My baby had better not stay this cute, or I will never be able to effectively discipline him.
I’ve met a few kids in my day, and all of them have needed some thoughtful discipline at one time or another, so my hopes are not too high that my son will be the exception to this rule (though it would be nice). Also, I know his father, and I’m pretty sure we’re in for some exciting times ahead, mischief-wise. (I think we can all agree that he won’t get any of that from me.)
It’s just that right now that sweet little innocent face really is sweet and innocent. My little chubby-cheeked boy doesn’t do anything with bad intent or dark motive. He’s just a precious baby who can basically do with impunity whatever it pops into his
little head to do, because he doesn’t have the reasoning skills to decide to do anything bad.
Isn’t that amazing and beautiful? How great that people get to start out parenting with these incorrupt little beings. We can laugh it off when they sneeze in our faces, simply shake our heads and sigh (well, and maybe cry a little) when they refuse to sleep, and just keep picking up (and washing) the pacifier when it
falls is repeatedly spit out onto the floor time after time.
Making the transition as a child matures from cherubic innocence into trying out naughtiness (and beyond) is, I’m sure, a painful experience for parents. The first time I have to reprimand my son will not be easy, and I may even try to put it off, though I hope I don’t.
When those naughty days come, I hope I can remember the pure sweetness that I know is inside of him (because I’ve seen it), and train him lovingly in the way he needs to go with that sweetness in mind.
The way I see it is that we’ve been gifted with a perfect little gurgling, cooing bundle of pure potential. Yes, it’s too late to do anything about the genetics, and parents can’t take all of the blame or credit for how a kid turns out, but we are held accountable for the way we guide him or her. The daunting task before us is first to love this little person completely, which requires patience and long-suffering on our parts. But love isn’t the only thing, of course. We’re also expected to mold our child’s character into the most Christlike shape we can. And, here’s the thing: none of us can do either of those things very well. We really must depend on God, who is Love, to help us totally and completely love our kids. Of course we have to truly know Christ if we’re going to have any hope of leading our children to be as like Him as possible.
It’s a huge responsibility that we have, as parents, and I’ve got a lot of work to do on myself to continue to prepare for being the best parent I can be as my son grows. I have to be willing to model the values I’m trying to instill in him, which is easier said than done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have a good many lessons to learn, new habits to adopt, and old ones to change. It’s amazing what having a baby will do for the rigors of your self-scrutiny. I’m trying to let God show me what parts of my life need to change, and which parts I need to guard against changing as a result of becoming a parent. It’s not easy, but I really, really love being a mom. So far, it’s helping me to be a better (albeit more tired and unkempt) person.
The good news is that I’ve known an awful lot of really great (though sometimes naughty) kids, and not one of them had a perfect parent. There is hope. I do know that if he stays as cute as he is right now, though, I might be in trouble.