Where Are The Children?

Lo, children are a heritage
of the Lord, and the fruit  
of the womb is His reward.
Psalm 127:3    

Years ago, people knew that children were a gift from God. Children were special, and had to be protected and taken care of, and taught to be useful and productive members of society. Everyone knew that children required both a Mom and a Dad, as well as a full time commitment from those two parents, who usually did everything they could to meet the needs of their children. Most people believed children were their number one priority, and acted accordingly.

Somewhere along the way, we've lost that knowlege. Somehow, we've gotten to a point where children are really low on our priority list. Somehow we've gotten the idea that children don't need to be our primary focus; that our jobs are more important--- we have to climb that career ladder. We justify it by saying it's to make a better living for our children, but that's nothing more than self-serving delusion. Or we've bought into the idea that life has so much more to offer, and being is parent is only a minor committment, or no committment at all.

We've bought the garbage pushed by feminists, gay rights activists, and humanists who claim that a child doesn't need a Mom and a Dad; he or she can have only a mom, or two Moms or two Dads, or even be raised in a commune-type household, or public day-care centers; any of the above are equally sufficient. They have pushed the idea for a few decades now that children can pretty much raise themselves; in fact, even if we spend only an hour a week with them that's okay, as long as it is "quality time".

We may say our children are our main priority, but our actions just don't match our words. Moms say they just have to go to work. Many are single mothers trying to support a child (or children) by themselves. So many fathers are nothing more than child-support checks these days; some are not even that much. And women somehow have learned to accept this. They do not demand, nor even really expect, that the fathers of their children take full responsibility for the child. "Who needs 'em, anyway?" seems to be the prevailing attitude toward fathers.

Even when the father is in the picture, young women think they just can't survive on just the father's income. We are not willing to do without luxuries like a new car or a new and bigger SUV or a bigger house. We work hard, so we want to play hard, too, and we have to have things to help us relax--- expensive toys and expensive vacations. And we have to build our portfolio; that 401K will help us to retire at age 50 with a millions bucks or more.

We won't even do without all the little conveniences, like cell phones, pagers, DVD players, home theaters with surround sound, laptops and palm pilots. No wonder almost every mom has to go to work! We aren't willing to do without anything! And forget about waiting until the kids are grown--- we live in an age of instant gratification. We want to start right out with all the things it took our parents 30 years to acquire.

We have to "dress for success" in expensive name brands; we have to look the part or we'll never make the inside track. We have to eat out several nights a week, because who has time to cook, when we have to work all week and rush, rush, rush to do everything else we want to get done. Probably half of whatever we make goes for work-related expenses like clothing and eathing out.

So women, the givers of life, the keepers of the home and the very heart of the family, go out to work, and leave even tiny infants in the care of others. These others may or may not be licensed by the state, they may or may not be qualified to care for children, and they may or may not even LIKE children; but we leave these precious gifts from God with them. One thing's for certain: They do not have the same love and care for a child that it's parents have, or should have. But we leave our children with them anyway.

All our words aside, the sad but true fact is, we are a selfish, self-indulgent, greedy generation who put our own wants and needs above those of our children. . We make noises about spending "quality time" with our children, but the reality is that we see them for a couple hours after work and on weekends, and we are so busy even then that they are mostly pushed aside and ignored. What does that say about our priorities?

We aren't willing to make sacrifices or to put in the time, energy and commitment it takes to rear our children, those precious and wonderful gifts from God. Instead, we pay someone else to do it. The results? We have more and bigger and better things, but our children are winding up in the garbage heaps of our lives. Their lives are being ruined and wasted, because we are so greedy and self-centered that we can't even take the time to take care of our own children.

More and more children are physically, emotionally, and sexually abused every year. The very people we trust to care for our precious children are most often the culprits. More and more children every year, at younger and younger ages, suffer emotional problems ranging from depression to self-destruction. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers are seeing younger and younger children in greater numbers than ever before. More and younger children every year are committing terrible acts of violence against their peers and their parents. What was once unheard of has become all too commonplace.

Is it any wonder that our children are full of anxiety, depression, anger, rage, and even hatred? Who can blame them? When we as parents abdicate our responsibility to our children; when we allow others to raise our children according to whatever the prevailing theory is at the moment; when we give our jobs and our "things" a higher priority than our children, what else can we possibly expect?