Children Are Not A Fashion Accessory

I don’t normally admit this out loud, but I was listening to NPR today.  I had a 45-minute wait late in the afternoon, and the AM radio reception was terrible.  Plus, my boss had been in the truck before me and left the radio on a different station.  So NPR it was, but I’ll deny having said it.

There was a fairly long segment on Talk of the Nation with a deputy editor of Marie Claire magazine about the stigma of mothers who voluntarily give up custody of their children.  I’ll be honest, it turned my stomach.  There was a great deal of intellectualization and justification being tossed about, and the end result was still the same:  In every case this editor studied, the mothers gave up their custody for no other reason than to pursue their own interests.

(Lest you think I’m picking solely on women, I’ll say that the following applies to both fathers and to mothers who walk away from the responsibility of raising their children.)

I’ve never been known for subtlety, so I’ll just come right out and say it:  When you make the decision to have sex and end up having a child, you don’t have the privilege of being selfish anymore.  The needs of the child you created outweigh any “rights” you feel entitled to.  You can couch it in whatever flowery language you want, but when you bring a child into the world, you accept an enormous responsibility.  If you abrogate that responsibility for any reason, you’re being a selfish jerk.

Did I make my feelings clear?

This bears repeating – Children are not a disposable accessory.  They are living human beings, and they are your responsibility.  They are a blessing from God, and you (as their parent) are their most important person.  It doesn’t matter if you want to be on the fast-track in your career.  I don’t care what language you use about being better for the kids if you’re happy.  All the talk about the parents “not being good together” is a bunch of selfish bunk.  They’re all lies from Satan himself to get you to believe that being selfish is somehow a virtue.

The dichotomy of living a Christian life is that it’s antithetical to everything that the world wants.  The world pursues money, and the Bible talks about the love of money being a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timoty 6:10).  The world says that you should buy whatever you want, and Jesus says “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)  The world says that you should fulfill yourself so that you can fulfill others, but the Apostle Paul writes “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2: 3-4, NIV, emphasis added)

The son of God came and devoted his life to serving other people.  Satan’s plan is to get you to focus on yourself.  You will find your true identity when you learn to serve and value others.  That includes your children.