In many cultures men are honored more than women. Rich people are respected more than poor people. The current market value of a person is determined like the price of a car. Model, year, and condition all play a part. The disturbing truth is that human worth, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. Yet something interesting shows up in the eyes of a mother of father.
A question of the heart – After the birth of our son in 1973 and our daughter in 1979, I was overwhelmed by how much I loved both of them. At some point I remember thinking I’m not sure I understood the value of a person before becoming a parent. And then another thought: What if the devil approached me with a bid for their souls?
Answers that don’t come close – Here’s one way the proposition plays out. The devil offers to rig the world’s largest lottery in exchange for the life of my son. Then he suggests the lifetime earnings of the world’s wealthiest family for my daughter. When he sees that he hasn’t gotten my attention, he says, “Name your price. What about all the oil in the Mideast? All the real state in the world? All the industry on the planet? I’ll throw in personal happiness, good health, and a long life for you and your wife.” You see where this is going. Your answer would be the same as mine. No amount of money or material possessions could tempt us to sell – for any price – one of our own children, But then there is another question. What if the devil offered me all the money, real state, and industry of the world for the soul of someone else’s child?
Since I’ve just admitted that I couldn’t put a price tag of any amount on one of my own children, I’m in a frame of mind to remember that everyone is somebody’s baby. And by a parent’s standard, there isn’t another child in the world worth less than my own. Yet here my own character gives out on me. While my love for my son and my daughter tells me something about the priceless value of a person, my own conscience tells me how inconsistently I’ve given attention and consideration even to my own children – let alone the sons and daughters of others.