A few weeks ago I came across an article on the Internet entitled, “10 Great Neighborhoods for Childless Adults”. The article featured various neighborhoods across the United States where families with children were either in the minority or the community lifestyles and/or amenities were such that they were not particularly “family nor child friendly”. I noticed that the among the wonderful attributes of these neighborhoods, there were an abundance of bars, clubs, and taverns. True, there are empty-nesters and single adults who may prefer the type of neighborhood that would cater to their social tastes and needs; I for one would enjoy an urban atmosphere–but not without the joy (yes!) and spice in life that children bring.
One person in the report spoke of “choosing to be child-free”, and frankly, I think that is sad. What I see more of these days is a distaste for children in general and of course, there is a abhorence and hatred (abortion) of babies. We are constantly admonished to “save the planet for our children and our children’s children”, but of course, that would only be the children who are deemed worthy of being born. Thank you, Roe VS Wade.
When I come across adults who detest children, I often wonder, were they ever a child? Were they ever dependent on an adult at some point? Did a mother or father ever change their messy diaper or wipe their nose, bathe them, protect them, love them? Did they ever need someone to provide food or a roof over their head, or take them to the doctor or help them through school? They didn’t just appear as fully functioning totally independent adults. Don’t they realize that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders? I know it’s possible that in 20 years, the child down the street from me could very well be the grown adult who takes care of my needs in a nursing home–I plan on treating children well.
Where there are no children, there is no life! In the town I moved from, two young boys across the street often played basketball in their driveway with their friends from school. I loved having my kitchen window open, listening to them and seeing them enjoy life. I watched for eleven years, as they grew, and then finally, last summer, left home. I feel like it was a privilege to have witnessed life right before my eyes. I would often see little girls play together at the house on the corner; they dressed up, pushed their dolls in strollers, ran around the yard in swimsuits in the summer, walked to school with backpacks on, played in fallen leaves, and made snowmen in the winter. I enjoyed hearing their laughing, yelling, and watching them just be kids. Girl Scouts came to the door selling cookies, Boy Scouts came selling popcorn, highschool football players came selling team booster tickets, and Halloween brought all sorts of kids of all sorts of ages. This is life! How can a person want to miss this on purpose? How can you want to trade this for a selfish, dead-end pursuit of bars, clubs and taverns?
What can we learn from observing children going about their everyday lives? We can witness how they react to new adventures, we can see the world through innocent, trusting eyes, and teach them what we know–what we have learned in life. What can we learn about ourselves, our childhood as we see youngsters going through what we have gone through, what we had to deal with. We have the ability as grownups to teach and guide young children… wouldn’t a person rather have the importance and honor of being a mentor than have 25+ options for trendy restaurants?
A few weekends ago, I noticed a little girl around 8 or 9 years old, headed down the street with a container in her hand… of course, I did not know for sure, but I imagined she was heading over to her friend’s house and they were going to play dolls together or some other games– it reminded me of when I would race to my friend’s house with Barbie, Midge, Skipper, and an old suitcase containing their extensive wardrobe. Last weekend, past 10:30 pm, I looked out my back kitchen window and across the alley were two families of kids jumping on two trampolines pushed together. I also noticed a fire going–God only knows what was up with that, but they were laughing and jumping and having a great summer/kid time– a time they will fondly recall as adults–who hopefully, do not detest kids.
Imagine a community without children… no bikes, no toys in the front yard, no swingsets in the back, no schools, no need for school supplies in the store. No laughter, no shouting, no skateboards, no playgrounds. Just old people, and people all wrapped up with themselves. What’s the purpose of trying to make life better if there are no children to make it better for?
Psalm 127:3-5 tells us: “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” And, let us remember: Matthew 19:14… Jesus had no disdain for children.
Children are a blessing, they are interesting, they are special. They need love, guidance, respect. They need to be wanted, they need to feel special. We have such a tremendous opportunity when we come to know or interact with children–we can influence the rest of their life.
Image above: the beauitful artwork of Aude Kamlet.