We are blessed with beautiful parks in Illinois. Every town here has them, and in general they are well-kept and inviting. We went up to one for Memorial Day. We wondered if we would find an open grill, but we needn’t have worried. These peaceful Illinois parks are sometimes a little too peaceful. Where are all the people? In particular, where are all the children?
This playground has tall metal slides, the kind I whizzed down when I was a child. It has a giant wooden “hamster wheel”… it goes around and around when you run inside it. The park has swings, basketball courts, a batting cage, lovely pavilion, knobby and knotty trees, a merry-go-round, monkey bars, softball field… you name it. It even has a pond where Sammy caught 27 fish. No joke! (No worries, he threw them all back.)
All of this, and almost no children running around.
All afternoon, it bothered me. This nice park in the middle of this quaint American town…. but no people? We saw about four people all afternoon (on Memorial Day, no less), until late in the afternoon a couple came with their little boy to fish, and sat beside the pond. Of course, they would do this at the exact time that I was making a fool out of myself trying to rescue Toby’s football out of the middle of the pond by creating waves with a giant plastic jug (but I did get the football out). 😄
Years ago, Steve and I noticed the McDonald’s PlayPlaces were disappearing. You may have noticed, too. In their place came something more akin to a Coffee Shop. Companies will market to the demographic at hand.
So, what is going on? To be fair, the absence of children from parks is surely due in part to screens robbing the world of the children that are left. But the problem started before screens were even a thing.
Something as deadly as the world’s worst pandemic is going on, and has been rolling in for quite a number of years now. It’s called a Sansdemic. Listen to this for starters. The whole episode is very interesting, but the content relevant to this post starts at 17:45.
In a world that was loudly crying “overpopulation” for years, we now discover that we don’t actually have enough people. People are becoming a scarce resource. On our way back from the nearly empty park, we saw a large company sign saying “Now Hiring — $1000 signing bonus.”
The Wal Mart worker told Steve on Saturday, “This isn’t my normal department. I have no idea what I’m doing. We don’t have enough workers, so I’m just trying to fill in here.”
Companies can’t find workers. People are the most valuable natural resource, and there are not enough.
We cannot get people at the snap of a finger. They have to be homegrown, so to speak.
The Bible equates babies with strength, which seems like a paradox (Psalm 8:2; Psalm 127:4). How can a tiny helpless infant be strength? Give that baby enough years, guide him in the right way, and an infant will become strength. Strength to the family, church, community, and society.
Babies are also designed by God to bring strength to parents from the very beginning. Parenting is a tough road of self-sacrifice, and along that road we become stronger, wiser people. But we have to stay present and gird up our loins and partner with God in this thing, for the long haul.
May we have a future vision and recognize that we do have responsibilities to future generations. In spite of some rampant ideologies flying around (that kind of make me crazy when I read snippets of them), marriage and sex aren’t all about me and my needs and my preferences. When viewed and taught as such, we are setting up for an implosion. There is something much bigger than ourselves to live for, and in order to bless future generations, and bring about good and growth in this world– God’s world– it will take sacrifice.
As we gazed around the empty park, Steve remarked, “People always say that it’s a huge decision to bring a child into the world. But what is never said is that it’s a huge decision to NOT bring a child into the world.”
Civilizations cannot go on if they do not have people. An economy cannot sustain itself without people. Human life must be valued and held as sacred and seen as the precious resource that it is.
The babies of today are the strength of tomorrow! ♥︎