The Reasons for Joy
Procreation or reproduction of offspring is in many societies the major objective of marriage. In those societies bearing children is considered the fruition of a marriage and infertility causes stigma among them. For those and other reasons, a new marriage couple or a previously childless couple can know no greater joy than getting a baby. The economic and other implications are offset by that unspeakable joy. Even in societies where procreation in marriage does not carry the same weight as above, the spontaneous love between parent and child (if children are produced) usually generates fulfillment and happiness. A MORE.com article kids-make-you-happier citing USA Today supports the idea that parenthood is a joy:
According to the newspaper, two recent studies have found that past research concluding that childless adults are happier than parents is “flawed”-and that the opposite is actually true for today’s moms and dads.1
Replenishing the earth
One of the responsibilities a married couple has is to co-work with God to replenish the earth by procreation. Those couples who consider child-bearing an inconvenience to their marriage are denying responsibility and depriving themselves of the joy and security children can bring to a marriage and to a person’s life generally. The responsibility of procreation extends to bringing up children in a manner that makes them good members of the human society. Parents therefore must instruct and discipline their children in love, teaching them what they are expected of as members of the family and of society.
The second responsibility parents have is to teach their children the family culture, that is the social, religious and moral values held by the parents and which the parents think will benefit the children and mentor them to be successful in life. King Solomon who is portrayed by the Bible as having been very wise, gave the following advice to parents: Teach children how they should live and they will remember it all their lives (Proverbs 22:6, GNB). It is important to know that this teaching has to start early in infancy and parents must remember that they can best teach children by example. For illustration, a parent will hardly convince a child that smoking is potentially dangerous to health or that quarrelsomeness is bad, if the parent is a habitual smoker or is quarrelsome. It is a solid fact that for a child to learn good manners from a parent, that child must find the parent to be a credible teacher. I made a similar observation in my book Be Connected to God:
The character of your child tomorrow depends much on the cultural and spiritual training you give him/ her today, especially by example.2
Still on bringing up children in the family culture, I know of a couple which practices hard but good principles in their family. Here are some of them: TV, Radio and like things, and all phones must be switched off or set in silent mode during Table Time or time of major meals and Family Prayers. This they argue helps the family to be together and concentrate respectfully on the “important” acts of eating and prayer. That is to say, in that family people don’t serve meals and then scatter to eat from bedrooms, living rooms and other rooms or places while engaged in competing activities. No, all members of the family must be at the dining table. Equally unacceptable is the habit of walking away from a prayer session for the purpose of receiving phone calls or reading text messages. As a result the children are well disciplined about those distractive attractions and they appreciate the family principles. Relatives and friends have come to know when to telephone members of that family.
Child Welfare and Education
The third responsibility of parents is the welfare and education of the children they have brought in the world. Let me summarize the explanation of the term “welfare” by listing a number of its synonyms: well-being, happiness, health, safety, prosperity; assistance, benefit, support. In short, parents must ensure that their children enjoy all these and must be concerned if they lack them. Education could be identified with welfare, but it deserves special emphasis because it matters most for a child to find a place in the world.
The joy of having children and the responsibility of bringing them up well are God’s blessing and assignment to parents (both biological and foster).
- 1 http://www.more.com/kids-make-you-happier
- 2 www.amazon.com./Be-Connected-God-Companion-Victorious-ebook/dp/B008CKJ65K