Mike Berry writes from the heart about why we have kids.
Not everyone chooses to become a parent, but those who do become parents for many different reasons. Some, because they’ve dreamed of doing so since they were a little girl or boy. Others, because they want to make the world a better place. Some, because they didn’t take precautions with the relationship they were in. And others do it spitefully to get back at an ex-spouse or a disgruntled family member. It’s true. The birth mother of one of my sons became pregnant with him to get revenge on her family. While this was a terrible reason, I’m grateful she brought my son into the world!
Out of all the reasons people become parents, there are a few that stand out because they affect the very core of our being and impact the way we live life. Parenting with this kind of intention has the power to ripple into future generations and change the course of history.
We become parents …
1. To invest. Parenting is an opportunity to invest in the human race. It’s a chance to give back to a world that has given us so much. Plus, when we parent, we have the opportunity to invest in a new life, a life that, we hope, will go on to pour into other’s lives. When we parent, to invest, we’re investing for the long term.
2. To influence. As parents we are the greatest voice of influence in our child’s life. You may have a hard time believing that, depending on the stage you are in as a parent, but it’s true. Your son or daughter is taking life cues from you. They are studying you, watching you, listening to you, to determine how to live. When they’re young, they follow you everywhere and believe you hung the moon if you tell them so. When they become teenagers, your influence drops in strength, but it’s still present. Make no mistake about this. Culture and friendships become the greatest influencer from age 12 into their early 20’s, but you’re still on the list; it just doesn’t seem like it at times. That’s why I tell parents not to give up, even though it appears as though your kids couldn’t care less about your opinions and thoughts. Their teenage years are the time they need you the most. By staying consistent and steady in your parenting you are influencing your child on a deeper level than you can fathom.
3. To change the future. I believe parents are future-shapers. When you choose to invest in your child, and be a strong influence in their life, you change not only your child’s future but the future for everyone. You make the world a better place to live, now, and for generations to come. The world we live in spends a lot of time talking about the hopelessness that exists. Turn on any news station and you’ll hear an abundance of darkness and despair. Everything from crime, to poverty, to natural disasters. It’s quite depressing. It leaves one feeling as though there is no hope, nothing to believe in, and no way through the darkness. Enter the influence of a parent! When you choose to love, encourage, discipline, and lead your child through the storms of life, you change the future. The battle is long and hard, and seems un-ending. If you are raising a difficult teenager, it may seem like there’s no end in sight. Hang in there. Your parenting is telling a story that will echo into eternity.
4. To leave a legacy. It’s no secret that raising children establishes your legacy as a human being. That’s another reason people become parents. But parenting is also an opportunity to improve your legacy. I personally became a better person after I became a father, because I no longer had just myself or my wife to think about in life. I was responsible for keeping another human being alive, one who could not fend for herself. Not only did I become responsible for keeping my children alive and well, but also for raising them with integrity and character. These are traits that are taught, not caught. The legacy I leave through my children depends on the choice I make to live life with character and sound morals.
5. To enrich our family. We love being parents. We love our family and we are so grateful for each of our children. Their unique personalities and spirits are so fun to watch. They enrich our family more than we can measure. In fact, there would be a huge void for us if they were not in the picture. Parents identify with this, because you most likely feel the same way about your children.
Let’s just call parenting what it is- awesome! Yes it’s difficult, and there are many more dark days than good days, at times. But overall, it’s amazing to lead and love little human beings who are filled with wonder. Never take your days as a parent for granted. Before you know it, you will be dropping that baby girl or boy off at college or sitting next to your spouse at his or her wedding. The time we have with our children is very limited.
Just the other day I was looking at a picture of my daughter as an infant playing with the infant daughter of our best friends. They are both teenagers now. Even as I type those words I choke up. I don’t want to miss a moment. How about you?