Paying a Debt Forward?
Our children became our debtors when my wife and I with God’s help gave them life. Aren’t they obliged to pay us back as much as they can? Our gift to them was of infinite value as every life is. So we understand that whatever they undertake to pay us back, it will be insufficient. But they may be able to pay “forward” (not back) the gift they received from us, by passing it on to their children. So our gift to them will be repaid by their gift of grandchildren to us. How can we make that sink in, with prudence? Grandparents in waiting
The Bible presents us with a fact: “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
When children get married, they are on their own. They are responsible adults, independent of their parents and capable of making their own decisions about their own lives.
The intimate emotional bonds with the parents remain, as is natural, but self-determination is an important mark of a happy marriage. It is this sense of independence that can sometimes be resented by parents who feel uneasy when they let their children go out on their own to form new relationships and family ties.
These emotional bonds can cause parents consciously or unconsciously to feel that the wedded children must show gratitude to them for the life they now possess.
Children are not indebted to their parents for being alive. The decision to have a child is made by the married couple. The gift of human, intelligent life is God’s free gift to us all.
You don’t say why your children appear not keen to have their own offspring or for how long they want this. Whatever their motives, it is their free decision.
Couples today who don’t want children give many reasons for this, such as fear for the future and safety of the planet, or even selfish grounds such as more time to earn money, enjoy themselves and travel. Whether plausible or not, it is their decision, and no one else’s.
Catholics, of course, must bear in mind the Church’s teaching that, of its own very nature, marriage is ordered to the procreation and upbringing of children. This is an essential element of marriage, to the extent that if a couple fully intend before their wedding that they will never have children during their married lives, the marriage is invalid.
I guess you and your children will have considered this. It would be prudent now to leave it there. Presuming that the young adults have carefully and conscientiously made a decision, it should be lovingly respected.
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