And yet, it is hard. Sin has left its mark, even on these precious little ones. Is he really supposed to cry when I set him down to play alone? Should he be throwing his head back like that, because I took away such-and-such? Is he whining to be picked up... again?
It's evident. O, so evident. We knew when he was born. We were reminded at his baptism. And yet, as Ralphie grows, and learns, and changes, the obvious is now unavoidable.
Our son is a sinner.
He wants his own way. He wants what he wants. He wants to be happy and comfortable on his own terms. On any given day this could mean ten different things!
And so, we teach self control. And patience.
The less of ourselves we seek, the more we will love others. We want him to know this.
Even at seven months.
He does not need Mama every minute of the day. He does not have to have daddy's phone to play with.
It is so hard. So hard to see the big picture sometimes. To think beyond the moment - what am I teaching him as I do (or do not do) this? What patterns am I setting for him?
It is hard, but it is good.
I do not want to get to "the end" when he's all grown up, headed off to college, and wonder if he loves Jesus. I want to know, because he professes, because he lives, because in his life it is self-evident that he serves the King of Kings.
This is my motivation. Day in and day out.
It will only get harder from here on out. Just this morning Daniel asked him, "Are you going to be happy today, buddy?" And at that moment he was. But my response (in my "Ralphie voice") was a reality check for both of us, "O, Daddy, it's going to be a battle every day for the rest of my life. A battle fighting sin."
So we teach and train self-control and patience, because the Gospel isn't about us, and what we want. He'll need to learn to die to himself, so he can live for Christ, so he can serve others. And if our son is going to believe that, he'll need to get over himself and his wants.
Every day is about orienting our hearts away from self and towards Jesus. By God's grace we model, and by God's grace we teach.