Openness to children

Our seven strategies for building the Civilization of Love are Prayer, Premarital Chastity, Fertility Appreciation, Openness to Children, Marital Faithfulness, Natural Family Planning, and recognizing the Dignity of the body.  The more I think about these, the more I realize that each one is a powerful tool for building the Civilization of Love. We can all do something (or lots of things) to make a difference. Openness to children is a great place to start.

Children are great. No matter what the circumstances are, no matter who the mother or the father is, and no matter how they were conceived, a child is a gift from God, and an occasion for celebration. Children draw us into the mainstream of life and put us in solid contact with the things that matter: honesty, commitment, generosity, and self-giving. These are the virtues that make human life healing and delightful.

First, look inside yourself. How much do you treasure children? One woman who helps at One More Soul had been using Natural Family Planning for years to postpone having another child. She and her husband finally decided to let fertility have a chance. Their child, Faith Elizabeth, is with us now. What a joy! Some of us married folk may be feeling the call to welcome another child into our family. Listen to the Spirit; this may be a perfect time! Even if you are past childbearing age, or single, there are still great opportunities to welcome children. Smile when you see a child or wave. Coo at babies. Never let a harried mother get by without a friendly word. Actively look for opportunities to help young families. For example, a single person or childless couple could “adopt” a family (or vice versa) by helping with babysitting, participating in birthday celebrations, etc. This kind of practical love is the foundation of the Civilization of Love.

Second, look around you. Nearly every one of childbearing age is pressured by our culture to contracept. That means your brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and neighbors. There are medical doctors in my family who freely prescribe contraceptives. People simply don’t know the dreadful things contraceptives do to people’s bodies and relationships. We can help! Be alert for opportunities. Build strong relationships with those around you, and then, at the right moment, don’t be afraid to speak the truth in love. God will take care of the rest. Take every chance you get to talk about the blessings of having children. My wife and I have eleven on earth and maybe others in heaven. Believe me, I know that childcare doesn’t always feel like a blessing, but these children are our greatest joy on earth. Speaking about the blessings of children is a breath of fresh air in our dark world. It sinks into people’s souls and lifts them up. If you need ideas about what to say, our website is loaded with them, and we are here to help.

Third, look at organizations. Newspapers, churches, schools, etc., offer wonderful opportunities to spread the message of how good children are and how much trouble contraceptives cause. After all, without children, the human family disappears, and at least half the divorces in the US would never have happened without contraceptives. Whenever the newspaper runs a “news” piece about how great contraceptives are for women, write a letter telling the truth. When there is news about horrors like a young mom abandoning her infant in a dumpster, write a letter about the supreme gift that children are. Get to know teachers, school board members, etc., and get the truth into the schools. Work with your pastor to support him in getting the truth out. Do what it takes to elect government officials who will act according to the truth. Sometimes whole organizations (e.g. Knights of Columbus, Elks) can help spread the message. There are great opportunities!

The task is huge, but the good news is that there are many of us to work on it. Every one of us can make an important difference. Even better, God is on our side. We know how much He loves life. Through His grace, we can transform our world!

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