rediscovering christianity's forgotten, organic ways amidst the modern industrial religious machine

What am I supposed to do with a Newborn?

Virtually every modern western man who has just had a baby asks the same question.

“What are you supposed to do with it?”

Most start loosing interest almost immediately while the more persistent among us poke, swing, throw or scare the baby attempting to get some kind of reaction.

But even if the baby has a fun startled look that makes us laugh or an occasional smile that warms our heart we can’t help but wonder if these rather puny offerings are worth the enormous sacrifice this kid is costing us.

But what if we’re asking the wrong question?

Perhaps we should take a big step back and begin by asking “what is it”?

We think we know what it is – it’s a baby. But that’s not good enough. Because families today have fallen so far from their original design we don’t know what a baby is or what a baby means. So we find some other category we do know to put it into.

Some talk about their baby primarily as a biological life form – “all it does is poop and sleep.”

Some think about their baby as an annoying duty – “I can’t believe it wakes me up at night!”

Others see it as a pet – “Look it can roll over now.”

While others dress it up as a kind of mascot – “Have you seen her new jammies with the bunny ears?” or “his new mohawk”.

But I’ve noticed the best most attentive dads in our culture tend to put the child into the category closest to our western, individualistic hearts, the toy – “watch how she sucks on my nose.”

I’ve said and felt all the things above and having these thoughts or feelings is not bad, it’s very normal, but I realized that I was doing these things in a desperate attempt to carve out a place in my heart for this newborn.

But I’ve learned something after having many kids and making many different attempts at this. There was already a place in my heart for my kids but I needed to find it.

God actually made every human being with a place for each kind of family relationship – father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister.

But because family has been degraded those places are buried deep inside and not easy to find. But we need to find them and not simply settle for one of the above more familiar categories because when we do, it tends to continue as they grow up and it will have a profound impact on them. They need to sense that they are a son or daughter not a pet or a toy. And that starts with you bringing them into that place in your heart.

So how is this done?

Step #1 – Learn what a son or daughter really is. Scour the Bible and see what sonship was by looking at how Abraham felt about Isaac, how David felt about his sons, and how the Father felt about Jesus. Look at how Ruth played the role of daughter. Read great ancient stories (especially myths and legends) when people still remembered what a son or a daughter really meant.

Step #2 – When God gives you a son or a daughter CALL them son or daughter in your heart. When you hold them say “my son” or “my daughter” over and over. Open yourself to the strange feelings that will begin to emerge. I believe this is a major reason we’re given an entire year to just hold our helpless little newborns. It’s so that we have time to bring them into our core.

Step #3 – Allow them to change your identity. A son or daughter only exists to the extent that a father or mother exists. In other words, if you resist deeply taking on the identity of father or mother they will be unable to come into their full identity as a son or daughter. For dads this means actually thinking of yourself PRIMARILY as a father. What does it mean to live each part of your life as a father? Father is the only identity big enough to provide a framework for your work identity (i.e. now you work to provide for your family) your husband identity and your masculine identity at the same time. Yes you can still have other identities but this one is really big. Embrace it.

Step #4 – Repeat the above three steps with each child.

The result will be dramatic and your children will actually be different children even at a very young age. A child that senses their father appraises their worth based on how much they can amuse their dad will become a very different kind of kid than a child who knows they’ve captured the deepest place in their father’s heart.

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To learn more about the biblical vs. the western family checkout the ReFamily Blueprint.