I think I finally agree with the feminists that raising children is a waste of time. After all, anyone really can do it. So why not let a paid day care worker handle the messes, settle the squabbling, feed the babies, change the diapers and keep them happy so you can do something meaningful, contributing to society?
Few will come right out and say it like that, but they should. Why aren’t we being honest?
Motherhood isn’t treated like an important position-like a profession, because raising children isn’t important. And I agree.
In fact, raising children isn’t just unimportant, it’s exceedingly destructive.
What we should be doing is raising men and women. That’s real parenting. And that’s where we’ve missed it. Tragically. Monumentally. Ignorantly.
No one wants to raise children–and who can blame them? Raising children is cleaning up messes and never getting help. It’s settling squabbles and never seeing change. It’s changing diapers and laundry and preparing more food but it’s never more than that. It’s continually sacrificing for the needs of others with no reciprocating sacrifice and no reward. So we either hire someone else to do it, or we grit our teeth and suffer through it.
Now we have a crisis: a society raising children while few want to do the hard, but incredible work of raising people. Adults who will take our place as cogs in the wheel of life. Do you want to contribute to society? Every other profession pales in comparison to your contribution of raising men and women. Because everything depends on who we bring up to carry out life in the next generation. Everything.
But maybe more than that, we lost our ability to look past today and saw just a child with demanding physical needs, and forgot his becoming a person–a person of strength and courage and wisdom and love and compassion (if that’s what we put into him)–and how much that involved and how much it takes mothers and fathers and family pouring into the life of another person to ensure that he really becomes a whole person.
Instead, we have generations of people who grew up and remained children. Adult-children who get mad and have never learned how to handle anger or love their enemies and so they walk into companies and open fire at their “play mates” that hurt them.
Adult-children who blame everyone but themselves when things go wrong, and who fully expect the government to fix all their problems because no one ever taught them how to handle life and difficulty and change. They never learned to take responsibility for their actions, and believe they deserve whatever they want.They were given everything except the few things they really needed so now they borrow money to get the things to fill the void.
We’re surrounded by grown-up-children who never learned to be content with simple things, to find satisfaction in hard work and enjoy the crowning sunset at the end of a long day.
We have adult-children who are having their own children and they don’t like them because raising children is frustrating and this cycle spins at dizzying speed and we are all paying the price.
Oh that we would find our love and zeal and passion for raising people!
Do you know perhaps the most tragic part of all? Since we don’t see past this temporal busy-work that goes along side of raising children into people, children themselves have lost their worth. We don’t value children because we don’t value the process of raising them into whole men and women.
But there’s hope. Change starts with you and me. It’s easy even for those of us who do value the work of motherhood to get short-sighted and forget to see the men and women in the faces of our children. It’s easy to forget the shaping of lives that goes on in the midst of daily life, the lessons learned at a thousand places in the day. Anyone can raise children, but only committed, devoted, my-life-for-yours parents can raise people who will contribute significantly to the human race.
And then we can rally around other young parents and remind them of the life-work of pouring into the next generation for all of our sakes.
The monumental happens in the minutia. Raise people.
(If you need to renew your vision, get When Motherhood Feels Too Hard. Short, daily snippets of powerful reminders of what this business of raising men and women is about in the dailiness of life.)