# Do The Math

by Mark Gungor on July 17th, 2012

It seems as though too many people in our culture are not able to do the math when it comes to the following simple word problems:

If Person A doesn’t get married and have a child until 30-35 years of age, and then that child also waits until 30-35 years of age to marry and have a child, just how old will Person A be when he/she becomes a grandparent? How old will Person A be when he/she can actually have a meaningful conversation with said grandchild?

Now, let’s change the numbers a bit:

If Person B gets married and has a child at 18-22 years of age, and then that child also gets married and has a child at 18-22 years of age, how old will Person B be when he/she becomes a grandparent? How old will Person B be when he/she can actually have a meaningful conversation with said grandchild?

Maybe it’s not that people are incapable of the simple math required to figure out the answers. Maybe it’s something else. Perhaps it’s that we are thinking wrong about the problem to begin with….or we aren’t thinking about it at all.

For generations people met, married and started their families at a young age. It has only been since the 1970s that the age of first time marriage and subsequent childbirth has continued to climb to nearly 30 years of age. And make no mistake; many people are waiting even longer.

Some want to marry, but haven’t been able to find the one to get hitched to…that’s a whole other discussion for another day. What I am speaking of, is people who intentionally wait to pursue a relationship and marriage until they are 30, 35, 40 or more years of age and then try to start having kids.

The sad truth that these people face is that many will never become parents because biologically speaking, they can’t. Infertility rates climb with age. By the time a woman is 30, nearly 90% of her viable eggs are gone. (See Countless numbers of couples will spend small fortunes trying every procedure known to doctors trying to get pregnant at a later age, and many will never succeed and remain heartbroken along with bank-broken.)

Those who do manage to get pregnant will face higher birth defect rates and complications due to age (of both mother and father) and from the fertility treatments. The fact is, your body doesn’t care that you wanted to wait until you had your career established and money in the bank. Sperm, eggs and biology have no respect for your wishes to buy a nice house and have the bigger car and travel the world or date around before you decide to employ them for procreation. (FYI sleeping around also increases your likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted diseases which can also impact your ability to conceive.)

Let’s revisit our original math problems, shall we?  Obviously, by simple addition we find that Person A will not become a grandparent until 70 years of age if they and their child both wait till 35 to have a baby. By the time that child is 10 years old and the grandparent can really talk to the kid and sow into his life, Gramps will be 80.

How much strength, energy and money do most 80-year-olds have for a 10 year old? What is the health like of most 80-year-olds?

On the other hand, Person B will become a grandparent at 44 years of age if both of them and their child give birth at 22. Now, when their grandchild is 10, Grandma is only 54 and, in most cases, has greater health, wealth and energy to give to the kid.

In some cases, when that grandchild graduates from high school, Gram and Gramps A will be about the same age as Parent B is when his own child graduates! Can you imagine sitting at the commencement ceremony and someone leaning over to ask you, “Which one is your grandchild?” Your answer would be, “Oh, no! He’s my son!”

Why the wait, people?

For amassing more wealth? Wealth you may spend just trying to get pregnant?

To “play the field”, or see the world, establish a career and collect things? I promise you that no number of sexual partners, trips, jobs, cars, TVs or other toys will ever compare in value and importance to your children and grandchildren.

I don’t know anyone who would lay their life down for their “stuff”, but they would for those little ones.  And a special note to Christians: Our time and purpose here isn’t about materialism anyway.

This is a message that the Christian church must get hold of and buck the thinking of the world on. In this area, we truly have become much too much like them.

Think it through, do the math and give some thought to the way you are thinking about this. If you can still act on the math or teach your own kids to marry and have kids younger, do it. Let’s prove to the world that Christians can still “do the math”.

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### 64 Responses to “Do The Math”

1. Deb wrote:

It’s not about the math, it’s about when God decides and if He decides to bless you with children. I don’t agree we should be seeking first a relationship with others, we seek God first and He provides the rest and if during that period you are going to school, learning what you have to offer in work, learning who you are – before you find someone else, that isn’t a bad sequence. And if you don’t find that someone until you are 30 or older, that isn’t non-Christian or even inherently wrong. You assume in your article that late children are a result of seeking material things first – is there a study or some statistics that you used to back-up that assumption? Did you ask why people waited? And for those who marry young and have children, that is great – but I don’t believe they were thinking of the math when they decided to be committed in a relationship. I have no problem with young marriages because I believe God has His own timing and for some it will be young and for others older. Finally, if older persons were not capable of meaningful relationships, then why are so many grandparents successfully raising their grandchildren today? I am 58 with my youngest now 20, my sister in-law is 60 and raised two grandchildren now 20 & 17 years old, she married at 17, I at 27. It seems God gave us the same math as far as children and how young we were, made no significant difference.

