Karen & Derek Boylen: Dirty nappies is kingdom building

21 May 2008

By The Record

Recently, we welcomed into the world the newest member of our family, Zechariah Emmanuel Boylen; boy number four.

One of the things we have noticed is that even though this is our fifth child we never fail to be amazed at the birth and development of a baby.
Did God have the same sense of wonder after breathing the spirit of life into Adam and Eve; watching them come alive and begin to explore the amazing world He has made?
As any parent knows child birth is an amazing experience, a marvellous act of creation.
We tend to focus on the new person but a new baby also creates a new father and mother. One thing we’ve also noticed is that every new child creates a new family.
With the birth of Zechariah we became a new family. Our whole sense of identity has been changed.
And if our family has become new then the world that we live in becomes new because we interact with the world and the community in new way.
It’s an amazing thing; a new child makes the world new.
Every child conceived changes the course of history irrevocably. It’s an awesome, daunting idea but such a hope filled one.
Every parent is participating in a profound way in the creation of the kingdom of God.
It may look like sleepless nights, dirty nappies, sibling arguments, untidy rooms, incomplete homework and poor school reports but it is actually kingdom building.
Unsurprisingly, I think it is something that the Church has known for a long time.
Reflect back to the day you stood at the altar and gave your wedding vows to your spouse. On that day the priest asked you three questions.
The third was: “Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”
Why is that question so important? Because the Church understands that child rearing is one of the most profound, intimate ways that couples can participate in God’s plan of life and love.In fact, this very notion of marriage and children being fundamental to the building of the Kingdom of God also happens to be one of Pope Benedict XVI’s most passionate topics.
This year on January 1, for the occasion of the World Day of Peace he had this to say: “This point merits special reflection: everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children, constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace.”
Child rearing is an awesome undertaking disguised in the grittiness of life. But that seems to be the way God likes to do things.