Once when I was in elementary school, a classmate in a seat near me became ill, stood up, and proceeded to lose his lunch, right there on the floor. I soon did the same, not because I had been ill, but because I was born with a very weak stomach.
I largely am still that way.
When autumn rolls around, you’ll catch my family and me at the local corn maze, but you probably won’t see me in line at the port-a-potty. If there’s a bad smell – even the thought of it – I sometimes struggle to keep my composure. I even nearly got sick once watching an episode of “Man v. Wild,” when Bear Grylls drank something I’d rather not mention. I quickly turned it off.
I do, though, change diapers – even the super-messy ones. When my wife and I were anticipating the birth of our first child, I determined well beforehand that I was going to help in every aspect of childrearing, even the ones that sometimes repel fathers.
I figure that if I can change diapers, any father can. Of course, we seem to be living in a new age of fatherhood, when men do chores their fathers once avoided. Still, I’m sure there are fathers out there who are squeamish when it comes to diapers, particularly “poopies.”
Think of the worst temper tantrum your child ever threw, or the worst moment of rebellion in your teen’s life, or – if you’re still struggling – that time in your high school days when you treated your parents like dirt.
I’m not talking about those times when you laughed at your 2-year-old as he or she ridiculously squirmed all over the floor because you wouldn’t budge on the no-you-can’t-eat-DVDs rule. And I’m not referring to Opie Taylor’s fake temper tantrum on “Andy Griffith,” when he tried to pitch a tantrum, but failed. I’m referencing situations in which you, as a parent, felt like a failure, and you grieved over your child’s actions. But you still loved your kid.
Not really fun to ponder, huh?
I won’t ever forget the first time I shared the Gospel with my oldest son. It was right after he spit up on my shoulder, and just a few minutes before I placed him gently in his crib. I don’t think he understood much at all that evening. He certainly didn’t ask any questions. In fact, I’m pretty sure he already was asleep.
He was an infant, about six months old.
I’ve repeated that routine every single night since then, and have now incorporated it into a bedtime song. For his twin brother and sister, I began telling them the Gospel message much earlier, right after birth.
Parents sometimes wonder when their children are “ready” to learn certain difficult concepts. The Gospel, though, shouldn’t be on that list.