Most professors lecture from the classroom podium. Not Wallace.
Professor Wallace Bradford Bontrager teaches his students from the car seat, the crib, and the living room carpet. Rather than trolling on in never-ending academic newspeak, Wallace gives his pupils concrete object lessons.
Though he’s only lectured for just over six months, he’s already attained tenure. The secret of his success? He shows his students how much they really don’t know about life.
Last Wednesday, Wallace turned 6-months old. In the past six months, our firstborn has taught Cassidy and me so many things we didn’t know before. Here are five big ones.
1. The Meaning of Love
I’ve always had fun with babies. But until Wallace, I didn’t know it was possible to love a little person as much as I love my son.
As I cradled newborn Wallace I finally realized, This is how much my parents love me! From birth to adulthood, my parents have loved and sacrificed more than my siblings and I could ever repay.
The love Cassidy and I bear for Wallace and the love my parents bear for me pale in comparison with the far greater love the Heavenly Father has for each one us. He demonstrated His love to us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8), giving the world the one thing He prized most, His beloved, only begotten Son (John 3:16).
2. Our Human Inability
In the days preceding July 16, 2018, Wallace’s delivery was foremost on our minds. When we returned home with Wallace from the hospital, the full weight of our parental responsibility finally sunk in—-as a helpless infant, Wallace was dependent on us for everything.
In that moment, the words of John 15:5 rang true, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Every day since, we’re reminded that stewarding a soul for eternity is a task beyond our ability. Like Wallace relies on us, we must depend on God for everything. Ultimately, our best efforts are insufficient without God’s blessing.
The most important life work we have together is raising Wallace to love Jesus. We can’t do that on our own.
3. Our Unconscious Selfishness
Babies have a way of revealing weeds in parents’ souls. Wallace continues to show us how selfish we actually are.
While parenting is an absolute joy, Wallace reminds us that life isn’t about us anyways. It’s all about others.
4. The Brevity and Blessing of Life
Life is a flurry. We blink, and it’s gone. In light of this truth, Moses exhorts, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
This morning, I loved watching Wallace stretch, yawn, and smile when he woke up.
I have big dreams for this little guy. I pray that he’ll love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. As he gets older, I hope to work with him and to teach him manliness, discipline, and Christian character. Someday, I want to see his face glow as his lovely bride walks down the aisle.
But none of this is guaranteed. We don’t know how much time we have left with Wallace.
Wallace has taught us that every moment is precious, and that people, not projects are what matter most in life. We’ve resolved to slow down and enjoy every moment God gives us with him.
5. The Necessity of Intentionality
Wallace’s birth has caused us to critically and biblically evaluate everything we do.
Wallace is more than a baby. By God’s grace, we pray he’ll be a future father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to pass down a multi-generational vision and legacy.
Our disciplines, influences, marriage, conversation, music, movies, habits, and friendships are all impacting him in some way. Will these things help Wallace become the man God wants him to be?
We should ask questions like the following: What books should he be reading? What music should he listen to? Who should his friends be?
More importantly, we should ask, What influences and people are shaping Cassidy and I today? How will those things affect how we raise our little boy?
I once thought I learned primarily from older people. I was wrong. God can use anyone. Even Wallace.
QUESTION: What things are you grateful for that your parents did for you?
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