He who supplants!
Some of you have heard but for those who haven’t… On Sunday I became a father, for the second time.
I’ve been an adoptive father of a special needs son from an orphanage in Haiti going back to 1993. That story is amazing, miraculous, and without question demonstrated the hand of God in rescuing a young man, who had he been left to his own devices, might even now not be with us.
Fortunately he is healthy, working, and thriving. And even though his special needs persist, and will till his end of days, he is learning yet his third language, holding down steady work–even in very hard economic times, and stays close to his dad chatting me up several times a week with all that’s going on in his life. At 26 he is self-sufficient, and even living independently.
On Sunday I became a father the old-fashioned way. Waking up to his wife’s contractions being 4 minutes a part, a quick call to the doctor, dropping off the family pet at the kennel, we welcomed James Kevin McCullough to this world at roughly 1:48pm New York time.
He is healthy, content, and fascinated with the new world constantly changing around him.
With his mother’s estimable intelligence and his father’s deep-routed passion, he is likely to be a holy terror on this planet. Nothing would do us more proud…
But now begins for me a second time, and for my Lovely Bride’s first, the challenge that is the quest of every parent. To see his life become what God intends it to be.
And what is that?
There are lots of books written about parenting. 99.995% of them worth less than the paper it cost them to be printed. A handful of exceptions exist. Dr. James Dobson’s entire parenting library would no doubt qualify, as would two of my new favorites Dani Johnson’s “Grooming the Next Generation” and “Parenting from The Heights” by Anne Williams Wiggins. I would also hope that “The Kind Of Man Every Man Should Be” would rank on the list for raising boys in particular.
But all the book-knowledge aside… what IS the job of a parent?
Rosie O’Donnell had Governor Mike Huckabee on her low-rated radio show to attempt to get him to argue about that very question.
Like many Rosie believes that as long as the parent as a certain amount of affection, and deep enough money pockets… ANYONE will make a suitable parent.
How wrong she is, as well as 98% of all the parenting gobbledy-guck that’s sucking up shelf space in self-help sections of bookstores everywhere.
The job of a parent is at the very least “provision for growth” and “protection from danger.” But to me, that’s only HALF the job… at best.
Parenting goes way beyond an XBOX in every room. In fact in my mind, that’s more like child abuse…
My job for little James will be simple. I have to teach him how to think.
He will have to end up thinking about everything else in life, so I happen to believe it to be a fundamentally important idea.
But if I do not help him examine that every decision he makes, from obeying his mother the very first time she asks him to do something, to deciding who to marry, which school to go to, or what to do with his life, my job is to get him to do the mental “weighing” of the matter.
You see EVERY decision he will make will start with a worldview. He won’t be a slave to his hormones they way public educators tend to view teens today.
He may DECIDE to, against better judgment, engage in risky activity. But at the end of the day he will be so well trained, that if he does… he will not do so, without heavy forethought as to the consequences of such actions.
His ABILITY to think depends on how well I train him. His choice to continue to use discernment’s gift to him, will depend on him.
Children generally give you what you expect of them. (Coupled with what they see in you…)
So if I preach to James a ton of legalisms, and hypocritically engage in all the things I told him were bad… he will likely rebel, lie, deceive, and exact unending misery on his life.
If however, I try to show him with humility, how life has worked best for his mother and I, and why we truly believe he can go the next eighteen years without engaging in promiscuous sex, drug experimentation, cheating on exams, and telling lies to his parents, I believe he will get it.
There are many of you reading this that hate James’ father so much you hope that HE will fail at this simple goal of a transparent and righteous life. That’s okay… cheer all you want.
Ultimately James will learn far more from what I do before him, than any argument I would ever win from a morality-free “progressive” who does not believe in such simple things as right and wrong.
And trust me, not only will he know the difference by the time he’s old enough to articulate it, but with my persistence and his mother’s principle, the world will have yet to see what one life totally committed to what is good, true, and just can produce.