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    updated 8.29.11

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What Not To Say

Once in a while, fervently believing that children are an inheritance from the Lord gets me in trouble.

A few weeks ago, a stranger glanced at our tribe and raised an eyebrow.  This only happens when we leave the house.  In this case, though, I was in a conversation with the stranger, which opened the door to the question.

“Are these all yours?”

“Yes,” I replied.  “They’re all ours…”.  Knowing what he really meant, I went on.  “Some of them were adopted.”

A look of relief rested on his face for a minute, then he began to reminisce.  “After our two were grown, my wife talked about adoption for a while.   My wife said ‘we have the room and the time – why not?’….so I bought her a dog and she quit asking.”   He was obviously relieved that he was able to replace her desire to adopt with a boutique pooch that could be put in a kennel and had a shorter life expectancy than a human being.

It was at this point that I was reminded that Kelsey is essentially a much nicer person than I am….because she would have said nothing.  She may have thought something, but she wouldn’t have acted on it.  Again, we are not the same person.

“A dog?” I said with a smile, “That’s awesome!”

“Yeah, she really likes it.”

“That’s great!   And the best part, is when you’re old and in a nursing home, that dog will come visit you!”

Dead silence ensued.

I have a pretty high toleration for awkward, especially in the cases when I’m causing it.  I can let it hang there for all eternity, and in this case, the awkwardness was palpable.

Eventually, he responded with “Uh….yeah.  I see your point.”

In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have said it…the guy didn’t realize that to me, it felt like he was drawing a correlation between my children and his flea-bitten ankle biter.  Likewise, he probably didn’t know that his words were reflective of our culture, where children are a hobby or accessory rather than an extension of ourselves.

In a world that hard wires peoples’ happiness index to a bank account and a lot of free time, children are a drain of resources.   They are costly at the beginning, and then get more expensive as it goes on.   They don’t contribute much to the Gross Family Product, unless the family is interested in producing more than goods and services…like character or the future.

For this guy, the ache of his wife’s heart was satiated by the addition of Bowser, and so maybe good was done.  Perhaps people who ache at that level should have their needs satisfied the easiest way possible…but for those of you who cannot be satisfied by a Bichon Frise, who dream bigger than the second home or the Mercedes Benz, consider investing in children – yours or the children of others.

I’m not of the opinion that every family should adopt multiple children – or adopt at all, for that matter.  That’s a heavy yoke to put on people…and I don’t think you need to take children in to your home to make a difference.  Our lives are made doable by a host of people who come alongside to help out when we need it.  Our children are their inheritance too.

Weight it out, friends.   Invest heavily in what will outlive you.  In the end, you will live out your days with no regrets.

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10 Responses

  1. Amen…on many levels. Good thoughts. Thanks.

  2. “Invest heavily in what will outlive you. In the end, you will live out your days with no regrets.”

    There is always room for one more. I learned that from Derek Loux and Oscar Shindler.

  3. He got the point. What are people storing up for the future – now and for eternity?

  4. man that clip from schindler’s list is powerful. i want that deep of a revelation of urgency for sharing the gospel… “i could have got one more…” ahh.

    anyways, a post appeared in my readomatic today that i thought kind of paralleled nicely with this post and i thought i would share it.. http://anointedplace.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/dogs/

    i have to admit if i were in the conversation i might have said the same thing you did. :X

  5. Thank you for writing that! Such encouragement.

  6. This is why I love ya, my friend. I needed to be reminded of that today.

  7. Boy…that’s a good word….for humanity in general….and even more so for the church….you know….the people who are to take care of the least of these.

    Yeah…consider investing in children – yours or the children of others. And….Invest heavily in what will outlive you. are such socially & politically contemporaneous contradictory statements…but to profoundly laden with truth.

  8. I don’t normally comment, but this post really made me laugh =)

    And I could see Abba Daddy laughing too… delighting in His Bohlender tribe. Awesome.

  9. So sad that the truth may even be that this man’s wife maybe DID NOT have the ache in her heart met, but she knew it never would be, and just quit asking.

  10. This was a really good for me today. what a beautiful thought Investing in my children has an eternal return that no earthly economy can shake. i am privileged not burdened!

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