Last Sunday was National Sanctity of Life Sunday. So, let’s talk about how we talk about life. More specifically let’s talk about how we talk about children. I sometimes catch myself speaking disparagingly of my child when what I mean to do is explain the difficulty of parenting. Instead of focusing on the first time she spoke, the focus is on the blow out diapers with human feces everywhere. The sleepless nights with a crying baby. The constant mess that consumes the house. The mysterious stain on the couch that I’m pretty sure was not there yesterday. The constant battle to keep the kitchen clean, while week-old food sticks to the bottom of your feet, almost as if you were perpetually walking on Legos. The mild annoyance when soggy food lands in your beer and mocks you as it floats on the surface. I don’t even have to worry about waking up three times in the middle of the night like most mothers. When I sit and complain about the struggles of fathering, I will often realize at some point and stop myself, and in almost sarcastic tone say, “But being a dad is great.” Shame on me.
To be clear, the joys of parenthood far outweigh the struggles, yet the struggles get more lip service. I wonder why that is? Why do we publicly disparage children and the work they take? Chalk it up to sin and our constant need to complain about something, but we ought to be more intentional with how we talk about our little helpless humans.
For years now, the culture in which we find ourselves has crafted a lie about the most innocent among us. The overall narrative is that babies are a problem to be fixed. Babies are talked about as a medical ailment that needs to be extracted. Some pundits have called children in the womb “parasites.” For many, a child simply represents an inconvenience. Of course, why wouldn’t they? This is exactly how children are talked about. Everyone receives advice about having children whether it is warranted or not. “Wait to have kids so you can travel more, save money so you’re financially stable, focus on your career, just enjoy each other first.” None of these things are in and of themselves bad or evil, but what they communicate is clear. Children are a roadblock and inconvenience to you and your dreams.
Satan loves this. Satan loves when a young couple sees a family struggling to make it through a chaotic trip to the grocery store, saying to themselves “thank God that’s not me.” Satan loves when caring but exhausted parents lash out at their baby, not because they are mad but because they are tired, and parenting takes work. Satan loves when parents become overwhelmed and make flippant comments like, “enjoy your sleep now because you will never sleep again” to expectant mothers. Satan loves when we demean life because Satan hates children and that they are a part of God’s original plan His creation. If you are like me, whether you are a parent or not, the way you talk about children generally looks like the way that the culture talks about children, like little annoying inconveniences. So, I will say to you what I say to myself when I catch myself: watch your mouth.
Life is holy. Going back to Genesis 1, God institutes the creation of life through a husband and wife as a part of His perfect creation. Babies are truly a miraculous gift of God. In babies we see a glimpse of the Gospel, as God does not let this world waste away into oblivion. Instead, until Christ returns God sustains creation, God fights sin, death, and the devil by continuing to create babies which bring life into the world. So, let’s strive to talk in a way that reflects what we believe. Our language and attitude towards life confesses something, it confesses that life is precious and valuable. Let’s talk about babies, about life, about children in the way that we see them, as miraculous gifts from God who continues to create in the same way that he always has. So, next time you are speaking about the frustrations of potty training, watch your mouth.