The More the Merrier: Fatherhood in An Anti-Kid World

32194bb03e9677d43ac91da28bfbd360“Do you know what causes that?” “Wow, you have your hands full.” “You are done now, right?” “You’re overpopulating the planet!” “Are all of those yours?” “Can you afford that many?”

Those are just a few of the things you’ll hear from complete strangers if you have more than the nationally approved average of 1.7 children. And that doesn’t include the dirty looks and laughter directed your way. You might have heard of manspreading or fat-shaming, the latest outrages in our PC culture. Well, today I’m adding a new one to the list: Kid-shaming.

It really seems to boggle the mind of the average American that anyone would want more than 2 kids. The assumption is that number three must be an accident. I mean, it’s a proven fact that kids make you miserable, right? They cost a quarter of a million dollars to raise, don’t they? Not to mention they are bad for the environment!! Basically, in the popular imagination, kids are the equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease—and who would want more than one or two of those??

Kids are awesome

Forget what the culture says. Kids are awesome. There is nothing like having two miniature men run to the door screaming “Daddy!” the moment I walk in the door. There are few things as happy as having little arms wrapped around my neck, or hearing a little voice say, “I love you, daddy.” Or seeing a boy with his hat on backward pretending that he is a baseball player. Or wrestling fiercely with two pint-sized warriors.

It is such a joy to help a little life discover the world—to explore, to learn, to wonder at nearly everything. It is such a happiness to watch them proudly sport a milk mustache and say, “I have a beard just like you!” Then there’s bedtime stories, hilarious sentences said with all seriousness, building immense towers out of blocks, watching them fold their hands in prayer and hearing little voices talk about how they love Jesus and Mary. Believe me, I could go on.

Fatherhood is sometimes terrifying, yes, but mostly, it is dizzyingly happy. There are many times when I am simply overwhelmed with gratitude for it.

Of course, there are times of stress, and frustration, and sacrifice too. There are the wet beds; the stubborn refusals to eat perfectly good food; the horrific diapers; the screaming tantrums; trips to the ER; unexpected expenses; the flu and ear infections; barbaric yawps during the consecration at Mass—you get the picture. And I have no doubt that as my children grow, the sorrows will only increase. There is no love without pain. That is the way things are in a fallen world. And as more experienced parents would be quick to remind me, I am just beginning the journey.

Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior

One of the Psalms I’ve grown to love is Psalm 127. It contains some great advice about trusting the Lord with your labors, and the goodness of God’s blessings. But my favorite part is the end, where it talks about how children are a gift, not a curse:

“Fatherhood itself is the Lord’s gift, the fruitful womb is a reward that comes from him. Crown of thy youth, children are like arrows in a warrior’s hand. Happy, whose quiver is well filled with these…”

Did you catch that? The one with many children is happy. We found out recently that baby number three is on the way, and believe me, it’s true—I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to welcome this new life. Men, children aren’t something to be embarrassed about or to apologize for. They are precious gifts to rejoice in. They are as beautiful and elegant as arrows in the hand of a skilled and mighty warrior. We must simply be sure to aim them at heaven.

In conclusion, don’t let the world steal the joy of fatherhood. Brush off the haters. Yes, you probably could have a bigger house or a fancier car if you didn’t have more kids. But who cares? What good is a big house empty of laughter and joy? And a car won’t give love back to you, no matter how fun it is to drive. Give me a small house filled with a lot of children and a rusty van crammed with car seats any day. I mean that.

Men, celebrate your children. Have a lot of them. Love them, devote your time and attention to them, pray for them, invest in them—but above all, treasure them. Other blessings pass, but children are a reward that will last forever.

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37 Responses to “The More the Merrier: Fatherhood in An Anti-Kid World”

  1. congratulations! I also recently discovered we have a third on the way.

    May God strengthen our faith and give us the ability to be good Fathers.

    Greetings from Italy

  2. Jonathan Conrad Reply

    Congratulations and may God grant you and your family a healthy child. I have 3 boys under 5, and I love them to pieces. They are the greatest gifts God has ever given to my Wife and me. I pray every day that I can be the dad they need me to be.

