Another New Relationship: Chapter 20

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With the arrival of a precious baby in the home comes another new relationship. The young couple no longer occupy only the relationship of husband and wife to each other; they are now father and mother to the infant. A great change has come over the home, for they are now parents, possessing the emotions and feelings of parents. With the birth of their child was born an entirely new circle of affections. It is indeed a time of rejoicing, and makes us think of the rejoicing that is in the heart of God when poor sinners turn to Him and in living faith believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The poet Watts said,
"In heaven triumphant joy is found,
When sons to God are born.”
The young father and mother now have a common object for their affections. There is nothing like the birth of their first-born to bind their hearts together. Certainly they will love each and all of their later children with the same father and mother-love, but the advent of the first-born is what brings them into that relationship, and opens up the hitherto dormant fountains of parental affection, and gives a sense of parental responsibility. When the mother holds in her arms that darling infant, her own flesh and blood, for the first time, she learns what the affections of a mother are; the father likewise enters into the feelings of a father when he fondly holds his own son or daughter.
These blessed affections are of God; it was He who put them in the human breast. To be devoid of them would be a sad lack indeed, and would show how much we had imbibed of the spirit of "the last days" when men are "without natural affection.”
It is normal for parents to be solicitous for their children and to desire to give them good things. The Lord took knowledge of this and used it as an illustration of our Father's desire to bless us with good things: "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" Matt. 7:1111If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11). May parents remember this when they seek good things for their children.
We should add one word of caution, however, for true demonstration of love to our children is not to be measured by the number or the greatness of the material things we give them. Parents who have little of this world's goods can still lavish affection on their children, and affection can be seen and felt where there may be no ability to give costly gifts. Nor is a child who has "everything that heart can wish" always the happy one; often the happiest and most contented children are those who possess little in the way of toys and other attractions. Parents should be wise in their loving desire to give; it should be tempered with restraint and geared to the basic income, taking due regard to all other matters temporal, and to what belongs to the Lord. Thoughtfulness and interest in their children's welfare and their doings, and little inexpensive things which manifest these elements, mean more to them than large sums expended on trinkets, or on toys that will be forgotten tomorrow. Then there are priceless gifts, things money cannot purchase, that can and should be given—the treasures of wisdom from the Word of God, wise counsel, and mental training. Some of these will come before us again in later chapters.
Fond parents should guard against making the child given them by God, an idol. There is danger of allowing the gift to come between them and the Giver. Sometimes God has taken. a beloved child to Himself when He saw the parents' hearts were being too much entwined with it.
The birth of the first-born to the young father and mother may also bring others into new relationships; these new parents may have fathers and mothers who for the first time became grandfathers and grandmothers. Being grandparents has its own joys and compensations, for they too have the opportunity of showing their affections to their "children's children." Grandparents may be a real help and influence for good, but perhaps there is a greater tendency with them than with the parents, to spoil the grandchildren with overindulgence and costly gifts. If takes grace and wisdom to be good grandparents.