In my last post I talked just a little about my relationship with YHVH. It needs to come first, and other priorities can fall into place below it. The next priority in my life is my family. Most people start at the top, with marriage, but just to be different, I'm going to start at the bottom, with babies. Below is an excerpt from a book I was playing around with writing, but will probably never finish. :)
The value of children
I know, you wanted to know if I recommend breast or bottle, or if I let my babies cry themselves to sleep. But this is where our journey must begin. I don’t know the circumstances around you becoming a parent. Is it your first child, and you are filled with ideological happiness? You picture your serene baby in your arms as you rock them in your beautifully decorated nursery. You have read the books and have planned your parenting approach. (Been there.)
Perhaps this is a later baby that seems to be coming way too close to the last one. You feel overwhelmed and scared. You don’t know how to handle three or more kids at the same time. You have been in the trenches before, and aren’t sure you are ready for sleepless nights and crying. (Been there.)
Perhaps others are judging the timing of this baby, and you wonder if they are right. You seem to barely be able to care for the children you have. You have no right to add another to the zoo. (Been there.)
Perhaps terrible things have been going on in your life lately and you are almost afraid to enjoy this baby, for fear something terrible will happen to him or her. You are paralyzed with worry and fear that something will go wrong, or you will do something wrong. (Been there.)
Perhaps you are thrilled with another baby, but are definitely aware that there is still much to learn and you need to be equipped to care for this particular baby. (There right now.)
No matter what situation you find yourself in, there is one answer. This child is a gift. This child is entrusted to your care. No matter the timing, the spacing, the circumstances, this child is precious. This child is valuable. This child is unique. This child is on time. This child needs you, but you are not alone. You were made by the Creator, designed to raise children, even though you are imperfect. Even though you will make mistakes. His plan is for imperfect children to be raised by imperfect parents. Why? I have no idea, but if He planned it, I must assume that it is a good plan. Your baby was also designed by the Creator. He knows what your individual baby needs and He knows how you can best meet those needs.
Parenting is the season in your life when you are depended upon entirely by another human being. However, you must learn dependence on your Creator. You must become a child, and empty yourself of fears, worries, ideals, dogmas, and plans. Crawl up in your Heavenly Father’s lap and ask Him for help. He knows all about it. He knows you are tired. He knows you have no answers. He knows that the last three baby books you read either brought you to tears, or made you feel so guilty you wanted to cry. Tell Him all about it and let Him help you.
Now, is it possible to unconditionally love that little cherub that won’t stop screaming? Yes it is. Our example comes from how our Heavenly Father loves us. He puts great value on each person. His instructions for living (Torah) teach us about kindness and unconditional love. We put the other person first. We help them with their burdens. We return their lost items. We respect their property. We feed them even if they are our enemy. We use fairness and justice in all our dealings. We show mercy, particularly to those who cannot help themselves. We take care of the poor and oppressed. We love others as we love ourselves.
How does this apply to parenting? Picture your baby at the other end of these commands. Do you see how our Creator shows us how to value and love those around us? How can you value your baby? How can you demonstrate unconditional love to them? How can you care for them in a just and fair way?
I know, I know. You think I am advocating spoiling your baby. But there is a problem with that logic. Our Heavenly Father has never stopped loving us. Sometimes that love must be tough love, but it is only ever demonstrated in a way that is best for us. Our interests are always first in His mind. Each choice we make as parents must take into consideration the best interest of our child, just as our Heavenly Father cares for us.
Have a wonderful Shabbat!
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