As a baby boomer in the final season of life, the one thing I wish I could have told myself when I was 20-something is this: Have more kids.
America is suffering population stagnation. In the past decade, the United States population grew at the slowest rate since the Census began in 1790.
As of 2018, the fertility rate in the U.S. stood at 1,728 births per 1,000 women, which means that we are no longer replacing ourselves in America.
My wife and I have three adult children. Here are three reasons why I wish that we had more.
1. Children are a gift from God.
Psalm 127:3 states, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Being a dad has been the greatest honor of my life. No career accomplishment or award can compare to the love I have for my kids. I have laughed more, loved more and learned more about life by being a dad. So this verse has come true. My wife and I have truly been rewarded.
Therefore, I imagine that more children would have been more work but also more fun and more rewards.
2. Children are the best investment for your future.
Psalm 127:4 says, “Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” This means that just as arrows defend a warrior, children born to a young man will become mature enough to defend and care for you when you are old. This is the circle of life.
Just as it’s wise to plan for your financial future, it’s also wise to plan for your family’s future. Having children can alleviate loneliness in your old age. Oh sure, you can pay people to take care of you, but you can’t pay them to love you. That takes a relationship forged during a lifelong relationship.
3. Children fill your life with joy.
Continuing the analogy of children as arrows, Psalm 127:5 says, “How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them ….” My wife and I say we created our best friends. Of course, when our kids were young, I wasn’t their friend, I was their dad. There’s a difference. Friends are equals, but young children aren’t. There is an old saying, “Spoil your kids and you’ll raise your grandchildren. Raise your kids and you get to spoil your grandchildren.” That’s true.
Raising kids is not easy. It takes time, patience, grace and a lot of work along with some heartaches. But if you do it right, with God’s help, there is unspeakable joy.
According to the verse above, “Joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them,” means more children equals more joy. Our family has expanded which has added to our joy. Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men.” I have been crowned with grandchildren 11 times. Six are on earth, three are in heaven (miscarriages) and I have a daughter-in-law who is carrying twins. They are my pride and joy and the legacy I will leave behind.
Look, I’m not saying everyone should have 19 kids like the Duggars. I’m just saying that personally, I wish that I had listened to my wife and tried for number four or even five. Take it from me, life goes by very fast. So let me encourage those who are young and married to consider investing in your future and adding to your joy by having more children.•
Varvel is a political cartoonist and illustrator who retired from The Indianapolis Star last year. Send comments to [email protected]
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