One of the many lessons my baby has taught me over these past ten months is that life isn’t that complicated. In school, I remember many times thinking, “This seems more complicated than it should be,” and Gracie has confirmed that. Intellectuals and people who want to sound smart have this tendency to make things seem so big that only they’re able to understand them or they’ve uncovered some great secret, but spending time with a baby has confirmed my belief that most times the answer is the simplest. Here are a list of lessons my baby has taught me this year:
- Feeling better is often a good distraction away: Many times all a baby needs not to cry is a silly face or a toy. Adults are no different… although our toys tend to cost more (e.g. phones, TV, boat, etc)
- Soothe & offer hugs: When someone is upset it’s amazing how often that person will get yelled at, scolded or told what to do. This never helps just like doing this to an upset baby never helps. When anyone is upset, baby or otherwise, we need to offer soothing words and comforting touch.
- Replace: To remove a want, we need to replace it with something else. For instance, when a baby wants to play with something breakable and we don’t want a fight, we need to give them something else in order to take the first item away. Similarly, when it comes to things like addiction, the simple truth is you need to replace the addiction with something else. For instance, I knew someone struggling with a porn addiction who started playing guitar in order to replace his addiction.
- We get cranky: Everyone benefits from healthy routines, especially when it comes to sleep.
- Healthy makes happiness easier: A good parent is careful to make sure the baby gets enough sleep, healthy food, and exercise like tummy time. Doctors even have specific expectations for the parents in order to help the baby have the best chance for success as possible, yet many grownups don’t follow this idea for ourselves and then wonder why we’re struggling.
- A protector: We benefit from having someone watching out for us. Babies can’t survive on their own and need everything done for them. As a parent, our job is to help them be able to live without us, but no matter how old we are or smart we become, everyone benefits from having someone to look up to for guidance and love (is this a subtle way of saying there is a benefit to having God in your life? No, but now that I mention it, there is truth to that).
- Times of restriction: Playpens are a Godsend. Many parents don’t use these anymore, but following the advice of a fantastic mom (mine) I have incorporated playpen use. It’s not all day, but for short periods of time like getting ready in the morning a baby in playpen gives the parent freedom to do things that give the parent sanity while at the same time mixing play areas up for the baby. It also gives the baby a place of safety and restricts the unhealthy distractions like electrical plugs my baby loves to try to chew on. Plus, as a guy, a playpen is kind of like a man cave, a space that’s my own that helps the world not seem so big and overwhelming. How is that not a good thing?
- Variety: No matter how much we love something, we need variety. A baby’s favourite toy brings a smile to her if she has had a time without it. No matter how much we love something whether it’s an object or an activity we need to have time without it in order to better appreciate it. This is why making what you love to do your career a bad choice for many people. For instance, if you love cars and become a mechanic you won’t enjoy working on your own car as much after work because you’ve spent all day working on cars.
- Without struggle we don’t grow: Teething, crawling, growing muscle… yeah that explains that one. It helps to remember that a hard moment can make a better tomorrow. For instance, a baby is rarely happy about getting medicine, but it makes later better. As adults we need to embrace this same concept in order to make our tomorrow better.
- We need some silliness: There is nothing better than a baby for getting people to use silly voices, make funny faces, and sometimes even dance. We do this to make the baby smile, but for some reason we don’t do this for friends and family. Sometimes we just need to see someone smile to feel a bit better or have someone say something that makes us laugh. Unfortunately, it’s easy to be afraid to do this for adults because we don’t want to look stupid, get judged, or be attacked, which I experience as someone who likes to be funny. Being silly and getting shot down never feels good, but it’s important not to let the curmudgeons of the world take away the joy from good people.
I often think the world would be better off without certain people who only seem to offer hurt to others. I sometimes joke, “What we need here is more Jesus,” which I say in ridiculous times, but the truth is, the world could use more Jesus. I don’t mean in the religious way, but in the way we love and care about each other. He was a role model of helping those who want it and moving past those who would rather suffer and/or attack him for trying to help… I wish I could be more like this.
The world can use a little more love… are you willing to help?
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people