Another story from Matthew 25, also about decision making, this time it is about money and about taking risks with the resources we have been given. Clearly, this has lessons for us about parenthood, which is a combination of taking risks and spending money constantly.
Some people (mainly men, of course) become parents unaware. Men who have sex with hundreds of partners may not know their children. As we share fifty percent of our genes with bananas, we must assume that the genes they are propagating are similar to our own and we should not be too jealous of so many progeny. Some people become parents accidentally and it is a crucial decision to welcome the child as an honoured guest and not as an unwelcome intruder. Some people plan to have children and they can spend frightening amounts of money to make this happen when the mechanisms don’t work very well. Other people consciously decide to become parents by adopting children unwelcome in other households, or born to adults unable to care.
All parents take a life-long risk on their children. We can’t either put, or give, them back! It is a risk that lives with us for the rest of our lives; a dominant theme; a constant responsibility and financial commitment. The risk also brings untold rewards.
Those of us beyond the stage of life when we expect to have our own children, or who have never had children, have a choice; we can ignore other people’s children (even the children of our children); or we can embrace them. Parents all need support, kindness, financial assistance and, of course, less advice on how to do it. The number of children that any of us can adopt is limited only by our strength and determination.
That children can be adopted shows that genetic relationship is not everything. It is what we do with our love that counts. We can spend it on ourselves, or spend it on others. If those others are younger than we are, they become in some way our children; if very much younger, they become in some way our grandchildren.
In the story that Jesus told about the servants given resources to guard, the servants were commended that had done something to put their resources to work. The servant was condemned who had not used them. God has given all of us the capacity to love, and surrounded us with children. Let us learn their names and birthdates, let us ask about their progress, let us be kind and understanding. After all, we can all remember what it is to be their age. It should be easy, and so rewarding!
Mervyn posts a reflection each week, he welcomes your contribution, please respond and share in reflection!