People think that children are “expensive.” Such people have a false sense of reality. This falsehood that they believe in stems from all of the propaganda that the world has been feeding America over the past several decades. To understand why people think they don’t have enough money to afford more children, one must understand one thing: the person who thinks children are expensive is basing that belief on his presuppositions of what he needs to give each child.
Being that I have 6 children, ages 8 and under, I speak to people often about children. We get comments everywhere we go as a family. Aside from all the idiotic comments like, “You sure have your hands full,” “You’re crazy,” and “I’m sure glad it’s you and not me,” I frequently hear people comment on how “expensive” and “difficult to deal with” girls are. They will tell me how terrible it is to raise a girl. Why do they think this? It is because of their presuppositions. They assume or presuppose that I am going to send my child to public schools (thus having the evil influences of their public school peers). They also assume I am going to stick my child in front of the degenerate tube (television) all day long, letting my daughter watch MTV, learning to imitate prostitutes like Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears. When you take these two things alone out of the picture, you won’t end up with the kind of daughters that these people describe as so unbearable.
The same error of presuppositions is found in the area of the cost of children. People assume that if you have children then obviously you have to pay for them to go to a high-end expensive college. You have to buy them all these expensive gifts and toys (particularly on Christmas). You also have to buy them an expensive instrument or telescope or video game system or home basketball hoop, and so on and so on.
I hope you all understand the point I’m trying to get across. By no means do I believe that buying these things is wrong. But if you cannot afford them, you don’t have to buy them. Some things in life they will have and some things they will not have. You might well be able to afford to buy them a telescope, but probably not a telescope and the expensive instrument.
But you might not be able to afford either. And that is okay. Your children will not die if they don’t have certain things, and they will not be “deprived” either. They won’t even be unhappy or unintelligent. Now it sure would be nice to have those things; they might assist you in achieving some of the goals you have for them. I’d sure love to be able to take my daughter on an expensive Father and Daughter Retreat, but currently I don’t have the money for that. So we settle for much simpler at-home or inexpensive versions of the same thing and my daughter loves me the same.
There was a book my mother often would read to me as a child. It was called “Bailey Goes Camping.” It was a story about a Rabbit Family. The two older children in the family were going on a real camping trip, but Bailey was too young to go. He pouted about not being able to do real camping. His father and mother attempted to encourage their young bunny child that it was okay, saying that soon he’d be old enough to go with them. When their attempts failed to cheer their son up, Papa thought of a great idea. “I’ll just create a realistic camping scenario right here at home,” he said. From roasting hot dogs, to marshmallows, to pretend bear hunting, and fishing in the bathtub, Papa and Mama did the best they could in the situation. Bailey was extremely excited and loved it, almost like the real thing.
Now in Bailey’s story, the reason for not getting what he wanted was him being too young. For you and me, it may be because we simply don’t have enough money to do what we’d like. But we can make the best of our situation with what we have and the children will still love us just as much. It is not the “real experience” that causes them to love us forever, but it is our spending time with them and loving them that will make them forever grateful. They want you, their parents, not the “things.” We all know this.
And best yet about such situations, your children will learn to be content with the simpler things of life and may even turn out to be better people in the end because of it. We all know what it’s like to see a spoiled brat child who gets everything he or she wants; we know how they turn out. And the next generation of children continue the cycle and come out even worse.
No, you don’t have to have two cars, and you don’t have to have a new car either (though it would be nice to have these things). And if you really honestly believe you need two cars, you can find an inexpensive solution to that also. There are vehicles on craigslist.com which are very inexpensive, and which basically anyone can afford. But you have to choose to make a responsible decision and not give into the lusts that dwell within you. Being weary myself with only one vehicle, and that we are often dependent upon relatives for rides and help when our van needs repaired, we have been considering buying a car that will just get me to work and back in desperate situations. I ran into some pretty decent Honda cars ranging from $700-$2000, all of which could get me from point A to B without many problems (and a Honda is very reliable even in old age).
Without fail, everyone to whom I talk who says that he cannot afford more children, or that he has to have both mother and father working; they all always either have two car payments, or they have an over-expensive car or house, or they have a similar scenario. It’s not that they cannot afford these things; it’s that the irresponsible lifestyle they are trying to maintain cannot afford these things. The fact is, they are unwilling to give up said lifestyle and therefore they cannot afford to do such and such. What they really mean is “If I am to maintain the lifestyle that I want and am unwilling to give up, I cannot afford to have more children.” And so materialism replaces the blessings and heritage (Psalm 127:3) that God would that you have.
We personally know a family who bemoans how they cannot afford to even have a second child because it’s just too expensive. Well, forgive me, but being that I know them very well, and know how much money they take in compared to me, I will say they can definitely afford it.
While they claim they cannot afford more children, they sure can afford their sixty-inch plasma TV with thousands of dollars worth of surround sound, not to mention the fifty-inch television that they had to move upstairs after they got their new TV. They can afford to have two vehicles, go out to eat often, and purchase a large collection of DVD’s. They can afford their satellite TV (costing around $60.00 a month), their $100.00 + cell phone plan, nights at the bar, expensive vacations, and so on. I laugh because the man of their home makes a good amount of money more than I do. And on top of this his wife also works and brings in a good chunk of change. But you cannot afford more than one child? What?! Baloney. You can afford it, but your lifestyle is a more important priority and more valuable than children in your eyes. I don’t buy it for a second. Maybe some people don’t have quite as obvious of a situation; nevertheless, the situations only vary in details and not in substance.
The above mentioned things are not a complete list of why you can afford to have more children (and just aren’t willing to admit it). I will admit, some of the problem may be due to lack of information, or in other words, ignorance. You may very well be ignorant to the fact that you can save a ton of money by becoming more self-sufficient. This is a topic to cover more completely on another day, but I will cover it briefly here. If you would learn to grow a lot of your own food, prepare your own food, buy and spend wisely (including buying more durable products – you get what you pay for) and use your children to your benefit, you will find that it is just not that expensive to have children. It just takes a lot of research, a lot of time and experience, a lot of effort, and a little bit of faith in the Sovereign God; the God who will not give you children for whom He will not personally provide.
If we are going to see serious progress in the task of dominion in our lifetime, we are all going to have to commit to throwing off excuses. Christian families need to start producing large godly families, who will in turn be the world-changers our society needs. We will not accomplish this task having few children while others (such as Muslims) have many children; especially when we are basing our entire reason for not having many children on falsehood and error. You can afford to have more children. And the Church and your People cannot afford for you not to have more children.