While in church on Easter Sunday morning, the preachers message was interrupted by a phone call… informing us that our daughter Joanne had just delivered a healthy baby boy! Riley had arrived! Obviously we were overjoyed and the Easter message of life and hope was reaffirmed for us in a special way.
Yet at the same time I could not but help be overwhelmed by the awesome responsibility that comes with parenthood. As I re-told the story of how the midwife and I had delivered Joanne so many years ago, and joked about the ups and downs of her growth and development, I was reminded of the following poem.
If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility
They learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement
They learn confidence.
If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness,
They learn justice.
If children live with security,
They learn to have faith.
If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship,
They learn to find love in the world.
(Author Anonymous – quoted by Terry Falla in Be Our Freedom Lord)
So, the challenge is what are your children (and grandchildren) living with and learning in the process? Riley’s life is just beginning, but how he turns out will depend in part on the environment I provide… what an awesome responsibility!
Chaplain Ian Whitley