Maria Hammarstrom' Post

Children as burdens or gifts?

Christmas, the season for gifts and children, is approaching, and lately I’ve followed some discussions on social media about whether children themselves are secretly seen as burdens rather than gifts by their parents. Unlike in the Hebrew Bible where children are considered God’s gift to the Chosen People, in secularized Western communities we tend to prioritize individual freedom before family or clan. Traditionally, children are idealized in our culture and represent the innocent and good in life, are precious objects worth cherishing and protecting. On the other hand, real children demand adult time, energy and resources which creates conflicts and exhaustion, and limits the possibility of adult personal self-fulfillment. I recently re-read the anthology The Child in Christian Thought and found inspiration from previous thinkers on children as God’s gifts.


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What childhood stories helped you live?


I have always had a keen interest in children’s literature, first as an avid child reader, later as a parent and a teacher. I looked for stories that rang true, stories that made me laugh, cry, think and grow, stories that in some small way helped me live my life: C.S. Lewis books of Narnia were among my favourites. Later, I have tried to pass these books along to children in my care and within my circle of acquaintance, in the hope that others will also find something they need in them.

No one read me Bible stories as a child, even if I became familiar with many of them by way of retelling and referencing in books and in school work. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I had

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