This, however, is my soapbox so I get to share what worked, and didn't work in the Trosper house. No parent is perfect all the time, so these suggestions go with the disclaimer that it may not work for you just because it worked for Bud and I, and it didn't always work for us either. We found if we focused on these things then at least we are parenting with a purpose, not just flying by the seat of our pants. Intentional (Proactive) parenting always seems to work better than Emotional (Reactive) parenting. When we respond to situations in a reactive way we can say or do something we regret, or that can damage our children. So it's better to be prepared. To remind you our Seven Elements for parenting are to :
PLAY WITH THEM
SACRIFICE FOR THEM
LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY
Today we will start with the First and most important element, LOVE THEM. I thank God for his amazing design that allows us 9 months to prepare for each child. While the baby is forming in the mommy's belly in such a well planned organized process, we as mother's get to change too. We have the chance to prepare our bodies, spirits, and minds for the upcoming birth, and for many years of motherhood to follow. Father's watch and play there part in the process preparing themselves as well. We are bonding with this "wee one" during this period carrying them with us wherever we go. We have to connect don't we? If the baby is a "surprise" then the 9 months can give us time to go from that surprise, to acceptance, and adoration. Even birth mother's choosing to give their babies up for adoption bond with the child and desire to make the best choices for a whole life. Adoptive parents usually have sooooo much time to plan and prepare for the little one as they pray a baby into their lives. Oh we certainly go through a lot of fear as we are preparing as well. "Will I be a good mother?" "Will he be a good father?" "What if we break him?" "How will we teach him?" "What will we name her?" "Will she be teased about her name?" We have fear about the actual birth process too, but we will realize for the first time that "what is bought with coin of pain is dearly kept."
We are so primed and ready to LOVE the baby as it is born. No one ever can imagine just how much they love that baby though. When looking into the newborn's eyes, feeling their skin, counting their toes, smelling their smell, we are hooked. Our hearts seem to stretch way out of our chests to encompass this little spirit straight from heaven. The love grows beyond the baby, the family, the room, it seems to stretch out to all human kind because LOVE for a child is a gift that can't be explained. I have heard it said that it isn't that dramatic for the daddy's, but I don't believe it. All the daddies in my family have been swept into love and tears immediately by their newborn.
So this one is easy, right?
Luckily we have people to turn to for help. New grandparents are usually very willing to lend a hand, neighbors, community members, church friends, but mainly God. God is in partnership with you in raising these children. He understands. He has children of His own. He has been frustrated with us at times, He has seen us not reach our potential, He keeps telling us over and over again. Yep, he understands. He mostly understands and tells us that LOVE is most important because He loves us.
Even when that first child is laid on your chest, or your arms you can't imagine how much more your love will grow. There will be times you may wonder if you "like" your child, but you will never not LOVE him.
This might be a good time to tell you, or remind you. These are not steps, they are elements of raising children that you will pass through again and again. They will not go in order either. It would be nice if we could get one down, and then the next.
This is by far the easiest element though. You did all the thinking and planning 9 months ago. Now just go and LOVE THEM.