I wrote an article about 10 weeks after we found out we were expecting our first child. If you would like to read it, you can find it here. For those of you reading who have children, you understand this next statement to be absolute truth: parenting brings on a new perspective to life.
I remember being in the delivery room when Beckett was born and all of the emotions racing through my mind. We had been in the hospital since 10:30 that morning. I was cool. I was calm. I was even productive as I had been getting a bit of work done. Beckett wasn’t born until 8:22 that evening of August 25, 2015. I remember the entire period of waiting for my wife to begin the true labor process and all that it entails. But what I remember most was the time all of the delivery nurses and their team walked in and told us it was time: I freaked out.
All of a sudden all of these questions were running through my mind:
- How in the world do you raise a child?
- There’s no handbook?
- What do I do when it won’t stop crying?
- Can we even do this?
So many different questions were running through my head – until I held my baby boy for the first time. It was the most precious moment I’ve ever experienced. It was surreal. No longer was I scared or frightened by the idea of parenting, even though I knew I had no idea what I was doing. There is just something about the birth of a newborn baby. All of the questions and cares that I had were gone for a moment while I held Beckett for the first time.
Over the past 15 months, I’ve learned so much. Here they are:
1) My Wife is Super-Mom
I’ve always been under the impression that if your wife has to work, you as the husband should help around the house. Whenever Kaylee and I got married, we knew this would have to be the case. So we made up our own little agreement of what duties would be assigned to which spouse and it has worked for us. Obviously there are days in which the other spouse must pick up the slack of the other and that pendulum swings both ways. But when the baby came, it was a different story. We no longer had only housework, we also had a child that came first in taking care of. It made things a bit different since someone was having to care for the newborn a large majority of the time spent at home.
Kaylee has really excelled as a mother. We were only married for two years before our first child was born (SURPRISE!). We hadn’t planned on having kids soon because of us both being in school. I knew Kaylee was a great wife, but when I saw her become a mother my love for her grew leaps and bounds. I never knew how much she really cared until I saw her care for Beckett. Seeing her maternal side come through from parenting has made me love her more than I ever have. She really is the best mom.
2) Children Will Test Your Patience
Since having a child, I’ve told Kaylee several times that I will never talk down about my children from the pulpit. I’ve really been a bit apprehensive to people who I’ve seen do this. It hurts my heart for those children. Our job as parents should be to build up our children and not tear them down. In no way am I conveying a style of parenting where “everything they do is good,” even when it really isn’t. We don’t want to be participation trophy parents. I want my children to excel in the things they do well, and learn in the areas in which they do not. However, I don’t want to be a parent that communicates a type of love that is based on their performance.
It is very difficult when your children are having the days where they want to test every ounce of patience you have in you by not getting into the cabinets after you’ve told them 50 times not to, or how you’ve told them to stop throwing their food on the floor from the high chair to which they reply, “Hi!”. Oh how hard it is to discipline with love in a way that tells our children that we love them for who they are, not who we want them to be.
3) Grace is a Wonderful Thing
There have been several times in the past 15 months that I’ve done things in the name of parenting and had to apologize to my son, even if he didn’t understand me. It is really difficult for me to remember that he is only 15 months old and doesn’t understand all that I try to communicate to him. But on the flip side, it is also crucial to remember that, as we say in Arkansas, “He ain’t no dummy.” Beckett knows he is to obey mommy and daddy when they tell him to do or not to do something. However, there are situations where he has displayed the perfect amounts of grace toward me when I make a parenting mistake.
I never recall a time where I’ve made a mistake while getting on to him and him not letting me hold him or him not kissing me goodnight. What grace we can learn from children, even if they don’t know what they’re teaching us.
4) Water Works
Since becoming a father, I’ve become so much more emotional. I remember rocking Beckett early in the morning only a couple of months after he was born and weeping uncontrollably because I was overwhelmed that I was a father – it was and is such a blessing. Other times, I find myself thinking about “what if” situations. What if something happened to him? What if, somehow, he was taken from us? What if we lost him (yes, real question)? All of these questions bring tears to my eyes.
My wife loves to watch Law and Order: Special Victims Unit which deals specifically with victims of sexual crimes. I know it is a television show, but seeing childless parents or parents who abuse their children hit me in the feel goods quite often. But I’m thankful for the way God is changing my emotional aspect of me.
5) My View of God Has Grown
In lieu of point 4, I can’t help but think of how God “so loved the world that he gave his only son.” I mean this with all sincerity: I love all my friends and family, but I would not give my son for them. There are people who mean more to me than anything, but my son will not be dying for them. And yet, God so loved the world that he sent Jesus to die in our place for us. What a God we serve to sacrifice his fatherhood for the salvation of his people!
6) The Importance of Family Worship
I catch myself, from time to time, thinking about Beckett becoming a teenager. In all that is good and true, I worry he will choose to reject Christ and Christianity. Honestly, we cannot guarantee that our children will become followers of Christ. Given what we know about our culture, there is a chance that our children will be influenced by the world and take part in fleshly desires instead of heavenly things.
Let me be frank: I am terrible at conducting habitual, family worship, but I am striving to do better. There are times when I do not lead as I should, and want to change that. However, I do see the importance. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize children who are raised in a home where family worship is a priority, grow up to be mature believers.
These are just a few things that I have learned since becoming a parent. Thanks for taking the time to read them and see a bit into my thoughts and vulnerability. I truly am blessed to have such a wonderful family. The Lord has given me much more than I deserve.
I want to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Paul David Tripp. He says,
“A parent who has his hope in the Gospel will pursue his teenagers and will not stop until they leave the home.”