Burying Children

I began reading the works of Gary North over twenty years ago. His analysis of the relationships of scripture, theology and economics is second to none. Some of his conclusions are more than a little controversial, but they are interesting nonetheless.

So it was sad to learn this week that Dr. North had just lost his youngest child, Caleb, age 24, to a mysterious disorder. The day after his son's body was discovered, he wrote a very touching article on his website:

If anyone ever asks you "What's so good about capitalism," tell him this: Capitalism has made it possible for most of our children to survive the killer diseases and accidents that two centuries ago killed 30% or more of all children before they reached adulthood.

Our children bury us. Most of us do not bury our children. I know of no greater blessing in the modern world. It is a blessing not known throughout most of man's history. Be grateful for it. We take it for granted.

Think about this for a minute. Not so long ago, 30% of all children died before reaching adulthood. If you had three or four children, chances are you would see one of them die. It was normal.

In the developed world, we have turned the tables by wiping out most of the childhood diseases that took so many lives. Yet even today, there are places where infant and child mortality rates are still very high. The rates would be much higher in the U.S. if we counted abortions as deaths. We don't, perhaps because the parents usually approve of those deaths.

Burying your child must be one of the most agonizing experiences a human can face. As Dr. North points out, our generation is normally spared from this pain. We should all thank God for this incredible gift, then do what we can to help those who do lose a child. Peace be with them.

1 comment:

Anna said...

In France during Rousseau's day the child/infant mortality rate was so high that he recommended waiting to start a child's education until they were eight and you were reasonable sure they would survive to adulthood. His reasoning was that they should be allowed to enjoy thier early childhood since that might be all they had. I believe the figure he gave was 50% mortality rate by the age of 8.