No. 549



If you have children or grandchildren you will appreciate something a friend sent me the other day. It's titled "The Price of Children," and whether it's truth or fiction I'm not sure, but it contains a wonderful, heart0warming message, something we need a lot more of these days.
If there is one redeeming thing that could come from reading this, it could be to soften the blow of the cost of a college degree these days. Can you believe $200,000 to put a child through four years of college? Sure is a long way from that $60 a semester, plus room and board, that my parents paid for me back in the mid-50s. A lot of other things like this have changed as well, but that's another column.
"It seems the government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition, a reference point I made earlier. 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 $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice is to not have children, if you want to be "rich." Actually, it is just the opposite.
Just consider what you get for your $160,140. You get naming rights, first, middle and last! You get glimpses of God every day and giggles under the covers every night. You get more love than your heart can hold. You get butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. You also get endless wonder of rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. You get a warm hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate. You get a partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites and 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, and catch lighting bugs. 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 a bike, removing a splinter, filling a 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 and great-grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications and human sexuality, no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under 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."
My friend who passed this along to me did so because he thought it was good and I'm sharing it with you for the very same reason. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")