The Benefits of Having Children

Yesterday’s post sparked a comment re: why not write a blog post about the benefits of having children? I wrote yesterday’s blog to show-case some of the  perceived challenges of being in ministry and raising a family. Those in the church may already know this, while others may not have given it much thought. While there may be some unique challenges in ministry, people were right in stating that very few have an “ideal” set-up when raising their family. Here’s a look at the benefits of having children no matter the profession, except maybe being a hit man.

Before I go there, I must confess that I feel a little awkward doing this. How can a person who has never had children write about their benefits? How can I even have a CLUE as to what it’s really like? Well, here goes, I’m going to give it a shot based on what I have heard from parents and what I have read.  Here’s what I’ve gleaned from others:

1. Children are an experience of a lifetime. If you can’t really know what it’s like until you have experienced it, then nothing else really compares.

2. Children can help a person improve for the better. Some people quit smoking as a result of having a child. Others throw out the junk food and try to eat a healthier diet. This can come from a place of realization of “money see, monkey do”. That children are watching to see if what mom and dad say matches up to what they actually do themselves. This reality causes some parents to want to be the best version of themselves.

3. Children bring family together. Suddenly the relatives that rarely pop in want to see you as much as possible.

4. Children open the doors to a community of people who totally get you (other parents). It’s an unofficial club with many benefits. Not only are they understanding when your child has a meltdown, they also want to get together for a play-date and they just met you!

5. Children let you relive some of your youth. You get to experience many 1st’s all over again!. You may remember the first movie you saw in a theater, first amusement park, first home-run, first whatever… you get to witness some pretty cool 1st’s through your child.

The list can go on and on. I’ve been told that many of the benefits are intangible. That you just have to experience it to know how great the benefits truly are. And that while it’s the hardest job you will ever do, it is also the very best.

This smile makes me smile!
This smile makes me smile!

Parents:  add to the list by leaving a comment below 🙂

Parent Confessions

My first parent confession happened several years ago. Out of seemingly nowhere, a father shared with me that if he could go back in time he would choose not to have children. This surprised me as he seemed to love children and was a doting and devoted father of two.

Recently,  I was out for lunch with an empty nester. She said the following to me, “I didn’t think it through before having children.” She stated that she was happy in her marriage and thought that the next logical step was to have a baby.  She shared with me that she didn’t think that the sacrifice was worth it in the end.

While I was surprised by the two “wouldn’t do it again” confessions, I found myself even more surprised by a different kind of statement.  In the lunchroom, a mother said to the group of us that she could see her life as equally fulfilled whether she had a biological child (she does), or adopted instead or had no children at all.

I am not sure why I was told these parent confessions. Maybe because we don’t have children? Maybe they saw me as a safe person to share their regrets with? Whatever the reason, it now causes me to pause when I hear people say,  “you’ll never regret it (children)”. The internet provides anonymous confessions by parents who say that they regret having children.  I wonder if a more accurate expression may be, “it’s likely that you won’t regret it – but I can’t say for certain, you just might.”