Thursday, November 27, 2008

My buddy

Today, among many other things, I am thankful for a well-behaved, happy dog.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brubaby hopes

Nobody is really ever ready to be a parent. I'm no exception. Seasoned veterans laugh at my first-time parent optimism, but pat me on the back for my lofty goals and say, "Well, if you think can do it, that's great."

I may not know for sure yet if I want a stroller, or which kind is the best for our lifestyle, or whether or not we'll do the whole co-sleeping thing (some people say that if your baby sleeps with you, it's a commitment through toddlerhood, and I am not cool with that). But I do know there are some things I want very much for my child, and I will do everything within my parental power to make them happen.

Christmastime wishes for our Christmas baby

Knowing God. Well, this one had to be first, didn't it? But before you skip over the blah spiritual-ese you're expecting, please know that I really mean it. I don't mean "going to church and being a good youth group-type kid." I mean having a relationship with the creator of the universe and really truly trusting God in ways that I have always struggled to do. I mean stripping the Christian faith of all the unnecessary, unhelpful, ungodly trappings that have accompanied it for two centuries and seeing God for who he really is.

Knowing that he or she is loved. Our small family – consisting of me and Mr. Incredible and Lewis the leaping hound – has already established a firm foundation of frequent affection, and I love that. We may be serious a lot of the time, but we always make time to cuddle, hug, and just be together. I hope that this affectionate environment communicates love to our little one, but I also hope Brubaby learns love from the choices we make as parents: when we don’t shower him or her with material things because we believe there are better gifts we can give our children and when we hold our child to higher standards because we love him or her enough to see the full potential he or she can reach. These are hard lessons to learn; my hope is that our child learns them as early as possible, so that he or she can understand that Mr. Incredible and I don’t just plan to make life miserable or different for our kids; our choices are motivated by love.

Loving people – and engaging with them honestly. I wish for my child that he or she will learn to treat people as people – their personal views, cultures, practices, political ideologies notwithstanding. There’s nothing I hate more, or find more divisive, than when people label me a certain way and reduce their understanding of me to a caricature. I try my best not to do this with other people, and I hope that my child will be able to see past labels and ideologies to the diverse and beautiful (and broken) human creatures underneath. But I also hope that my child inherits its father’s ability to engage with the worldviews around him or her, and distinguish between truth and fiction. I believe that this combination – being able to love and understand people, yet never being swayed by false arguments – is a significant key to peace. And I hope that our child will know, find, and share peace.

There are many more things I wish for my child, but those are the ones on my mind right now. Do I sound ridiculously idealistic? Are you seasoned parents laughing? Sorry; I can’t help but strive for the best – even though I know I will fail often, I think it’s still worth trying and training and praying.