Sunday, June 17, 2012

Are children a financial burden too great to bare?

The fact that there is a monetary expense in rearing a child is not a new notion.  However, according to an article from Yahoo! news the cost is now close to a quarter of a million dollars.  This government report says that it has measured the total cost of raising a child in today’s economy until the age of 17 to be  $234.900, not including college expenses. 

As I read this article I immediately thought of the young men and women looking at the prospects of marriage and wondered how this supposed research would affect their family planning.  If they believe that the expense of simply raising one child would cost them a little more than $13,800 a year it is likely that they would wish to put off having children as long as possible.  Rather than looking to the blessing of children with the first year or two of marriage, they would likely look to ungodly methods to prevent childbirth.  To ensure they were not “surprised” with a child in addition to other contraceptives abortifacents, such a birth control pills, would likely play a factor in the lives of these uninformed couples.  Thus, if the Lord sovereignly superseded their attempts at preventing childbirth they would put the life of the child in danger by taking birth control and may themselves become the parents of a child who is forcibly miscarried by this horrific pill.

In addition, when they finally decided they wanted to have children the size of their family would be affected by this false research.  Looking at their household income they would factor in the $13K amount with the mountain of debt they most likely incurred during their first few years of wedded bliss.  They would think of all the plans they had, the trips they wanted to take, and the other desires in life and would likely come to the conclusion that the fewer children they had the more they could afford.

Truly our country has lost its bearings in regards to the family.  When we look at the teachings of Scripture in comparison to the world we see a contrast that is impossible to ignore.  The world touts the materialism of possession pulling many into mountains of debt while using mis-informed research such as this to pressure many into smaller families and some even decided to live lives devoid of children completely. 

But Scripture paints these issues in reverse order.  God says children are a blessing and a reward (Psalm 127:3) and debt is curse or blight upon the home (Deuteronomy 28:15, 43-44).  If they were any doubt as to how the world’s values line up with the Lord’s, this is enough evidence for the believer to know that we are called to a life of stark contrast to how the unregenerate live. 

When the importance of children is weighed against this proposed and apparently inflated cost we have begun to equate their lives as nothing more than a liability.  In the eyes of the world children are to be measured on the same level as any other economic venture.  I can personally attest to the ridiculous nature of this research.  As a father of six children on a military income, which is salary based, I can assure you that it does not cost the amount which these researchers propose to raise our children.

The problem with the research
How could such numbers be so grossly inflated?  The answer is much simpler than you may think and can be broken into two categories:  1) The entitlement mentality and 2) Confusing wants with needs.

The entitlement mentality is more pervasive with this existing generation than many are willing to admit.  I have personally witnessed young men and women entering the military, my branch in particular, who have been raised to believe that the world is in some way indebted to them.  Our government has been the primary fuel for this consuming fire.  With welfare numbers skyrocketing and new government “assistance” programs sliding through Congress on a regular basis, it is no wonder why the up and coming generation believes the way they do.  The entitlement mentality though stems from the second category of confusing wants and needs.

Spend even a little time with most people over the age of 50 and you will be blessed with stories of how they and their family were able to accomplish so much with so little.  In fact, a good friend of ours recently showed us the picture of the home where his parents raised him and his brother…in the wilds of Alaska.  He told me stories of how little they had to get by with but how satisfied they were.  Their home was simple, their needs were basic, but their hearts were warmed by the love their parents shared.  Now step into any local mall and watch as many of today’s parents buy the latest attractive trinket that catches their child’s eye.  Could it be that these are the parents who are responsible for such false research believing that they must provide their children with the most advanced tech and latest fashionable attire?

Had those who performed this research come to my home I would have gladly assisted them in their endeavors.  I would have also been willing to point them to other Christ-centered families of similar mindset.  But this type of data does not bring the readers and the government funding that they are accustomed to.  No this information would show that children are not a blight but a blessing.  Blessings which are to be treasured and raised to fear and admonition of the Lord.

There is a cost in raising children but it is the expense of time, love, and sincere study of the Word of God.  Such a cost should not be seen as burdensome but as a blessing sought after by the people of God.

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