Books on pregnancy.
Books on sleep training.
Books on breast-feeding.
Books on building a Christian home.
Books on character-development and communication.
Halfway along, we found out it was a boy, and one of the first things we did - after the nurse managed to shush my husband's uncontrollable whooping and yelling in the doctor's office - was order more books.
Books on boys.
Books on masculinity.
Books on raising sons to be godly men.
Some of those books were... well... kind of "Meh!" Others blew our minds.
One of the most profound on our list turned out to be Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis. We cried and prayed as we read out loud together, talking our way through the chapters, setting up expectations for how we wanted to cultivate attributes like honor and integrity and genuine biblical manhood in this tiny baby boy who was coming to turn our lives upside down.
We had great intentions. Big plans. And those who are older and wiser would have chuckled at our naiveté as we laid out ideas on how to shape this little "blank slate" that would make our couple into a family.
Blank slate? HAH.
Lesson Number One: babies are not blank slates. They have much to learn, but each one comes with their own personalities and temperaments and tendencies. And those lofty aims of crafting this "blank slate" into an obedient infant and toddler quickly evaporated into the realities of the daily scramble to just keep up with him.
It's easy to lose perspective as a parent. So easy to settle for surviving each day rather than making each day a meaningful step toward an ultimate goal. Those goals may vary from family to family, but for us they include things like honor, integrity, good manners, a service-attitude, personal responsibility and overall strength of character.
How do you cram those high ideals into the blur of days between diapers and potty training and dirt piles and dead bugs and Legos and Tonka trucks and exhausted sleepy snuggles? Without a plan, a strategy, something bigger than the demands of each day - most people don't.
Fresh inspiration crossed my radar recently. First I stumbled on a blog post about the danger of boredom among boys. It was so good I had to google the author. And that's how I found http://www.timwrightministries.org. Granted, I haven't read his book yet (that'll change soon), but I'm ecstatic to see someone out there creating resources for parents who want more than just survival of the fittest for the next generation.
Despite the very stark reality that our family has spent more days in survival mode than I'd prefer to admit, we still cling to many of those original lofty aims. That's the whole concept behind the title of this blog - raising leaders, and seeking to model Christian life as one.
What do you do in your family to plant seeds of greatness into the next generation?