I recently read in a news article the cost of raising a child is now as high as the cost of owning a Ferrari. That’s $235,000 for the average middle-class family, before they send the kid to college. Having two adult children, who both still live at home, I can definitely say that it isn’t cheap. Would I trade either of my kids for a Ferrari or more zeros in my Bank Account? Not a chance and here are the reasons why.
Sacrifice is Good for the Soul
The opposite of selfishness is sacrifice. I went from being a single guy to supporting a family of three in a single day. It was quite an adjustment from spending my entire paycheck on myself, to not drinking any milk because it was there for the baby. It’s not just about the money either. Parents spend a lot of time and energy on their kids. I coached Little League, took the kids camping and went to dozens of school plays and parent-teacher’s conferences. It’s good to put someone else first in your life. Otherwise, it’s just all about you. There is a much better way to live.
Teaching & Learning
I enjoy teaching and helping others, which is the main reason I have this blog. What I didn’t expect as a parent is how much I would learn from my kids. Their way of thinking and handling situations is very different from my own. Even though I have a lot more life experience than my kids, they have a fresh perspective that contains a lot of idealism. It’s almost as though they haven’t yet been conditioned by life to settle for what they are supposed to do. It’s hard for me to watch them bang their heads against a wall. But, sometimes they bust down the door and go through.
Love is Valuable
There is nothing I can think of that is more valuable than being loved by someone. Many have that missing from their lives and that’s a shame. Love from your children is a special feeling and there is no substitute. It’s based on awe and wonder when your kids are small and quiet respect when they become adults. It’s rewarding at every stage of their lives, even the rebellious stage. More and more people are choosing not to have children and that’s something they will miss out on, without ever knowing how powerful it is.
Creating the Future
What do I hope my children will accomplish in their lifetimes? I really don’t place any expectations upon them, but I do hope it’s something they are proud of. When you raise children, it’s not your job to choose their future, only to prepare them for it. First and foremost, I want my children to be happy with their lives. I definitely want them to have enough money to live comfortably, but not at the expense of a job they hate. I get to enjoy watching their lives unfold, knowing how much I contributed. That is a gift.
Happy Fathers Day to all of you Dads out there.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that few great things are cheap or easy and fatherhood is no exception. It’s an easy choice for those want to live a rich life, instead of a life of riches. The rewards of fatherhood far outweigh the costs.
“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”