Deciding to bring children into the world takes great thought, and sometimes, soul searching reflection. For a married couple, raising another human being requires unselfish acts and integrity. It requires unselfishness for sacrificing what an adult would rather do for the time to be a parent to their children, and integrity for maintaining the correct choices in parenting a child.
Not everyone is willing to be a parent, so prayerfully considering whether to add a child into a home rests only on a couple’s shoulders. The truth is raising children is a great responsibility, but it is also the most important job we can ever have. It won’t be easy but it is well worth the time.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World says: “’Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (from Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.”
Parents who teach correct principles and live to serve their fellow man bring a peace and happiness to themselves and others. Yet many people who watch the acts of a family from the outside might judge too harshly at how parents raise their children. Ultimately decisions on how to handle difficult situations and consequences for children’s decisions are the choice of the parent. Some people might even judge the wisdom of having as many children as a couple can have. But this is the decision of the couple.
I can testify to anyone who asks me if I have ever regretted raising nine children and the answer would have to be a big no. Yes, there were stressful times and little money to go around. Yes, the older siblings would take care of the younger ones when we felt burned out. Yes, our time is stretched to the limit, but as parents learn to deal with all of their children, along with the challenges, they learn to be better people. The blessings of bringing children into a home are countless.
- We all become very unselfish. What we bring away from our earthly experience is character development and knowledge. We learn to have patience and share with those around us who don’t have as much. We learn that human relationships are important enough to share with others.
- We realize how unimportant material possessions are and find personal relationships more fullfilling. What is really important are people. Spending time with those we love is much better than spending money on things that eventually will not exist. Material possessions are inanimate objects. People have feelings and concerns and can love another person.
- We learn to manage our time better so we can spend more of it with each other. This is a never ending process and parents learn quickly that time spent with children is more important than doing other tasks. The rewards for a good relationship with a child far outweigh the time spent in doing other things.
We learn to sacrifice for each other which help us grow closer together. Sacrifice is a difficult virtue to learn. Humans are naturally selfish and want what is best for themselves but life has no meaning if we think only about ourselves. There is a time for everything and it might seem that we will never get what we want for ourselves but as children grow and learn by the good example of their parents, the blessing of sacrifice is passed down to the next generation.
An LDS Church leader, Jeffrey Holland says: “I testify that bad days come to an end, that faith always triumphs, and that heavenly promises are always kept,” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Lessons from Liberty Jail, CES Fireside given on September 7, 2008, at Brigham Young University).
Life is lived in the best way we know how, with all of its challenges and all of its happiness. We are blessed for sacrificing for another human being. It’s just a matter of whether we realize this in time to make a difference in our own families.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.