Children are always worth the sacrifice
“Children are an heritage of the Lord….As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” Psalms 127:3-4 I saw this passage brought to life, in all places—China.
We were touring with a large group in mainland China when a young Chinese woman boarded our bus to serve as our guide. Her English was superb and her knowledge and understanding of her country and culture were outstanding. We enjoyed her teaching immensely. She was articulate and surprisingly outspoken.
At one point we got her talking about her country’s one child policy. She explained to us that the government had mandated that couples could have only one child, and that if they chose to have more, there were stiff fines and penalties levied against them. Throughout China, at least in the cities, families of more than two children were uncommon.
Moreover, it was a cultural tradition to favor boys over girls, and even though it is slowly changing, centuries of tradition yet remain hard to overcome. Boys are still favored over girls. Today, in certain circumstances, couples can be allowed to have a second child, particularly if the first child dies or the first child is a girl.
She then explained to us that she had an older brother that she loved very much. We were surprised to learn that this beautiful capable young woman was a child that almost wasn’t. When her parents learned that they were expecting a second baby they decided, against all social norms, that at all costs they would keep her. They faced the scorn and ridicule of their neighbors and the penalties imposed by the government. She cost them dearly! There were tears and awe among us as we listened to her describe the sacrifice her parents had made to keep her—and even by American standards it was a huge and costly sacrifice.
And that sacrifice was not lost on her. Her gratitude and reverence for her parents was tender and obvious. It became her life’s work to honor and support her parents. All they did for her would be given back for as long as they lived.
I will never forget her telling us of that day when, with understanding, she asked her mother, “Was I worth it?” And her mother’s answer –“all of it, and more.”