Have you ever sat in amazement and wonder at your child (or children)? The utter beauty of their flawless skin and the hopeful light in their eyes….the huge smile that sends your heart pounding and your ever growing awe of all they have learned in such a short amount of time. The miracle that is your child is awesome; a precious gift to be admired and adored.
When you think of this precious gift do you take into account the ‘cost’ of it? Do we, or maybe should we, put a price on such a miracle? Does it matter if we have been praying for a child for years or if we end up surprised by a bundle of joy we weren’t expecting? Does that change the value? Can we put a monetary value on a child at all? Or maybe there are other “costs” involved that we really need to take into account….is there a return from our investment…is a child worth the cost? Is this even a question we should be entertaining?
I was told recently, during a conversation in which I mentioned casually the possibility of a third child being added to our family, that kids are so expensive. It was said in a way that definitely insinuated that having a third child was not ideal. Not quite knowing how to respond, I mentioned that there are a lot of financial choices and paths that can be taken to ensure a third child would not ruin us financially and this would be a blessing and not a burden. However I couldn’t shake the comment; it got to me because I wondered if this is how the world today thinks about a child. Are we equating a child to a new car these days? Are we really weighing out a child to the cost of it so as to say, well it is just too expensive I think I will pass on that. Are we really that caught up in monetary value that we go as far as to put that on a baby?
In thinking through this further I did think of the ‘cost’ of a child, but it wasn’t the monetary expense, but some other sacrifices that came to mind….so when adding to your family you might want to consider these costs before “purchase”:
*Time– Again you will never get enough. Parenting takes time from other tasks and so when you aren’t in the midst of being a parent you will be playing catch up on the other to do’s and daily upkeep of your house, work and (if you get the time) self.
*Social Life– What is this? Once you are a parent this becomes a past concept that you will refer to as “How did I do that back then?”– the ‘days you went out every weekend and stayed out until after midnight’ phenomenon and the ‘I had time to talk to friends on the phone for over an hour’ experience. You will get time with friends and peers, but usually it will be at play dates and only when a babysitter is available (and you will be home by 9…maybe 10 if you are lucky…or maybe not lucky…because sleep- see #1 above)
*Work– You will not be as on top of it, you will fall behind somewhat due to the responsibility of caring for another human. If not falling behind, than becoming stellar at getting a few hours’ work into a half hour to an hour’s time. It may also not be as detailed and perfect as you had been able to accomplish before, because time (see above).
*Heart– The first time you see this new person, you will never be the same. It will be as if your heart is walking around outside of your body. This new person will take your heart…for real. And when you add more than one new person, each one will take it and you really add up the cost.
*Sanity– Some days you will feel like an insane asylum sounds like a vacation. You may pull your hair out and not be able to function. It will be all you can do to not completely lose it and become totally crazy. The stress, the worry, the pain of parenting can be overwhelming and the cost to your well being can be high some days.
On the other side of this proverbial “coin”, if you will, your initial and continuing investment does come with some gains….so after the costs go through and continue to wear you down, you may experience the credits that adding to your family can bring:
*Perspective– There is nothing like having a child to completely change your world view…for the better. You see a miracle, you assist in a miracle and you then see other miracles too. You see the bigger picture and your views, thoughts, life are all changed because of it.
*Unexpected Moments– The daily moments become legendary. You would never imagine that a child’s smile could change your whole day or that you would relish so much in the correct usage of a spoon. You won’t know when you will get the first hug and I love you, but when you do you will cherish it forever. (and the rest of them from then on…)
*A Life– You will take pleasure in relaxing at home and your changed focus of family becomes a priority. Family days, movie nights, park afternoons and trips to Home Depot will become your life, but you will not want to change it for the world. You may look back on what you would be doing before kids and think ‘what if’, but your life will be one dreams are made of…there will be hard days, but overall you will not want to go back.
*Work– Parenting is work, but it is blessed, God-given service that will become part of who you are. Your priority and objectives will change to those of these little people in your care. You will see ‘work’ as just that, but you will see parenting as your life’s real handiwork. Your purpose and drive will be one set by the priorities of your new responsibility.
*Heart– The first time you see this new person, you will never be the same. Yes it (your heart) will be “walking around outside your body”, but it will also double in size. You will be amazed at the enormous amount of love you have for this little being (and the amount of love given back to you) and this will not change as they grow; because your heart continues to expand along with your children.
*Deeper Life Meaning/Understanding– You finally get it. Parenting has a way of making it all make sense. The connections are clear and the meaning of life, although not fully defined, definitely has more focus as you realize God is definitely here with us and the purpose of caring and living for others is made true in your life. Parenting has a way of making us better people and helping us understand what we are here for and what and WHO we live for…
So is the investment worth it?
Are the costs too high or do the credits outweigh the sacrifice?
Is there more to gain or more to lose?
Parenting is a huge life change; a sacrifice that can be overwhelming and scary. We try to prepare and even “talk ourselves out of” big life changes by telling ourselves that the cost is too high or we have too much to lose. Even others will try to impart their words of wisdom on us to possibly “help”, as is the case in my situation. But, as in everything in life, how will we know unless we move forward? Are we willing to stay safe, but miss out on extraordinary?
What would happen if we let go of our control over the outcome and let God give us incredible blessings that might never happen if we don’t trust and have faith.
Yes, kids are expensive. They are so expensive that they are unbelievably priceless. There is not a value that can be put on a child. The gift of a child is an amazing miracle and one that not everyone is given. I could not put a price tag on my children or any future children we may have, and the ‘credits’ of having a child far outweigh any costs that occur, be them monetary or not. This is not to say I am supporting irresponsibility, but I am supporting prayer and the consideration that God’s plans and control are so much better than our own.
It made me wonder also- What other priceless opportunities are we missing out on when we always have a “white knuckle” grip on the reins of our life? What kind of joy could be in my life that, but because of fear, I am holding at bay?
We may not have any more children and that would be fine, because I might be meant to be a mother of two and I am unbelievably grateful for my two incredible gifts. But I am open to the will of God in moving forward, and being led where His plan takes me.
Trust can be hard and faith is not easy, but whatever path you are being led to, whether it is more children or another opportunity you are being called to, I encourage you to listen to God and take it. He will provide and His plan is SO much better than we can imagine.
Priceless far outweighs the cost; the expense of “staying put” can incur regret and missed out on joy. Why risk it? Let go and let God…
As with everything in life, I would not trade in the possibility of amazing, just to stay secure. To stay secure may feel safe, but it is when you let go and believe, that you fly soaring on faith and unimaginable joy.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ‘ Jeremiah 29:11
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6
Has there been a time when He provided for you beyond what you thought was possible?
How has God shown you that a leap in faith can result in priceless joy?
Tell us about it in the comments!!