I read in a recent article that American women are having fewer children if any at all. There are more American women in their 40's who are childless than ever before. The fertility rate in the U.S. is now at 1.9 per woman in contrast to 3.8 children in 1959. The replacement rate in developed nations stands at 2.1 births per woman. This means our nation is currently in negative population growth. We are no longer having enough children to maintain our population. This trend will have a dramatic effect upon the next generation as the labor force declines dramatically while, at the same time, the aging population continues to rise. There are always negative consequences to ignoring God's purposes for the earth. This is but another testimony to our nation's dramatic slide into secularism.
After God created man He commanded him to, "Be fruitful, and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). After the flood this command was repeated to Noah (Gen. 8:16-17). Again, God gave the command to Jacob (Gen. 35:11). While this is not a command to have as many children as one possibly can without regard for other issues involved in the wise ordering of the family, it does place a high value upon children. Raising many children should be seen as a blessing rather than a curse. It is also a reminder to us that a part of being responsible adults is having children.
We live in a generation that has produced scores of self-centered, immature adults. Past generations have not done an adequate job in preparing children for adulthood. We have invented a category of life called adolescence in which childish behavior and irresponsibility are considered the norm. This period of life sometimes extends well past the age of 30. In an interview on CNN in 2005 Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary said, "Parenthood is a part of helping to create adults. We grow up by having children. Without that responsibility, we have a generation of perpetual adolescence just growing old."
We need to be training our children to understand the responsibilities of adulthood. By the time they reach their teenage years they should be seriously considering the future. At the age of 12 Jesus was in the Temple considering the issues of life, not bouncing about as a child. Not every adult will enter into marriage. We need to understand, however, that as married adults it is our responsibility and duty to have children. "Be ye fruitful and multiply." We need to understand that maturity means looking beyond our selfish interests and seizing the responsibilities that are a part of adulthood.