Have you read The Ridiculous cost of Raising Children, yet? It's unbelievable isn't it?
How can you afford to pay $4,450? Well, you aren't going to pay that. In fact, you're going to pay much more than that. Because it won't simply cost you money to raise children. It will also cost you Love.
What does that mean? Love is not supposed to cost anything. Love is just that good, warm feeling you get when people buy you presents, right. Um, no. Want to know the cost of Love? Talk to Jesus. Talk to a soldier who's lost their limbs or their sanity. Or talk to a mother about the breast feeding teething babies.
You will suffer and endure through sleepless nights. You will clear more fecal matter than you've ever imagined. And when they learn to speak, you will hear this child--whom you've made so many sacrifices for to provide them comfort, fun, shelter, food, toys, and experiences--tell you that they hate you.
Why would anyone go through this?! How can anyone justify the costs of raising children, which are physical, emotional, psychological, as well as financial? What's the return on this investment--financially speaking? Not much. Likely, not much. It will cost a ton and then most of their money will likely be paid forward out into society.
How can I be expected to pay for and work for these children with no financial incentive?!
Well, what are you options when you bring that child into the world? You can either outsource all of the child rearing to professionals or tell the toothless, scared, immobile child to be Independent, right? That would be the "Capitalist" thing to do. No where in our capitalistic culture are we taught to look out for the poor, hungry, and destitute. Poor people don't deserve to helped. Instead they should learn to be Independent. Regardless of addictions, past or present abuse, poor upbringing by unqualified parents, the burden of their despair shouldn't fall on the rest of us.
I work hard for my money so everyone else should have to, too!
That's the American Way!!!
Well, what about children? We have laws against them working in this country. (which--in our effort to protect them from exploitation--I actually think cripples them when it comes to understanding the role of work in our society, but that topic is for another day....)
So who does their work? All of us do. We work together, we have family, babysitters, and daycare. We do whatever is possible to help our children learn to be successful. We want our children to happy, healthy, productive members of society. So we do the work of raising them.
The cost of raising children is far more than money. It will cost you perspective. When you see a person with their hands full trying to get their children under control, you'll know what it feels like. You'll be less derisive and have more compassion.
You'll also be 100% invested. You'll be cheering for the success of your child, whether it's talking their first steps, catching a football, passing a class, or falling in love.
And no matter how hard the individual days and moments are--when you're barely hanging onto your sanity... When you look at the overall picture you start to understand what love is--and it's way rewarding than any financial investment.
I hope you're feeling emotional at this point. Because if you can't feel emotional about children, what can you fell emotional about?
At this point, I want to insert another idea. Please admit that raising children is a human necessity. Please admit that we need to be selfless enough to care sacrificially for the tiny helpless babes brought into this world. If you can open your heart to them, then considers these:
- drug addicted children
- kids caught in human trafficking
- physically and verbally abused children
What do we do about these kids? Do we leave them to learn to be independent? How do we expect them to become fully functional adults?
If I'm being honest, there are many days when I don't feel like a "fully functional" adult. I have days when I get caught in temptation to do something unethical, because it could be great financially. I have days when I don't want to be a parent. I have days when I don't want to go to work--or pay my bills--or mow my grass--or fix the house--or be neighborly. Some days I just want to stay in bed.
Do you ever feel like that?
Well, how about these kids with emotional behavior "disorders". In my book, that just means kids who struggle to deal with their emotions. I think I fall into that category. And it weren't for not only my parents, but other mentors and friends, I would never have turned into the man I am today.
I need people who have the courage to look me in the eye and tell me when I'm wrong. When I'm selfish. When I'm dishonest. When I 'm hurting. When I need to take a break. When I need to work harder. When I'm complaining more than I'm doing.
I've been through professional therapy at least 7 times and I only found it helpful once. One time I found a man who really listened and made me feel important enough to be cared about. He was new in his counseling career. He didn't have all of the tricks and knowledge of someone more tenured. He wasn't looking for patterns of behavior to systematically categorize my emotions and look for a counteractive pill.
He--some would say--"foolishly" shared personal experiences with me and tried to connect on a human level. It made all the difference in the world. See, I didn't need someone with all of the answers. I just needed someone to help me talk through my needs and my hurts so that I could start to understand where the gaps were in my life. What was causing the holes that I wanted to fill up with food or alcohol or TV or pornography?
Funny enough, I didn't see that professional counselor very much. But I learned from him that best counselor you can have is a friend who will care enough to listen. A friend will go shoot pool or go for a drive just listening to music. A friend who is bold enough to tell you the truth about what they hear you saying about yourself and how they see you acting.
As Americans we're taught it's important to go it alone and make your way in this world. But let's face it. The world is much bigger than one person. There's no way to accomplish everything expected of us on our own. We need friends. We need neighbors. Because otherwise life gets unbearable.
Now I'm going to go back.
The kids who grow up in broken homes--which if you look at the Divorce Rate, has got to be over 50% of kids in this country--may have emotional issues with feelings of unimportance. The kids who grow up in poverty (1 in 7) may struggle to know how to spend money and find stable employment. Kids who grow up around drug use are going to likely not have the greatest motivation or skills for coping with stress.
Should we leave these kids to be Independent? Should we trust that they will just figure it out? How about you? Have you figured out everything on your own? Do you think it would have been beneficial for you if an adult had taken an interest in you?
I believe mentoring is a basic human need. We need people outside of our families invest in us whether a coach, or a Sunday school teacher, or a just a neighbor. We need to care about each other. We need to spend time with each other. We have a Human need to be cared for. But see that's not American. We only take care of our own children for free. Not other kids.
And that's what hurts our country the most. When we don't help a kid with their problems--when we say "that kid is not my problem"--that's when we're fully embracing our American Ideals of Independence. That's when we're denying the same care and attention that we need as humans.
Doing work for Free is UnAmerican. So raising children is UnAmerican, but we make an exception for our own children because we're Human.
Now I encourage you to be Super UnAmerican and take on the challenge raise the children in your neighborhood. Do it for Free. Do it for Nothing. Do it when they tell you they hate you. Because if you discipline a child, they'll say that they hate you and see what you do. And guess what? If you still follow through and tell their parents, they'll learn respect for you. Because no mater what anyone says everyone wants to be cared about. And everyone knows what it feels like to be cared about.
There's a difference between a professional counselor and one who cares. (They aren't synonymous or antonymous) You can't fake it. You have to care. Don't care like a politician on a campaign trail. Care a like a mother who rooting for her child. Because there is a huge difference.
The difference is in the effectiveness.