I saw a news report this morning that told of a restaurant which no longer allowed children under the age of 6. In the report they spoke of an airline that no longer allowed children in 1st class (this would never be a problem for our family). They finished the report by saying that the “no kids allowed” moniker is becoming a real selling point for restaurants and leisure activities in the market place.
Now, I certainly agree that kids don’t belong everywhere. And some parents make it more difficult for others because they haven’t taught their children to behave in certain situations. But…
From the news story, the trend highlights that there may be a growing culture that devalues children. For many, children are an interruption for career plans. Or, they are a burden on society. This reminds me of a time a single man kept calling my wife and I “breeders” because we had so many children. And he was offended that we would receive tax exemptions for our children because he didn’t get that same benefit (I had to remind him that I was raising future taxpayers and it might help with his Medicare someday).
Kids aren’t easy! But nothing of great value is easy.
1) Children remind us that life is bigger than us! The world is not about me and my needs, or my wants. If we do it well, parenting forces us to live beyond our own desires.
2) Children communicate that we are a people who have hope. We have children because we believe, no matter how dark the world gets, there is a future and it can be brighter if we raise our children well. And if we show them how to love a Savior who holds the future.
3) And simply put, “children are people!” And people are important! As children, they have unique needs but they also add special joys. Their thoughts and feelings add to our lives. How many times have we been challenged to be better people because of wisdom spouted by a 3 year old? (too many to count for me)
4) Their faith is real. They believe in God better than we do. They pray more honest prayers. They hope for more than we do. They trust God for bigger things.
I tease a lot about the 4 rug-rats that grew up in my home. But the truth is, I would have been a sadder, more selfish man with less faith, without them! And the world would be an emptier place. Maybe that’s why Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me (Mark 9:37).” When we value kids, we value the God who gave them to us.
So, the next time you’re bothered by the inconvenience a child brings – – hug ’em and be glad they’re here! And remember, as you welcome them, you welcome Jesus and you welcome the Father in heaven!