Tuesday, 17 July 2012
By Conrad Ma
One of the things that I struggle to believe these days is how children are a blessing. As I grew up as a Christian in the past decade, I've always been taught that children are a blessing. They are cute, they are a joy to work with and they bring alive my inner child as I work with them on the job. I work with kids for a living at the moment. I can say that I am at least part way there to becoming a daddy. For all my clients, I try to put as much as much care as I can. So I know children deserve and need love from a caretaker no matter what.
At first, I did believe Children are a blessing. But I ran into a few doubts. As I grow up to learn to manage a household, finances are a very important part of that. In Canada, there are a few estimates on how much it costs to raise a child from 0-18yrs. I found ranges from $166,000 - $182,000. I guess that depends on a lot of factors. But the point is that costs do add up when raising a child. (and is just this is just ONE child) It adds up to quite a bit per year if I am the man and sole breadwinner of the household. And of course depending on where you're reading this blog, the cost will vary. But for the most part, children cost a lot of money to raise.
So it is the cost that first got me to doubt whether Children are that much of a blessing or not. On a daily basis I deal with children with autism. For parents of these children I really feel for their situation. Some respond to therapy and others don't. And if those others don't, what happens? It's just tough. Getting back to the economics part of this post, there's the additional cost of therapy on top basic needs for these families.
Moving on to another part of my life, I also serve at the youth ministry at my local church. And one of the biggest things in youth ministry is conflict between parents and counsellors on how parents are leaving it up to the youth ministry to teach their kids. You know what? If our parents believe whole heartedly that children are a blessing, then why aren't they teaching their kids like they should be? Its not that I hate being a counsellor. In fact, I love getting to know all these youth. I can teach these kids all I know but I'm technically not their Mom and Dad and Moms and Dads should be just that...Moms and Dads..period.
Also, as I struggle through where I fit in this world as a 20 something, I struggle to figure out how it will all work out. When I go into workforce, my generation is already facing a lot of competition going for just one of those good paying jobs out there that would be able to provide. In addition, universities upped the admission averages and requirements to higher than ever. Its not just a degree that would get you a job. Now the magic word is a "Masters" degree.
So I look at that overall picture, and I wonder whether I should even bring a kid of my own into the picture with these seemingly scarce amount of resources out there. Some say that there is enough resources out there for everyone. We just have to manage it better. But can we seriously count on people to manage it better with how sinful and greedy we are? In North America, we have a upper-middle class living in 3000+ sqft homes with plenty of room to spare while there's children and families in Africa starving to death and living in next to nothing. Nevertheless, I can't seem to ignore the economics of everything.
To conclude, all these doubts I have can really be attributed back to a lack of faith in God and Jesus who I have come to know and love. Even for the tough situations I mentioned with my clients, I can see how special needs children can be a blessing in disguise. And really, all those economic things that I mentioned here are just things out of my control. It is only my faith in God's provision that I should be worrying about. Now, I can't say I am willing to think of kids of my own. But what I am willing to do is learn to have more faith in God.
Do you believe that Children are a blessing? What doubts have you been wrestling with?