail you.  Be open to what He wants. . .the outcome will be more wonderful than you can imagine. . .Just be sure that the issue of family size doesn't come from the world's list of requirements.  Having children can have eternal consequences. . .especially in your own walk with God. . .So let Him guide you. . .

Christmas 2010. .Don't ask me what's going on with Zoe. But there always has to be one kid who doesn't cooperate.

"Look Mommy!  I'm a knife!"

Camping with Daddy. Yes, without me. Totally do-able. . .

You do the best you can with the best you have. . .It all turns out fine in the end.


joy said...

Jia-Min - great, great, great words about about whose requirements are we living by as we raise kids - the world's or God's?! thank you so much for your honesty and forthrightness!

We are the Ganyos.... said...

I loved your point about parenting being difficult no matter the number of kids. So true, yet it's so easy to think otherwise. Great thoughts.