I'll get back to 'preaching without notes' in the next post but I must comment about a fun morning we shared at the seminary today. We celebrated a baby shower with one of our popular members of staff and her husband. After food, games and gifts, Carol and I were asked to give final words of parenting advice to the couple expecting their baby in May. We had so much enjoyment reflecting on what we might say (or not)!
Among other things, I recollected my mother earnestly entreating me: 'No matter how much I try and explain the difference this child will make to everything in your lives you will never believe me until it happens! As someone said: 'Parents are not put on earth to make adults of children; children are put on earth to make adults of parents!' And what differences lie ahead for them! Carol warned them how children imitate their parents and how careful they will need to be. She told the story about driving with our toddler son strapped in a rear child seat. When exasperated by other drivers (nothing has changed) her stock expression was: "What's that twit doing?" One day, out of the blue, to her immense surprise the very first sentence out of our son's mouth was: "Wotsthattwidoing?' Yes, we have to be careful.
I also added that the three most important words they can say are: 'We love you'. The four most important words are: 'We can't afford it'. At the end we gave thanks for the gift they are about to receive. I quoted (is it Charles Dickens?): 'It is no small thing that those who are so soon from God should love us'. To be a parent is an immense privilege - it changes everything for ever.