2. Claudia Martinez wrote:

As an “OLD” mother (My daughter was born when I was 34, I am in favor of having children after you are over 30. By the time my daughter was born, I had traveled, gone to parties, finished my master, worked for almost 10 years, gone to family and friend meetings, read a lot, and lived my early youth freely and without family obligations. When my daughter was born, I did not feel that having a family was a heavy burden but a welcome and loved step in my life. I have the patience and joy for everything that happens with my loved, blessed, heaven gift kids. I have the time for my kids. I have the experience to deal with everyday problems. I am not a young woman mad at a family duties. My kids enjoy of their big grandparents and at the same time learn to respect, care and love elder peolpe.

3. Dexter Garrison wrote:

I am 39 years old and a father of 6 kids. One of my greatest joys is to see my kids light up with excitement and joy when I come in to the room. My dad use to tell me, as his father told him, “You just don’t know how good it feels to see your children grow and do God’s will.” Now that I have kid’s, he tells me, “You just don’t knowhow good it feels. . .” I look forward to seeing what he’s talking about in due season. Children are truly “an inheritance from the Lord”. Psalm 127

4. Bitsy wrote:

I think a lot of the issues at this time about the math is not necessarily that we wait until we’re that age but that there are very few people out there who share the same spiritual values. I have a friend right now who would make a cracker Jack of a wife but she is 29 and only one person has been interested in her and he wasn’t a good match because she didn’t live up to what he wanted in a woman. She has some learning challenges but she is very fun to be around, can cook, clean and is very good with children along with loving them and wanting some of her own. (Unfortunately it’s been hard to maintain her friendship because she struggles so much with wanting a family and I have one.) She is not the prettiest thing and she has some weight issues but she is sincere, loving and very giving.

I was 25 when I met my husband and the person who was interested in me at the time, turned out to have a hard time keeping faithful to me even with him just being interested in me. (Not to mention the embarrasment that him announcing he had been with several women while interested in me had to do on my poor virgin mind.) This is becoming more and more of a problem in the christian world and the regular world. I think a lot of us women would love to get married younger. My mom married exactly a month from her 18th birthday (Her parents had to sign for her.) She had me when she was 20. I wanted kids young so that I had the energy to keep up with a 2 year old. I am 29. I have a 2 year old and possibly another on the way. But I wasn’t willing to settle for just anyone to father my kids either.

My husband is a wonderful man. He has his issues but we all do and I think he puts up with more from me than I have to with him. He is very loving, compassionate, caring and loyal. We have our times of conflict but for the most part (and what I have seen in the marriages that surround us) we have little conflict with each other.

Our son is a wonderful little guy. Very busy!!! But very smart and affectionate. He truly is a blessing to us.

Please give me some advice as to how I can help my friend with her struggle for wanting a family and not having anyone interested in her.

Thank you,
Bitsy

5. Bobbi wrote:

As the daughter of “older parents” I totally agree with Pastor Gungor. Looking at it from the child’s point of view, it was hard having older parents. I missed out on so many things my friends were doing with their younger parents simply because my parents were too old and were too tired to do things with me. (My parents were the same age as my friends grandparents.) And forget about having a relationship with my grandparents.

I started my family young, in my early twenties. I LOVE being a young mom. I love being able to really run around and play with my kids. I don’t just sit on the park bench watching them, I am able to kick the soccer ball, swing the bat and bounce on the trampoline with them. It is so important to me to be able to do those things and make those memories with them. I don’t have those memories with my parents. My kids also have the relationship I didn’t have with my grandparents with their father’s parents. My parents are now gone. My children never knew their grandfather and they just lost their grandmother. My youngest kids will never remember her. How sad is that that they will miss out on all of those memories of their grandparents simply because they wanted to wait? I love my parents dearly, but I think that waiting to have children until later in life is extremely selfish.

• Diane Brierley for Mark Gungor wrote:

Bobbi,
Thank you so much for commenting on this! You have a very valuable perspective on this!
Diane

6. Dina wrote:

Hi! I think people underestimate the influence grandparents have on their grandchildren.
I am an almost young mother . I married at 23 and had my kids at 26,27 and 29. My parents were 21 when I came along, so my kids have pretty young grandparents and I love the way my kids and my parents interact. My oldest son (now 9), has a very close connection with my mum and he tells her everything, (also the imbarassing things his mum does…) and I am very happy he has someone to open up to and that he has someone who can influence him in a way I am not capable of. He just takes things from her as if he hears it for the first time, even if I have tried to get it in his head a million times before. My dad has long bikerides with the kids, goes to the woods and climb trees and choppes wood with them,… The favorite thing for the kids he does with them is read to them. My dad has a very inspirational way of reading to the kids. It’s hilarious to listen to!
A very different presentation I see with my parents in law. They are about 10 years older than my parents are, and that still isn’t all that old compared to the example in the article, but I see the lack of energy and flexibilty in them. They are pretty tired after they had one or two of the kids, let alone all three of them. They also don’t do the energetic things with them, though the kids do have a great time, but much quieter .
The very best thing I think grandparents can do for their kids and grandkids, is pray for them. And I here also like doing the math… the younger people are becoming grandparents, the longer they can pray for their kids and grandkids

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