No Children Allowed

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.

JOY

Image above: the beauitful artwork of Aude Kamlet.

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18 thoughts on “No Children Allowed

  1. Wish I could put my thoughts into words like you can, but I can’t. So suffice it to say…”my thoughts exactly.” Thanks for the reminder of what a GIFT children are…straight from the hand of God. My prayers are for those who long for children but for some reason aren’t able to conceive and then hear/read about those who can but don’t want them. Only God knows what purpose that will serve, but I do pray for those with full and longing hearts and empty arms.

  2. Children – a true blessing from the Lord. Being a mother is the greatest privilege (and responsibility) we have in life – and being friendly and supportive to ALL children is assisting them to grow as they should, with confidence and security.

    I have worked in children’s ministry for decades, and trained leaders to do so. One thing that is very obvious in children’s ministry is that the old people (some in their 90s) are the most ‘accepted’ by the children and receive the most respect from them.

    • If one wants to see a “community” without children, they can visit a nursing home. When a baby or young child is brought in, all attention goes to that child and oldsters are delighted to be able to see and touch a youngster.

  3. Hi Joy. Interesting post.
    I know a couple who, when getting married, had a clause written into their marriage contract, “No children and no pets.” Can you imagine writing that in to your marriage contract? Whats the point of getting married then? Anyway, they are probably the most miserable people I’ve ever come across and the sad part of the whole thing is that they are now legally bound to stay without the one thing that would bring them happiness, for the rest of their lives. “Till death do us part.” How sad.
    But you are not like that, are you?
    May the lord bless you my Fine Feathered American Friend and may the sound of children laughing and playing be a constant background sound in your ears all the days of your life, Geoff.

  4. Several years ago when we were earning so much money, but had so little time I started working with kids again. Our “Crusader Class” had about 18 young ones from 7-11. I still remember that first week. It was almost as if I’d unfolded a forth dimension. Suddenly I found that I was being renewed inside, by the playful spirits, thirst for The Truth, and all their little idiosyncrasies. I now help out with the 12-16s (but I find the wee ones the most fun).

  5. Oh, I forgot to say I’m all in favour of children. I read your post earlier on my iPhone whilst my 5 month old grandson lay on my bed playing with the cover.

  6. Beautifully said Joy. In talking about children you’d think people were talking about a sub-group they were never a part of. Yet as you say, we are all children once. And our children today need the exact thing we needed (and perhaps didn’t get either). May more of us have a heart for those who society undervalues or pushes aside. Jesus certainly thought we could learn a lot from little ones too hey.

  7. And a thought from the other side of the coin:
    I think the children today are not at all the children you and I may be remembering. Or were. The sweet, innocent ones who played with dolls. The child you saw going down the street with the container could have contained anything at all. Pot to smoke with her friends. A picture she took with her phone to bully and blackmail the girl in the neighborhood she didn’t like. The children today are a completely different bunch. With social media, abundant movies, lack of discipline and parents who just don’t have the time or energy to care—they are most certainly not the sweet gems you write about.
    I write this after I just spent two weeks with a group of pre-teens who were disrespectful, had no manners or home training, didn’t mind, ignored adults who addressed them, demanded everything when they wanted it, and were completely disagreeable—not to mention the lack of attention span as they constantly played on their phones.
    Couples that don’t have children are tired of putting up with the vandalism of their property, the smart mouths, the unfriendliness, the bullying, even in good neighborhoods. Growing up I remember my brother’s “best buddy” pouring sugar in my sister’s gas tank because she wouldn’t give him a ride, stealing my money and plugging his phone into our garage after hours to make 1-900 calls who billed my mother $1,000’s of dollars. When she went down and talked to his father, do you think he did anything at all?
    Rather than blame these couples who have watched their friends and family members bring troublesome self-centered children into this world to “compliment” society, maybe we should take a closer look at the parenting skills these days instead.
    Because they aren’t there.
    Ask any teacher who is afraid to write a child up for fear of getting a complaint and getting fired because little Billy could never possibly do anything wrong.
    (And I’m not anti-kids but I do very well understand where these couples are coming from. To each their own. If someone doesn’t want children, maybe they haven’t reached that maturity leavel yet or maybe they simply want a career or a life free of baby-sitters. Unfortunately, these over-acheivers may be the ones who would give the children the discipline and training they needed to make a true future leader. And they may come to that conclusion by the time they hit their 40’s.)
    Just my opinion, but there should never be pressure to have a child or live near one if you aren’t ready or simply don’t want one.
    We must remember that everyone is different and respect that.

    • Hi Jennifer, thanks for presenting another side of the coin. I have seen children such as you have mentioned and it is a sad reflection on their upbringing. I firmly believe the responsibility for bringing up children lies with their parents. Perhaps part of the issue is, are the parents trained in bringing up children? Have they been taught the skills? Sadly, the government has has to step in and teach parenting skills via “programs”. Fathers are physically absent from homes, either from divorce or perhaps they never married the mother of their children.

      I believe a God-centered and God-honoring home is the best start for a child, but more so today than any time in human existence, God is ignored in the home, has been removed from public schools, is vilified and ridiculed in government and hated in society. We as a society, are reaping what we have sown.

      Jennifer, I have a friend that has been an elementary school teacher for over 30 years, and she tells me of such children as you describe. However, she knows that these children are starved for direction, attention, praise and love. Over the years, she has had parents and former students re-connect with her and tell her what a difference she has made in their lives. I like to think that children live up to what you expect of them.

      I’ve also come across countless adults over the years who have the same behaviors as you describe children having… we’re all born self-centered–some people never outgrow it! I personally know a 92 year old person that’s still childish and self-centered and it ain’t pretty. If you want to live where there is no vandalism, no rudeness, no violence, no bullying, no trespassing, no unfriendliness, and lack of manners, then we’re all going to have to live by ourselves out in the forest. Adults are just as guilty of the annoyances you have mentioned as children are, but with God, all things are possible—yes, even changed behaviors! After all, aren’t adults who exhibit these behaviors over-grown children who have been “written off”?

      People can live without children if they want, I did state that I can see their point, but it’s a dead society. Where there is no birth, there can only be death. God’s design and plan is for family. I simply must go back to this: what if your parents didn’t want to be bothered with you? I don’t mean to insult, but seriously, would anyone of us be here today–breathing, working, cooking meals, doing the laundry, doing our jobs, protecting our country, farming, whatever, if our parents hadn’t wanted to be bothered with children? Wouldn’t the ultimate self-centeredness be a grown-up child not wanting a child? Just some food for thought.

      Jennifer thanks for writing. I was thinking about you earlier today.

      • Great conversation from both of you. Jennifer brought out the other angle and you were able to respond in kindness and with insight. Truly, we are all (yound and old alike) suffering when we try to live outside of the guidance that God has established. His goal is to give us life and give it more abundantly. The enemy has just the opposite goal…kill, steal and destroy.

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