The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years of age and came up with the cost being $160,140 for a middle income family. That does not even include college tuition.
$160,140 may sound like a lot but it isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That’s a mere $24.24 a day or just $1.01 an hour.
Some might think the best financial advice is to not have kids. Having become a grandfather for the first time last week, I believe it is just the opposite. What do your get for your $160,140?
- Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
- Glimpses of God every day.
- Giggles under the covers every night.
- More love than your heart can hold.
- Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
- Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
- A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.
- A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
- Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.
For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints’ set in clay for Mother’s Day, and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day.
For $741.38 a month you get to be a hero; for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front row seat to witness the first step, first word, first date, and first time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.
Having kids—there’s no better investment, unless you are a grandparent; then you get all these blessings and for only the cost of ice cream and other treats, plus Christmas and birthday gifts!
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.