Monday, June 02, 2003

Lessons my 3 Month Old Son Taught Me

Now our newborn son is three months old, what has fatherhood taught me?
All my life, a baby was always a baby, and usually not someone I tended to want to get to know very closely -- apart from a "goochi goochl goo" and maybe to hold it a time or two. All that has now changed. Not only do I view babies differently, but I now even perceive humanity in a slightly different way.
Our son, Abie, has been with us for three months -- or 9+3 month, depending on how one looks at it. Even now, while holding him, I think, "What a tiny specimine of humanity!" He is a full fledge human being, and yet he can lie down resting his tummy on my forearm, his face in my hand, while dangling his feet at my elbow (which, as you parents know, is the position for the easing of colic).
Okay, so he's tiny. But he's fully a human. There's not a single button, knob or lever on him that we can push, twist or pull that will guarantee a consistent response each time. He's not a pull string doll, nor even one of those that closes its eyes when you lie it down...

LITTLE GIRL: Look mommy, my baby is sleeping! It closes its eyes when it lies down!
PARENT: (sigh) I wish!

He has his own personality, a complicated set of variables within his body and mind, and a will that decides on its own what to do with them. That is the sure mark of humanity. Despite our best intentions, our hopes, our dreams, we can never make up his mind for him. Now, I know just a little of the heart of God. In His profound love for us, his concern, even the sacrifice of sending His own Son to die for us, He won't make up our mind up for us either. Humanity is created in God's image, and that means we have the power of choice. Abie already seems to be reflecting this characteristic of humanity, even if it is on a very basic level.
The only thing Abie lacks is the communication skill to tell us what's wrong with him, and why he won't choose to accept what we've so wisely chosen for him. It's hard to tell whether he's crying for more milk or if he has a tummy ache. He can't hold an intelligent conversation, but he understands the language of love. From the time he was first born, he hungered for love, and he knew when he was receiving it. Now, at three months, he's much more interactive. When we get his attention and talk to him, he laughs and coos, and acts as though he's talking to us. The fact that very little in the way of intellectual content is passing between us seems to make very little difference. The important thing is the fact that we're interacting. That's how it will be for the whole first year of Abie's life, if not the first two or three.
I remember that at the age of six, a family moved next door to us. They had two daughters, one age three and the other, four. The four-year-old was close enough to my age to where we could play intelligently, but I didn't like the three-year-old because she was to far below my intellectual level. However, her older sister would never allow me to exclude her from our activities. She saw things differently. They were sisters.
We adult humans -- even from the age of six -- value our intellect so much! Why, this entire web site is dedicated to intellectual content! Yet for the first three or so years of life we understand only the language of love. In fact, it may be 10 years before Abie will even begin to appreciate the fact that I'm a writer!
Are we adults missing something? Why do we fail to get along? Why do churches split over differences in how we view things intellectually? What happened to the language of love, which is ever so much more basic to our make-up?

He called a child to him, stood him among them, and said, "Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won't even enter the Kingdom of Heaven!" (Matthew 18:2,3 Jewish New Testament)

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