Enjoy your child
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com
For years I dreamed of becoming a father. It’s not that I was anxious or anything of the sort. I was regularly told by my female friends that I would make a great dad. My fondest memories as a toddler were of my dad picking me up, tossing me towards the ceiling and then catching me in his arms. I really enjoyed those moments as he would also sing while he tossed me up. Back then my dad was my hero.
Unfortunately for me those moments became less and less as I grew into the childhood stages. He was quite a busy man; he left home before I woke and returned home hours after I went to bed. I remember a period when I never saw him for close to a week and had to ask my mom if he came home any of the days. As a result I had more time to spend with my mom, which I did.
As I’ve grown through the years I’m able to understand the significant role that parents play in the life of a child. I knew of children, both within and outside my own family, whose parents were absent from their lives; these children were cared for by extended family members. While, like me, they had a lovely childhood, there seems to be something notably different about most, if not all of them. As they grow into adulthood they seem either unwilling to commit to long term relationships or enter upon such somewhat recklessly. Consequently, these relationships don’t last or at times are tumultuous. Likewise they seldom enjoy a polished relationship with their parents and vice versa.
Fast forward to today and you will find that I am dad to a 5 year old toddler. This has allowed me to understand my parents’ struggles all those years in caring for me and my siblings. Likewise, I am better able to appreciate their efforts. As I consider their realities my only conclusion is that it must have been tremendously difficult. I wonder if they were ever at all able to enjoy the experience.
My research in the area of child growth has taught me that as a child grows he/she goes through various stages of development and each stage comes with its own uniqueness. Missing out on any one of these developmental stages can be as much of a loss to the parent as it is to the child. While there’s certainly a lot of joy involved in parenthood, it is not unusual to also feel overwhelmed with negative feelings: anxiety, confusion, frustration, depression, fatigue etc. However, knowing how quickly the period of childhood passes I have decided to enjoy every stage of my son’s development for these four reasons.
Children are a miracle and a gift from God.
My wife and I were not planning on starting a family at the time when we discovered the pregnancy. We were in fact very surprised. My excitement increased after she did the ultrasound and learnt it was a boy. It was even greater joy each evening as I would rub her tummy and feel him kicking inside her. It was a fantastic experience. Our boy was indeed a gift wrapped in love. The timing of his birth was perfect; he was delivered a week after my wife’s birthday and two weeks before mine. The Psalmist David was spot on when he wrote, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”- Psalm 127:3 (KJV)
Children represent life and energy.
You don’t know him, but if you did you would agree that I have the greatest child in the world. It is quite amazing watching him wake up each morning. As he opens his little eyes a smile quickly spreads across his face and before long he bursts out in laughter. He is very energetic, charming and confident and surprises me a lot by his words and actions. Whenever I go out as soon as I return home there he is running to greet me with an ever so passionate “Daddy!” Such is the love and joy he brings to my life; it’s a joy that no amount of money can purchase. It is said that kids really brighten a household; they never turn off any lights. I have come to conclude that this is a true statement.
Children are full of surprises.
My son surprises his mother and me in so many ways. At times I am blown away by his intellectual capacity. I recall when he was a week or two shy of his third birthday that my wife took one of his cookies. She tried to pop it into her mouth before he noticed. However, he saw her and immediately sang out, “Johnny, Johnny!” “Yes papa.” “Eating my cookies?” “No papa.” “Telling lies?” “No papa.” “Open your mouth.” “Ah, ah, ah.” My wife was stunned as to how quickly he was able to use his kids’ song in the context of her snatching his cookie.
The childhood years won’t last forever.
As a parent you will one day realize your child is no longer that little boy or little girl anymore. My advice is to enjoy them while they are still on your side as during that transition period from childhood into adolescence he/she will rely on you less for advice. As one writer puts it, “Adolescence is the age at which children stop asking questions because they know all the answers.” At that stage it is like a reversal of roles as they are the ones calling the shots telling parents what to say, how to dress, how to act in public etc.
Now is the time of greatest impact.
“As parents, it is important for us to embrace, appreciate, and love them for who they are as an individual. You created them and brought them here, it is only natural for you to love them.” – Carl Rhoe
If you are not present in their lives today then you will not be in their memories tomorrow. A child may outgrow your lap, but will never outgrow your heart. Additionally, as parents you need to realize that when you look at your child, you are looking at a replica of yourself. You therefore have a responsibility of guiding this child into the best possible human being he/she can become.
There are some folks who have become lonely and depressed either because of cheating themselves out of the various stages of the child’s development or due to the fact that their child/children have become adults and moved out. They so desperately would like to relive those years and simply can’t. Others on the other hand have opted for adoption. They have come to the conclusion/realization that a house without a child is a dead house.