A Window into Life in the Suburbs


"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is that all it is...

Assets, resources, commodities...

These days that seems to be financespeak for businesses, houses, land and money... and children.
I must admit, despite all the messy crisscrossing of wiring in the part of my body called the brain, I've never thought of having children as a financial investment. But apparently we are all accountants now.


Are the long nights and financial burdens of parenting really worth the emotional benefits? New research is saying no: When confronted with the real economic costs of having children, most parents will exaggerate their happiness to validate their choice to have children.



Whether or not we have kids, I don't think any of us would say that parenting is easy. At times we may even feel that it's a thankless task. Most of us are aware of the immense responsibility and... privilege weighing on our shoulders. But do people really have kids just because they think it makes them happy? It's a concept somewhat foreign to me. This is not to say, however, that raising children can't bring a high measure of happiness.

While we're at it, how do we "exaggerate happiness"? Do we modern types pretend to be happier than we are? I grant that tackling a child displaying a very public tantrum can be well... humiliating. Often it's far more civilized to put on a smile for the benefit of strangers and acquaintances than to let the world know how we're really feeling. Ask any mum or dad what they think about the whole parenthood deal and they'll give you different answers depending on the time of their life with kids and how well their personalities adjust to the different stages.

Emotions can swing faster than a pendulum.

Happiness like all other emotions are transcient and not a reliable guide to life.
Do we do things in life only because it makes us happy?
Is happiness the gold standard for the measure of a successful life?
One would think if happiness was the goal, one would never find it. (Okay, not original with me but can't remember who said it. C.S. Lewis perhaps?)


I can't speak for anyone else but I have good days and bad days with the children. But even during the "bad days", I can learn something from them and something of our heavenly Father. And maybe if I'm not too obsessed about being right... something about myself too.

We live in relatively properous times and we have at our fingertips more choices than has been offered human beings in our entire history.
And yet it hasn't made us smarter or wiser... or given us the wherewithal to make better decisions.
Children aren't necessarily the problem. In all probability, it's the way we choose to spend our time and money that's the underlying issue.

It seems to me that what we're seeking is contentment not happiness. But the really hard part is to be content whatever the situation... not just when things are going well. Here we need to take our cue from Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV) 


The Urban Lily's Easy to Say But Much More Difficult to Do Tips for Being Content:

1. Be thankful everyday for what we do have... food, strength, a roof over our heads. Pray in thankfulness to the giver of life.
2. Remind ourselves that we can't have everything
3. Ask often: "How much is enough?"
4. Think: Want or Need
5. Stay away from craft shops, book shops and El Cheapo shops as much as possible

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