Just before I had my last baby, I was nervous about the transition to three children. I was afraid my older two would feel neglected (and possibly be neglected) .
As a homeschooler, I was further concerned that my older children wouldn't be learning the lessons they needed to learn.
I voiced my concerns to one of my aunts, and she said, "The Baby is the Lesson."
Now, almost two years later, I look back and see what she meant.
Here are a few lessons we learned because of having a baby in the house.
- Tenderness. Because of the fragility of babies, everyone practices being gentle, showing affection through tender strokes.
- Selflessness. Babies often get first priority. When Mom's nursing, others must wait. If the baby wants your toy, you let him have it, because he's just a baby.
- Patience. You have to wait your turn for Mom's attention. Also, the baby may scream during a long car-ride, and you have to wait it out. Complaining doesn't make it go any faster.
- Mothering/Fathering skills. How to deal with a baby. Older kids watch Mom as she bathes, changes, feeds baby, etc. often modeling the same behaviors with dolls (if they're young) or helping (if they're a little older). They also watch Mom as she sings, rocks, and caresses baby.
- Heaven. Where babies come from. The Spirit that they bring into a home is a testament that there is a loving God who sends them into our homes.
- Determination. As we cheer our little guy on from one stage to the next, I think about the older children. Cheering for the baby's accomplishments, seeing his struggles, helping him through them, and knowing it is all worth it have shown the older kids the power of working hard.
- Love. Love for the new little one. Love for each other. Love is taught through serving others. Children also learn that a mother's and father's love are not lessened with another member of the family to share it with. The family love only grows to envelop another little being into the family whole.
I think next time, I'll be able to look back at the lessons learned and know that the changes will be for the best.
Emily is an aspiring children's writer who loves books more than chocolate cake. She is passionate about family and education. You can read about her homeschooling adventures and find hundreds of book reviews at her blog, Homespun Light.