That beautiful little face you see covered in a crown of bubbles is my son, Vincent. He's adorable, isn't he? Always smiling, always happy, and always teaching me a thing or two about patience and loving life. He's amazing, and I'm thankful every day for him!
There are those, however, who look down on my decision to have children at all. Apparently it's much more "in vogue" to simply skip over having children altogether. It's chic to say "Ugh, kids? Never." It's considered "responsible" or "financially sound" to skip over diapers, bottles and saving for college tuition. In fact, there is a growing trend among young men and women to submit to invasive procedures that effectively halt any chance of children resulting from sex. I can't help but see this as an assault on the idea of family.
I understand there are those folks who are simply not cut out for children. This isn't directed at them. I do recognize, however, that there is a growing trend to demonize children as soul-sucking, snot-wielding little monsters who tornado through your meticulously planned life only to leave you penniless, dazed and old while your childless peers live it up as they travel the world, become CEOs or bask in the sun on their million dollar yachts.
Why is that? How have we gone from appreciating our children as blessings to viewing them as black holes of despair? I honestly feel Pope John Paul II hit the nail on the head with calling out our current Culture of Death. We no longer value human life. We no longer value the dignity of ourselves let alone others. We're so concerned with selfish ends that we scoff at anything that seems to negate those motives. Parenthood, at least when embraced correctly, is the exact opposite of selfish. Honestly, though, that's what marriage is supposed to be, too, and since we've lost sight of that, it makes sense that parenting also suffers.
In a proper marriage, two people come together with the express purpose of putting the needs of the other above their own. How often does this happen anymore? It doesn't, and that's why we've secured ourselves a divorce rate that's inching over 50% in this country. This foundation of selfishness, which was granted to us by our parents and, in some cases, our grandparents, has seeped into our culture as "normal." Our current and future generations are now victims of their own misguided selfishness, and as a result, children are viewed as obstacles to personal gain instead of gifts lovingly granted by God as a means to obtain more riches than we could ever imagine!
For example, a friend of mine is expecting her 3rd child. Everyone is up in arms about it. "THREE?!" they all say, incredulous. "Don't you think that's a bit much?" they ask. Ugh... I feel for her.
Then I've got another friend who had her first baby three weeks ago. It was a little boy and someone actually said, "Great, you got a son! Are you guys done now?"
How incredibly warped our sense of children has become! How incredibly senseless our comments have become when referring to them. It is heartbreaking and symptomatic of the selfishness and outright foolishness of our society.
There's a wonderful anecdote about Heaven and Hell. I don't know where it's from, so pardon my inability to cite sources.
A man is shown a vision of two rooms. In the first, a family sits around a large, circular table with a huge pot of the most delicious smelling stew perched at the center. Each person is holding an extremely long spoon to reach the central stew, but because the spoons are so long, they're unable to get the stew from the pot to their mouths. Each person around the table was increasingly miserable and thin, starving from the lack of food, cursing their horrid luck. The man quickly stepped into the next room.
This room, too, had a large circular table with a delicious stew perched in the center. The family around this table, also, had long spoons to reach the pot. Instead of trying to turn the spoons on themselves to eat, they simply fed one another, and each had their fill of food. Through this sharing experience, the mood was joyful, happiness enriched the air and true love was felt.
We've lost our sense of teamwork. Instead of working together for the greater good, we're taken with selfish motives, personal gain, arrogance and pride. We're unable to see that the tools we've been given are perfectly adequate for the job if only we'd use them properly! Children enrich us in ways impossible to fathom. They are instant joy, boundless wonder and endless inspiration. We don't see that as a society anymore because we're too concerned with how expensive they are. Plus, to have a child means to reorganize your social life priorities, and Heaven forbid we do that!
I've been asked to go out plenty of times since having my son (he's 22 months old now). I've courteously bowed out when I felt my obligation was to be home with him (whether he was sick, nursing, dealing with separation axiety, etc). I've been scoffed at, belittled and even lectured for my lack of selfishness. "That's what grandparents / babysitters are for," I'm told. "You need to get away from the kids so you can reclaim your sanity a few times a week," they say.
Funny that all of this "advice" comes from "friends" who have no children... or those who've handed off the better part of parenting to others so they could continue living the selfish lifestyle they've grown accustomed to. I also find it amusing that I'm told I "need" time away from my son because too much time with him is seen as "damaging" to me somehow.
I'm all for a little Me-Time now and again, but this constant thrust to place self above all else is a disturbing trend to me, and it's very much affecting our children and the way they are perceived. As a result, abortion is becoming more accepted, and our dignity as co-creators with God is lost through contraception and moral decay.
Dear God, again I ask... may Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. We need Your Spirit to guide us through this brilliantly masterminded treachery. Help us, St. Michael. Pray for us, Blessed Mother.