  3. Congratulations! Our third child is 2 months old and it wasn’t until recently that I said to my self that I finally solidified becoming a father. I guess my heart swells the more children I have.

    Now I am looking to replace my sporty car with a 7-seat wagon because their “weee” from the back seat brings the biggest smile to my face.

  4. I have 3 girls, and if we had started earlier in life, I’m sure I’d have at least 3 more. This is a fantastic reminder for us to enjoy the kids, as you stated, sometimes it’s a struggle, and the sorrow will only increase, but what good is a bigger house, better car, with no laughter or joy? Absolutely wonderful article, Thank you!

  5. Congratulations to you and your family! That’s great news! Great article as well. I wish my wife and I could have more children. We have been blessed with 2 healthy girls. We are unable to have anymore. It infuriates me to hear people be so negative about children. Children truly are the greatest blessing!

  6. Congratulations.
    We’ve had four children and never regretted it.
    Don’t hold your breath trying to attend so called catholic schools though. Their high price now makes impossible for a family with more than one or two children to attend.
    “Children have become so expensive, that only the poor can afford to have hem.” 🙂

  7. Anonymous female reader Reply

    Hi, I clicked over here after a friend linked it on FB. I love it and what you have to say about having children. However, we have 2 beautiful little girls, and my husband recently told me that he’s “done.” He doesn’t have any good reason for that, other than “I wanted 2, and now I have 2.” It really pained me to hear it, because I love kids for all the reasons you stated. We’re an NFP-practicing Catholic family, but I wouldn’t say that we’re equally yoked (I’m basically the spiritual leader of the family, and I would call his faith very lukewarm). I’ve read him some passages, but he doesn’t like it when I push him and I think it makes him more steadfast. I’d love to send him this post, but I can’t. Do you have any advice in this situation?

    Congrats on your growing family 🙂

    • Anon Female Reader… Sorry to hear about your husband. Speaking as a guy who was pretty similar to him in the past, all I can say is keep praying for him (as I will for you both)… and see if you can’t find a faithful couple that you can befriend. Even if you’re not crazy about the wife of the couple, try to spend some time together. If your husband connects and befriends the faithful husband of that couple, good things are bound to happen. The example of that husband could work wonders.

    • Dear Anonymous, We have 7 children. My wife and I had said at first we’ll have 2, maybe 3. When we found out about our 4th pregnancy, our hearts sank, for about a month. All I can tell you is the Grace of God led us to just shelve the NFP and let God decide from then on. We just didn’t care anymore! What’s a few more? We had a few miscarriages as well but, as I look back now, I can’t imagine not having any of them because we decided to “stop”. Thank you God for that wisdom! Children are a blessing. Sure, it can be hard but it also can be very sweet. Selfishness is what was holding us back early on, and the opinions of so called “experts” about modern families. Don’t listen to the world.

      Your husband knows how much he loves the children you already have. Would he rather not have one or the other? Of course not. He needs to understand (took me awhile) that when you have more, he will love them as much as the first 2! Wow! It’s amazing really how love multiplies. As the first ones get older, they actually help with the younger ones, and it gets easier and harder in different ways as they grow. The best gift you can give to your children is more brothers and sisters, not things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people in conversation how many we have and, after their initial surprise they say, “Yeah, we had only 1 or 2 and stopped. Now we wish we’d have had more.” I feel bad for them.

      Keep praying for God’s help for you and your husband and I will keep you in prayer as well.

  8. So… You adhere to the main belief of the Quiverfull sect of Catholicism? You do understand that this earth has 7 BILLION people on it and as of August we as a species had used up the resources available for the year 2015? We have begun a pattern of dipping deeper and deeper into the next yeats supply. At this rate of procreation and consumption we WILL reach a point where we cant support life. Ignoring all that very real info though, yeah.. Congrats on that baby.

