A study in 2016 found the average cost of raising a child to 17 years of age was nearly $300,000. For the young couple considering children, this appears to be a substantial sum. The fatigued parents among us might sigh, ‘that’s not the half of it’. What of the cost of the time taken to transport to music lessons and shop for LOL dolls? What of the stress to put together a Bookweek costume by tomorrow morning? What about your humiliation when you can’t remember how to do their year 9 maths homework? What of the exasperation that another school jumper has been lost?
Yet to account for children in terms of cost, while cathartic, is not what the heart does. Parents nod in fierce agreement at the constant expenditure required to raise a child. Yet, they would also agree it is not right to consider a child a ‘cost’ item on the household P&L. This is a category mistake. Our hearts warm instead to these words in Psalm 127:3 (NLT) “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him”. Children are not a cost but are gifts, graces, blessings from God. The rewards found with children are in their smiles, hugs, simple gifts, car conversations, dreams, nightly prayers, challenges, their achievements, and ‘that’s not the half of it’.
This weekend our church launches ‘Promise to Pray’ where one adult prays daily for one young person, for one year. Our children and young people matter, they are a joy, they are a blessing from God. Over the coming year, we have 63 of our children and young people being prayed for. I am certain every praying adult would say this is no cost, it is a joy to do so.