Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

27Feb/140

Expecting a Baby…

I neglected writing this post for a long time...I figured it would be controversial, and I am not one to favor arguing. Yet, while I prefer face-t0-face discussions, I felt that this topic deserved the expression of my voice...it was too important to express only silence. So here are a few of my thoughts on being a parent...

1. We are ALREADY a family, and ALREADY making an impression on another life.

This hit me when I first began to be able to feel our baby move in the womb. There's a living, sensing, hearing person in there! Before these events, I always thought that my life would change when baby arrived...but it is changing now. I am motivated to change my behavior now...and I am honestly concerned that things that baby experiences and hears will shape them.

2. Babies deserve thoughtful, well-informed attention.

The more I read about babies, I believe this is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of our parenting paradigm in modern culture as well. Since we can't remember our experience as a baby, or even at a young age, we assume those years aren't that important. But more and more, I believe that the sense of security or lack of it that a baby perceives shapes them. I plan to parent intentionally at every age. I don't want to follow the typical advice I receive of "you'll figure it out." I'd rather have a lot of information, so I can choose to follow the advice that I agree with, and that seems to work for my child. Why waste or ignore the advice of experts, people who've raised and researched hundreds of babies? Do I really want to rely on my own instincts alone? Sounds like setting myself up for an epic fail! I didn't become who I am today by relying on my instincts alone. I won't parent that way either!

3. The most important thing I can impart to my children is to make thoughtful decisions by my example and encouragement.

In reading about and observing parents in our community as well as around the world, I am becoming more convinced that I need to teach my children to make good decisions--to be thoughtful in choosing how they behave. There's good reasons why parents in places like Japan can trust their children to walk to school, keep a schedule, and return safely on time. They have taught them to think and choose behavior. They aren't simply telling them what to do--and modeling emotional demanding behavior that their children will later imitate. Don't get me wrong--they are strategic when teaching and giving their children choice--the children don't run the house or schedule, they simply make lots of decisions that fit within the parent's schedule and plan.

Ah, so much to learn...so much to experience and experiment with.

Feel free to disagree...just do it face-to-face if you can. Let's start a conversation!

 

Recent books that are influencing my thoughts:

Parenting without Borders

Love and Logic

The Baby Whisperer

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