Written by Drew on October 28th, 2005

This week I’ve been watching my daughter Ava as my wife completes her last week of work. It’s been a good use of my vacation time, and I’ve learned a lot through the process.

The secret, it seems to me, to taking care of an infant can be summed up in the word “adjust.” If you wake up in the morning with a plan for the day, it won’t take long for you to become frustrated. Little babies have a way of making our plans vanish into thin air. To maintain your peace of mind, you must adjust–adjust to the baby’s schedule and needs. If she happens to take a nap at some point, congratulations! You have been granted a few minutes to accomplish some of things you wanted to do.

While this adjustment strategy works for a while, eventually it must be turned on its end. Parents cannot continue to adjust to their children. As little ones mature and gain the capacity to understand their parent’s wishes, they must begin to adjust to their parents. I don’t know exactly at what age this flip-flop should occur, but it should take place at a young age.

Solomon taught parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). The word “train” is best understood in the sense of “inaugurating” or “starting” a child in the right direction (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 301). Obviously the shift in the battle of the wills should come early in a child’s life.

Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). First, our children are to be brought up in “discipline.” This word involves much. Abbott-Smith gives the following explanation: “1. the rearing of a child… 2. training, learning, instruction… 3. chastening, discipline.” Next, they are to reared in the “instruction of the Lord.” The word is nouthesia, literally “putting in mind the Lord.”

Too many parents continue to adjust to their children’s wishes after they have reached an age where they need to be “trained,” “disciplined,” and “instructed.” Right now, I’m adjusting. But very soon, my little girl will have to do some adjusting of her own. It’s for her own good.


4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jason J says:

    Excellent Drew! I agree 100%. Thanks for the post.

  2. andy says:

    I hope you do as well with Ava as your mother did with you.

  3. J- Train says:

    Could you write an article on how child-less best friends can adjust? Just kidding, I love Ava! Good article though, very insightful for such a short time as a father. It’s also a good thing Ava has the best Uncles in the World!

  4. RB says:

    ‘Adjust’ is a good way of putting it. I agree that the change should take place at a young age but it seems to me that instead of a flip-flop it is actually more of a gradual process. I’m still making adjustments with a 19 and 17 year old. (Back to being up at all hours.) To be fair to them however they make a lot of adjustments for me. My life is more interesting and I have learned so much from the adjustments I have had to make to accomodate their needs. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment