As you may well know, “To be, or not to be… ” is the opening phrase of a soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. It is probably the most well-known lines of poetry Shakespeare ever wrote. What Hamlet is reflecting on is the comparison between the pain of life (which he sees as inevitable), and the fearful uncertainty of death as he contemplates suicide. This famous phrase came to mind after a long discussion with my parents over dinner regarding whether Dylan and I should have more than two children. My dad’s words were, “if you are thinking of more, you are “mal”(mad in Afrikaans)”
I am one of five children and none of us were “mistakes”- my parents chose to have every one of us and I am so glad that they did! My two brothers and two sister’s are a part of who I am, they are my story and were some of the tools God used to fashion me into the person I am today. My siblings are my favourite people in the world, we have an unspoken loyalty to one another, an unbreakable bond. My husband Dylan is one of four children and I know he feels the same way about his siblings. There is strength in numbers and children add immeasurable joy and character, but in the same breadth, is life not a little different to how it was when our parents were having children 30-40 years ago?
The pace of life is extreme. The cost of living is exorbitant and the pressure that is placed on children growing up in a digital age is relentless. I feel as if it was christmas last week, but easter was already a month ago? What is going on, am I dreaming? Where is time going? Everybody around me is talking about what type of passports they have and what their plan is should things really go “South” in SOUTH Africa.
The thought of how outside influences in this broken world will affect our children is enough to make people never want to have children, I have a few friends who feel this way and I can understand this point of view. From xenophobia to thousands of people from Northern Africa floating in rubber duckies in the middle of the ocean searching for a better life, one feels depressed at the state of our world. There is unemployment, poverty, the ANC and their myriad of false promises and insurmountable charges of corruption- this is just to name a few.
Negativity is everywhere, but it’s nothing new and so surely we were meant to rise above it? We cannot turn a blind eye but we have to be bigger, to choose not to be depressed and powerless as a result of it. The time is coming and now is when people will stand up and speak up and do something significant. I choose to believe in a God that has a bigger plan, a plan that is greater than what our minds can comprehend. A plan that involves us and our children.
Isaiah 60 calls us to change our thinking and realise the impact we can make when we do. I was inspired by these words.
“Arise and shine, for your light has come and the GLORY of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
The bad in the world is everywhere but we are given the chance to be light, we are not meant to blend in with the darkness by being overwhelmed and overcome by it. We are given the opportunity to “arise”, get up out of negative talk and shine. Could we perhaps be God’s key to transformation in the nations of the world? Perhaps it’s just a new perspective on the role that our families and our children play that will have us outshining the darkness and living lives of significance.
When a light is turned on in a dark room it infiltrates every crevice. I want our story and presence to be that light so that maybe some of the darkness that surrounds us will become light and people who are affected by the pain and sorrow of life will be able to see again.
In conclusion you are probably wondering whether we will be having more than two children. My heart say’s yes, but my head says “it’s hard”. Logic tells me to play it safe. Then the joy and pleasure of raising children and the thought of the love we will share and the impact a larger family can make makes me really want another.
Every person has their own road to walk, their own point of reference, their own resources (very important reality) and so this is a very personal question. I just think that if we do choose to have children, whether one or five, our perspective and vision for our future ought to be right. I believe we are put here for a very specific purpose, to bring light into the world and infiltrate the darkness, to raise children who will have a meaningful impact.
There was an amazing sunrise at home this morning and so when these little ones woke up we went outside to take a video… Enjoy.
See the video here: