Luke e-mailed us asking for resources that will help him decide if he should have children. Bill Beahm, formerly on our staff, responded to him, and we want to share what Bill wrote.
Maybe some of you are asking that same question. Or, if you already have kids, maybe this will be a good reminder for you.
Bill suggests this decision-making process:
Take two blank sheets of paper. On the first one, write down what you like about your life—the things, the people, the luxuries, and so forth. On the other sheet of paper, write what you have accomplished—your abilities, successes and achievements.
Now, read over and review your lists to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Then, take a big red pen and write the word “CHILDREN” across both pages in the largest possible letters. Finally, wad up the pages and throw them away.
Now what’s the point? Simply this, as Bill wrote:
Having children completely transforms your goals, your views of success, and your dreams of achievement. Is it a big step? You bet. Does it mess up your plans for yourself? No doubt. To be a good father, you must be involved with your children, committed, aware of their needs, and nurturing. You must sacrifice your desires for theirs. Having children will change everything.
Are there benefits? It depends on how you look at benefits. Kids can make life miserable. They get sick and scare you. They beg for things they shouldn’t have. They argue and complain. They make messes. They can fail in school, not make the team, or not be popular. And at the worst moments possible, they can break your heart.
But I am not a dad because of payoffs. I am a dad because I believe it’s one of the greatest roles I can have. And my kids, even though they aren’t perfect, are better off with me as their dad than anyone else. It is an honor to influence a life for good. It’s a privilege to empower someone else to succeed in life.
So should you have children? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself. But, as for me, there has been no greater gift, no greater delight in all of life.