Dear faithful in Christ,
June is, of course, the month for Father’s Day (this year on June 17th). But it looks as though Father’s Day is a diminishing holiday. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (www.cdc.gov/nchs) the United States general fertility rate declined to 62.0 births per 1000 women aged 15-44 in 2016, down 1% from 2015. Some have noted that this is the lowest rate in 30 years. But it is not as simple to conclude that all women are having fewer children. That same study showed that while the birth rates for women under age 30 declined, rates for women age 30 and over actually rose. For instance, the birth rate for teens aged 15-19 declined 9% from the previous year and 51% since 2007. That, many people would say, is more of a good thing than a bad thing. On the other end of the spectrum, the birth rate for women in their thirties and early forties rose from the previous year, and since 2007 the birth rate for women in their early thirties rose 2%, in their late thirties 11%, and in their early forties 19%. Would you believe that the group with the most births per 1000 women right now is those 30-34 years old?
I know that’s lots of statistics, but it seems that a factor in fewer children being born is that many parents are waiting to start or expand their families until later. Why are they doing that? Economics plays a roll, as does attitudes, commitments, the decline of the nuclear (or traditional) family, and others. One factor that I personally believe is legitimate, although I have no statistics or scientific data to back me up, is the role abortion on demand has had on the “psyche” of our nation. The silent elimination of millions of lives has to have an effect on how we value all life. Is life a precious and priceless gift of the living God or is it just the result, wanted or not, of the human reproductive system? If it is the latter, would it be a huge surprise that some people think that having children is more of a bother than a blessing, more of an expense than a gift, or more of a burden than a treasure?
The Word of God places high regard and divine favor on children, even those yet in the womb. It is by the work of the eternal and living God that life begins and continues. And the greatest reason of all that God Himself places such high regard on children is that they all may become His children by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He wants every child to fear, love, and trust in Him. He wants every child to know that Jesus loves them for the Bible tells them so.
This is why God places great responsibility on the parents to care for their children not only for bodily needs but also for their spiritual needs. Fathers in particular are charged with this responsibility. They are to make sure that their children are taught the true God, how He is their true Father, and what He has done for them in Jesus Christ.
Happy Father’s Day all you dads! And may God bless you richly as you teach and model the Christian faith to your children.
In His service and yours,