Earlier this year, my wife and I were blessed with one of God’s greatest gifts–a brand new baby girl. The countless people who told me, “Your life will never be the same!” were all right. Having a baby is easily the most life-changing experience thus far in my short journey. We are only several weeks into this new episode of life, but all of the changes have been for the better. This fact has led me to a newly formulated thesis. Since babies change people for the better, the absence of babies in our society is the cause of much our culture’s decadence.
I have heard all of the statistics about birth rates dropping, contraceptive usage increasing, and abortions multiplying, but I never actually experienced any of it firsthand. I was extremely blessed to be born into a large family, so most of my life has been spent living around newborns. With all of my younger siblings, nieces, cousins, and friends, newborns have been a staple in my life. It wasn’t until friends and family began visiting my new daughter that I realized how rare babies actually are.
One friend in her mid-twenties informed me that it was only the second time in her life that she had ever held a newborn. Another friend said it was the first time he had even seen a newborn baby since his cousin was born eighteen years ago. Most of my other friends were so inexperienced with newborns that they found holding my daughter to be downright frightening. Witnessing this common theme of a lack of experience with newborns was incredible. Most of all, this theme was exceedingly sad and disheartening.
Little wonder our culture is declining when we are voluntarily depriving ourselves of our greatest teachers. In the few short weeks my daughter has been with us, I have learned more about life than I did in all of the years leading up to this time. The amount of life lessons that babies have to teach us is astounding. I pity any person who does not have the opportunity to learn from our most innocent citizens, and I will attempt to expound upon some of lessons which I have learned.
The very first lesson my daughter taught me is the most important life lesson that anyone could ever learn. After several hours of non-stop crying during the first night out of the hospital, it was time for approximately the thirty-seventh diaper change of the night. I noticed the clock read 4:15 AM, and I couldn’t recall any time in my life when I had been awake at that hour. It was in that moment that I realized I was never going to be able to live for myself again. I knew that from this point forward, my life must be one enormous collection of sacrifices. On the surface that sounds like a rather depressing life, but sacrifice is really the only way to ever become truly happy. God demands that we live for Him by sacrificing for our neighbors. I had spent my entire adult life trying to live out this precept, but had completely failed until my tiny daughter came along and forced me to learn how to live my life for her.
Another important lesson I have learned from my daughter comes from an analogy I have discerned. As my wife and I attempt to care for our daughter by changing her diapers, washing and bathing her, putting her to sleep, etc., she inevitably fights us and resists our good efforts. We are simply doing what is best for her because we know better than she what is best for her, yet she constantly resists. Is this not a perfect analogy for the relationship that we often have with our Creator? As He tries to help us by sending trials and tribulations in order to strengthen us, do we not constantly fight and resist Him and His good efforts? If one views himself in that light, it is extremely humiliating. We are all well aware that our all-wise God knows what is best for us, and yet we are too proud to submit to Him and His will.
One more thing I have learned from my newborn baby is that life is beautiful. Granted that sounds like a cliche, but there is nothing like the rejuvenating quality that babies carry. After a long day out in the world dealing with rampant immorality at work and school, it is easy to become bogged down and depressed with the sad state into which we have fallen. But coming home and holding the personification of innocence in my arms is like a breath of fresh air. Staring down at the perfect tiny person who knows nothing of the evil world in which she lives gives me hope for our future. That is the fuel for fire that continues to burn inside of me each day. I am encouraged to make our world a better place because I know that it is possible. All we have to do is keep our children as innocent as they are when newborns. God gives us perfect citizens–we just have to keep them that way.
The list goes on and at the time of this writing my daughter is only six weeks old. Six short weeks is all it has taken for my life to turn upside down. I have become a better person by learning to live for God through living for others, I have realized that I often act as a newborn kicking and screaming as God tries to help me, and I have found a new sense of hope for our future. My daughter has undoubtedly been the greatest blessing I have ever received, and is sad to see that so many of our citizens don’t have this blessing. Our culture is declining because we are missing out on these important life lessons which our babies teach. Babies truly are a dying breed these days, but it is to our own detriment. All good people are looking for a great army to fight the crusade for the triumph of goodness, but perhaps what we need is the tiniest army of all–an army which consists not of great warriors, but rather eight pound newborns.