“Raising children is a worthwhile investment into society”
The key word here to consider is ‘investment’.
The act of putting money, effort, time into something to make a profit, gain an advantage, or the money, effort, time, used to achieve this advantage or profit.
We can see from the definition above that for every worthwhile thing or for every “growth” there needs to be an input of “money, time, or effort”. The reward being “profit or advantage.”
Never before has there been a more apt description of parenthood!
And in no previous age has a society ever undervalued the investment of parenthood as it does today.
Undervaluing something important runs against the principle of good stewardship. If value is not recognised, then profit and advantage will suffer. To this end, the raising of children must be seen to be an act of the highest order, one of incalculable value. An investment in the very fabric of our lives and of those around us.
So what does this “investment “look like? Usually chaos! The portrayal of parenthood has always been a Hollywood favourite, and the subject of countless memes and anecdotes. At some level, we acknowledge the importance of the task, even in a worldly setting. When the characters lose their dreams, or careers, for the sake of a baby, the narrative usually pitched is about the value of personal growth and life lessons learned.
As a parent of nine children, I am familiar with the currency of sleepless nights, of worry, responsibility, and the heart’s anguish when watching children struggle.
I am also familiar with many short-term rewards, without which it would have been hard to keep going. I recall chubby baby fists, and sweet milky baby breath and the smell of a toddlers’ hair when warmed by sunshine. I have enjoyed so much the privilege of watching them all discover themselves and their world; a world of mud pies, and puddles, of butterflies and pets.
And the return on investment? In my children I have seen compassion and generosity beyond my wildest dreams. They possess a worldview of service and sacrifice upon which a lifetime of achievement will be based. I am witness to flourishing skills, adventure and talent. I am truly privileged to have made this investment; one of exponential return and dividends which I never expected.
And so it is in real life. To take a dim view of our existence, we are born, grow and flourish, making our mark on the world, but our end often leads to mental decay and slowness of speech and movement. But when we are able to embrace the expense, time, and sheer Herculean effort of raising children, we multiply the effect we have on our world. Economists will tell us that a young, healthy workforce is maintained, new discoveries are made by young inquisitive minds, and our single personal contribution to society becomes multiplied by using the currency of family life and the welcoming of children.