Every so often, I start thinking about the biblical instruction I’m giving (or not) to Laurel. She’s eight months old today, and to be truthful, I’ve never quoted a Bible verse to her. I’ve never (that I can remember) told her that Jesus loves her. I’ve sung songs about God to her, but I don’t hold any hope that she has grasped any of the language.
I’ve seen authors (like the Ezzos) try to spiritualize parenting techniques during a baby’s first few months of life, but I have seen very little that impresses me as being truly biblical. I would agree that there is a sense where we’re setting a foundation of impressions on an infant that perhaps prepares the way for good biblical instruction. We see the importance of a good foundation when children have been neglected and abused. Angry parents, or depressed parents, can affect an infant’s development. These children often have difficulty interacting with a loving, Godly authority, something that most Christian parents would agree is one of the most important toddler and preschool lessons to learn.
Although I don’t see the variances of technique in infancy making that big of a difference, I do see habits in the parents that carry through the years being a possible problem. For example, my laziness in not wanting to get up in the middle of the night might also show up in my laziness when my baby is older. It wasn’t keeping her in bed with me that “spoiled” her; it was my laziness reflected in a number of ways during the course of the years. It’s not having a rigid schedule that makes a happy baby; it’s the predictability of prompt attention to a baby’s needs. Picking up a crying baby isn’t the problem, but making all parental decisions so my children like me is.
All of these thoughts come to mind, as I watch my baby reach for the computer cord, or grab for the glass of water on the table.