The kids came late in our marital journey. Having lived in our two-person world for 13 years, the arrival of Joseph felt like we had been run over by an elephant. He was the third party that invaded our world, gatecrashing our spiritual, social and sex life. Chui and I had agreed that there was no possibility of welcoming another mortal into our 2+1 world. Three years later, Chui was unexpectedly expecting again (we always say that but I wonder how did it happen), and Jada became part of the gang.
Kids are a gift from God. We have heard these words umpteen times and they are from Psalm 127. Honestly, there are moments children don’t seem like gifts especially when they are more like kids, as referring to young goats. By playing further with the meaning of “kids”, children can be as stubborn as a goat. I don’t disagree about children bringing heaps of joy and we hear that umpteen times too. I have always told Chui her greatest gift to me are the children.
But a gift is supposed to require nothing from the recipient. However, children demand our convenience, concern and commitment. They don’t seem to fit into the picture of a gift. A few English translations of the Bible utilize “heritage” in place of “gift”. Probably, heritage is a better translative word. A heritage is both inherited and pass on as inheritance. So if children are a heritage, what are parents inheriting and how are children an inheritance?
Parenting is a journey that challenges our faith in God. Our children probe our character, poke at our values and push us to evaluate our priorities. Likewise, our conversations and conduct influence our children’s faith in God. In others words, while our children put our faith in tension, our children’s faith are shaped by the faith we embody. If our faith is an obligation then our children will inherit an obligatory faith. If our faith takes precedence then it will be tough to extinguish the reality and role of God in their lives. Faith is the heritage we inherit as parents and pass on as inheritance. We can nurture or neglect it.
Indeed, kids are a gift from God, the gift of faith.
(This blog entry was inspired by Dan and Amanda’s story. Dan and I attended Fuller Seminary, and both our families were bonded together by a food poisoning episode but that’s another story)