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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