I've done a lot of reflecting today on what Good Friday means. First and foremost is the obvious significance of this day to all who embrace the Christian faith. We remember the suffering and sacrifice of our Savior as he experienced utter separation from God the Father while he hung on the cross.
However, as an attachment parenting advocate, my thoughts today wandered beyond the obvious Good Friday implications. I recalled the first book I ever read by Dr. William Sears, Christian Parenting and Childcare. One of the things that grabbed my attention 20 years ago was his assertion that parents who teach their children to trust by meeting their needs during infancy are laying the foundation for a lifelong trust in their Heavenly Father. My first child was 6 months old, and we had been following parenting advice that led us to leave her in her crib crying when it was bedtime. Don't get me wrong...she had nursed; I would sing to her and pray with her, but then I'd lay her down and the screaming would begin. I was so afraid of spoiling her or letting her manipulate me that I wouldn't pick her back up. So she would cry in the nursery, and on the other side of the wall, I would sob in my bedroom. It was awful! Dr. Sears' words gave me the freedom I needed to trust my instincts and soothe her to sleep. Before long we were co-sleeping, and the rest is history!
As subsequent babies arrived, we practiced the wonderful principles we had learned from Dr. Sears from the time they were born. We met needs and taught them to trust their ability to communicate with us. It is interesting to note that as our first child went through her teenage years, we had serious trust issues. Our second child will be 18 this week, and although he isn't perfect, he's never given us reason not to trust him. Now that our third child - another girl - is in her teens we are seeing the benefits of attachment parenting with her, too.
For a Christian parent, the greatest joy of all is seeing your children follow the Lord. I'm convinced that Dr. Sears is right on target when he says we're laying the foundation for a life of trust in God. My second child can't really remember a time when he didn't trust the Lord. His faith has grown and matured as he has grown, but He has always trusted. Child 3 is strong in her faith, too. It's important to her to please the Lord. Child 4 is only 10, but we see strong evidence of faith in him, too.
If I could change one thing about my parenting, I would give my precious firstborn daughter the same trust advantage that her siblings have. I do believe the verse that says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." We have sought to give all our kids a strong foundation of faith, and I believe that ultimately all our kids will live their lives for the Lord. But daughter 1 missed out on those crucial first 6 months of trust-building, so it may just take a little longer! Nevertheless, the Resurrection which we will celebrate on Sunday fills my heart with hope!