To any young professionals who have wondered if one day they'd have to choose between having a career or having kids: I've been there. When my husband and I considered what it would take for me to get a Ph.D., I agonized about whether I could be a good mom and a successful scholar at the same time. My husband, always the practical one, told me to take a cue from our church family.

At our Spanish-speaking immigrant church, people don't have the luxury to think too hard about what it costs to raise their kids. Most have children (it probably never occurred to them not to) and keep busy making ends meet. The kids in my church don't have Baby Mozart albums, parents who attend every school function, or a neighborhood in a top school district. Yet, they seem to be doing just as well as kids who have it all.

Why? Because their moms and dads love them exorbitantly, and everyone in the church parents them as well. My church, though not perfect, does better job than most of living up to the proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." An older empty-nest couple, for example, used to take care of a younger couple's two daughters. The pastor's wife goes out of her way to pick up children for Sunday school when their parents can't come. We treat each other like family, and we treat all the children in the church as our own.

When I look at my church, I realize that my husband and I aren't the only ones who will take care of our kids. Our church will, our extended family will, and our community will too. Our children will probably be better off for these other examples in their lives. This takes the pressure off of me and my husband to be their sole caretakers and frees us to pursue ...

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