The Worst Parenting Advice
For some reason, “Just wait!” is the phrase more-experienced parents love to say to newer parents. It all started for me when I was pregnant with our first child.
“Just wait,” they would say.
“Wait until you’re up all night every night and they still don’t sleep, for, like, ever.”
But the little guy was born and somehow we got through those sleepless-baby-months. It was never quite as bad as we were warned about, but once our little guy was sitting up on his own, we’d hear,
“Soon he’ll be crawling and will be into everything, and you’ll never have a minute to yourself or even take a shower.” You listen to the seriousness in other moms’ voices while they talk about which milestones their baby reached at what age.
“Just wait,” they say, “until they start walking. Then it’s really all over. No place in your house will be safe and you’ll need to move out all your furniture and invest in bumpers for every corner and baby-proof locks on everything you open daily in your kitchen.”
It wasn’t so bad, though, watching the little guy in his footie pajamas stand up on his wobbly little legs and take a few steps before plummeting a whole twelve inches on his diapered rump. We put away dangerous stuff and taught him what things weren’t okay to touch.
“Just wait,” they’d say, “until he can start talking back. It’s cute while they can’t talk, but just wait.”
But then he did start talking, and we trained him that he doesn’t say “no” to mommy and daddy. We taught him about how Jesus loves him and made him for a purpose. We taught him that by obeying his parents he’s obeying Jesus and by learning to listen to our voice, he would be learning to listen to His.
He grew to speak kindly to us and to others, and to his kitty and to the caterpillars he’d accidentally squish while playing with them.
“I’m-gonna-take-good-care-of-you,” he said to his teddy bear.
“Just wait,” they’d say, until he’s school-age and doesn’t want to put down his iPad in order to talk to you or do anything with the family. But we didn’t give him an iPad and instead trained him to read books and play real games, and he asks us to play Monopoly with him and his brother and sister. “Just wait,” they say, until he’s a teenager. That’s really the end of all of his sweetness and he’ll be horrible.
He’s ten-and-a-half, so we’re not there yet. But when he does hit the teenage years, it’s not going to be okay for us to let him disrespect us and not teach him that the Lord says to honor us. It won’t be okay for us to stop teaching him about sin and repentance and about how Jesus loves to forgive us and restore us. It won’t be okay for us to disregard training him about purity and faithfulness, and about how our bodies are a temple of the living God, just because he’s a teenager. It won’t be okay for us to let him become lazy, spending his days looking at various devices and not teach him to be a man, and that the Lord has special work for him to do.
“Just wait,” we think when we see the teenage years coming. God is already there and is beckoning us to come walk with Him through the whole thing.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” —Isaiah 40:31