I voiced my concerns to one of my aunts, and she said, "The Baby is the Lesson." It was just the thing I needed to hear. I have thought back to that simple statement many times.
Here are a few lessons we have learned in the past year because of having a baby in the house.
- Tenderness. Because of the fragility of babies, everyone practices being gentle, showing affection through tender strokes.
- Selflessness. Babies often get first priority. When Mom's nursing, others must wait. If the baby wants your toy, you let him have it, because he's just a baby.
- Patience. You have to wait your turn for Mom's attention. Also, the baby may scream during a long car-ride, and you have to wait it out. Complaining doesn't make it go any faster.
- Mothering/Fathering skills. How to deal with a baby. Older kids watch Mom as she bathes, changes, feeds baby, etc. often modeling the same behaviors with dolls (if they're young) or helping (if they're a little older). They also watch Mom as she sings, rocks, and caresses baby.
- Heaven. Where babies come from. The Spirit that they bring into a home is a testament that there is a loving God who sends them into our homes.
- Difficult tasks are worth doing. As we cheer on little Y who has recently learned to walk, I think about the older children. Cheering for his accomplishments, seeing his struggles, helping him through them, and knowing it is all worth it.
- Love. Love for the new little one. Love for each other. Love is taught through serving others. Children also learn that a Mother's and Father's love are not lessened with another member of the family to share it with. The family love only grows to envelop another little being into the family whole.