Respect for my elders went out the window that day. I usually listened respectfully to one particular woman who was old enough to be my mother. I admired her homemaking skills and Biblical knowledge gathered from years of sermons or Bible studies. She knew her Bible. She also knew and embraced the social mantra, “Responsible families have only two children.”
My parents ignored that mantra. They had five children in less than seven years. Still, we heard the popular “two children” philosophy. Heard it enough to tell our mother, “We have too many kids in this family.”
“And which ones should we get rid of?” my mom asked looking around.
End of discussion.
About the time of last of us finished high school, the Supreme Court declared the legality of abortion. Very quickly we learned “it” was not a child, “it” was a choice to be weighed in the balance against education, career and “can we afford it on our income?”
A strange question considering the thousands of years families with very little have provided for more than two children. Meanwhile, in an era of excess clothes, food, entertainment, educational opportunities and help-wanted ads, people still emphasize the economic necessity of “two and through.”
My four had already entered high school and college when the mother of three announced her fourth pregnancy. Someone mentioned the pregnancy during a small group meeting where the mother of two and grandmother of far more than four “tsked,” put on her judgmental look and proclaimed, “Two is enough. They shouldn’t….”
That wasn’t the first time I had heard her say something like that. It was the first time I rashly burst out, “But we are Christians. As Christians we do not believe in the abortion to which your statement infers needs to happen. As Christians we cherish each child as a special gift from God and celebrate every new baby as a blessing.” I wasn’t even embarrassed for confronting her.
The meeting’s leader bit back a smile and studied the ground. The older woman closed her mouth abruptly and never, and I do mean NEVER, said anything like that again – at least not when I was around. Having said it once, those words waited for anyone who dared parrot the mantra, “too many children.” I echoed my mother’s response. “Which one don’t we need anymore?”
Consider that before declaring, “Not another child!” The parents obviously did not ask for your approval beforehand. They certainly don’t need it after conception. As believers in a God who forms each person in the womb, we need to step off the band wagon of today’s family planning guidelines and encourage the parents to cherish their third, fourth or even tenth child, whether planned or not.
I write that with the understanding that the message speaks only to those who profess belief in the Bible including Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”
As friends and neighbors we must strive to cherish and honor all children. Every infant promises a unique gift to the community.
If nothing else, each infant assures another possible person in the workforce and one more to care for the aging population. China mandated and enforced its One Child policy for decades. Parents wanted their one child to be a boy. So, they aborted girls. Reality came with a dwindling workforce and shrinking pool of eligible women for marriage. With godless leaders, the Chinese ignored the blessing of a full quiver. God never mandated “One and Done” or even “Two and Through.” He declared each child a heritage. So, embrace His heritage every time with a warm embrace and welcoming smile.