Volume 5 Number 3
Love Times Five
by Steve Crocco
Before I was married, I used to dream that my children would accompany my wife and me in the important ministries God would call us to. Now, marriage and five children later, I believe what my wife Mary has always known, namely that God calls parents to nothing more important than ministering to the children entrusted to them.
Children are gifts from God, and whoever loves a child, loves the Giver of the gift. I never had much trouble believing that all children are God’s children and not our own. Perhaps that idea was easy to accept because it removed the weight of ultimate responsibility for thes children being “my” children. When we moved to Princeton from Pittsburgh in1997, we left a neighborhood and a church where our children were surrounded by adults who loved and cared for them. We, in turn, loved and cared for our children and many others. (Mary was affectionately known as “the mother of Jackson Street.”) Living this way seemed natural to us as Christian people living in community. We still look for and try to create this way of living here, but it is not easy. We are looking forward to moving to 98 Mercer Street where we’ll be surrounded by other Seminary people and be part of a more normal neighborhood. Then we’ll resume our quest for community with a new vigor.
The Princeton area has its charms, but it is difficult to raise Christian children in a place where consumerism is flagrant, parents steer their first graders to Harvard, and people go out of their way to avoid contact with the poor. One of the joys of living in a Seminary house is that it is maintained by the Facilities Department. Now, after a few chores, much of each weekend is free to spend time with our children and their friends. Mary and I are confident that the relationships we build with these young people now will help them to navigate the increasingly perilous waters of youth.
First-time parents regularly ask me a question that goes something like this. “We love our baby so much! How do you divide your love between five children?” I chuckle at the question. Somehow, and I grant it is a miracle, I have 100% of my love for each child. Now, if new parents would ask me about picking up after five children, paying the dental bills of five children, or doing the dishes for seven every evening, I could speak of diminished energy and money, but diminished love? Never! Jonathan Edwards would have said that a parent’s total love for each of “their” children is a type of how God loves his children all over the world.
Steve Crocco is PTS’s James Lenox Librarian and editor of The Princeton Seminary Bulletin. He and his wife, Mary, are parents of Elza, Oliver, Louis, Glory, and Martin.
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