My son is nearly seven weeks old, and during his moments of quiet slumber, my eyes pour over every square inch of his tiny frame. He has soft skin, a strong grip and a beautiful smile. He is chubby in all the right places, and his eyes are innocent and curious.
He does not have any judgment on his face. His mind has not known evil, and his body does not bear any scars. Life has yet to wound him, and this terrifies me. I dread the idea that he won’t always be unscathed. The more this thought festers, the more I panic. What can I do to protect him? How do I shelter him from the outside world? How do I restrain him from doing all the questionable things I did?
Then I think of all the things I’m going to have to teach him. Things like how to tie his shoes and ride a bike. Someday I’ll have to talk to him about sex and drugs and alcohol. He’ll need to know how to treat a woman and how to respect his elders. And sooner or later, he’ll need to know how to hold his head up after his first taste of defeat.
All these thoughts hit me at once as I watch my boy dream. Then I think of God’s Word, and a couple passages come to mind. Referring to his commands, God tells parents to “repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7, NLT) Also, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4, NLT)
All God requires of us, as parents, is to pass on the principles he has established. Anything more reeks of pure desperation. One day I will have to let my boy walk on his own, and he will probably fall a few times. Despite my best efforts, he will break, bruise and bleed like every little boy before him. However, I’m reminded that even Jesus has scars; and if God the Father hadn’t allowed his Son to suffer, then humanity would never have known things like forgiveness and redemption.
So for now I will hold my son as he sleeps. I will tell him that I love him and will always be there for him. And I will pray that the wounds he suffers in life will drive him straight into the arms of his Heavenly Father.