I have seen repeatedly the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but
this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. It's nice,
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth
to 18 years old, and came up $160,140! That doesn't even touch college
tuition. For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about
all the money we could have banked if not for (insert your child's name here).
For others, that number might confirm the decision to remain childless.
But $160,140 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 $24.44 a day! Just
over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice says
don't have children if you want to be "rich".
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 sand castles, 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 $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck.
You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking
the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling the 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 history to witness the first step, first word, first
bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel.
You get to be immortal.
You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long
list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren.
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.