    • Hannah,
      Over-population is a liberal myth at best. Do some research in this area please. In the US were not even procreating at replacement rate…

  9. Don’t listen to the Hannas in this world. They blissfully ignore that human ingenuity has increased crop yields amazingly these last few decades. We use far less resources & land to produce much greater yields. The famines of the last century were always man-made, the result of politics, eugenics, or both. Google Norman Borlaug if you want evidence.

    The children you bring into the world are the greatest gifts you give to God & humanity. It’s actually easier the more you have — you & your wife know so much more now, the children entertain each other, and soon the oldest will be able to babysit. Enjoy!

  10. My sons are almost out of the house, taking their first steps toward independence and self-sufficiency. Its been a great journey and an absolute delight watching the transformation from boy to youth to man. I stumbled on this blog today for the first time…what a fantastic endeavor…keep up the great work Sam!

  11. Great article, it was an encouragement to me today. I am currently a father of 3 and my wife (protestant) is unwilling to have more . Although we practice NFP i dont feel were justified in using it. I continue to pray for her conversion and hope she can soon realize we should be thrilled about children and not focus to much on the hardwork and sacrifice they require.

  12. Good article. Do not be afraid of having children. And I would find a way to send them to private Christian school, Catholic or otherwise. It is well worth the sacrifice. We have nine children, ages 22 down to 4. They are truly a blessing and I never get tired of hearing the little ones great me at the door when I get home. There will be seasons that try your soul in each of their lives, but you just keep on loving them. I am so discouraged that more churches don’t encourage large families. I guess they listen to the ‘Hanna’s of the world more than they should. Silly Hanna, children are the greatest resource we have. It is especially pleasing when they join you in the battle.

  13. We have six, thank God, and would have raised more had we been trusted with them. I’ve been lectured to by complete strangers and, after we had our fourth, been told by my work colleagues to get an operation (my wife was told to get an abortion by her colleagues and was written up by others and critiqued that her “family was her priority” as though that’s some sort of crime worthy of getting you fired). These folks have no idea what they are missing. I feel sorry for them.

  14. Guillaume Dubarry de Lassale Reply

    Bravo, I like this text. Mentality here in France are the same you describe in your contry. We have seven children and from the third, all have been questioned : “with the same parents ?” which is a direct agression to th family.

  15. Please don’t forget that there many good strong Catholic families who were only blessed with one child. Who tried and prayed for years to have more but couldn’t. Who wanted to adopt but where turned away. Through prayer and grace we understand this the family God wants for us.

  16. Eleven children! Ages 3 to 23 in our big, busy, and obnoxiously and unapologetically Catholic family…all with my wife in our 25 years together. I love rolling into Costco with 6 or 7 in tow….let them stare, let them wonder, and let them mock. So be it. Being “dad” was what I was made for, and I’ve never done (or will do) anything more important or consequential then being a husband and father.

  17. Great article! I wish to have as many kids as possible, but no success for us so far. We’ve been trying for more than 3 years with no result. Very frustrating..

    • Jakub- we have had 4 children- with a 20 week miscarriage in between the two ‘pairs’ of kids- I had to use blood thinners (heparin) and hormones (progesterone) to stay pregnant with the last 2- if your wife has an autoimmune disorder, blood thinners could help…

      • Thanks Sarah! We are pretty healthy from doctor’s point of view. Still waiting for some laboratory results, though.

  18. When we had our third, I encountered fatherhood in a whole new way. I loved all three of them even more than I had before, and found my joy in fatherhood increased beyond measure.
    Let your joy be full!

  19. Francis Gallic Reply

    We just had number 6 and my mother has 62 grandkids! There is absolutely nothing regretful about having a large family. It is a “happy” life as the Psalms so poignantly point out.

  20. William Congreve Reply

    We reside not in an “anti-kid” world as your article posits; but rather an anti-father world where the state has enacted an indescribably hideous web of legislation designed to inflict as much punishment as can be conceived upon men who father children or enter into a marital contract.
    Until you comprehend this fact, your delusions will persist.

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