The marvel of becoming a father is that something so commonplace can be something so special. An event, which happens to tens of thousands each day from east to west, north to south of the globe, is a happening utterly unique. It is a wondrous experience to be a witness at the birth of a soul.
Just as his coming is unique, so too is he as a person. Never before has there been a personality just like his. Never again will, there be a life lived like his. He will be shaped by the world in a way that no one else has ever been shaped. He will shape the world in a manner inimitable.
It is strange that in an age where the uniqueness of the individual has never been more closely perceived, respect for the worth of an individual is at such a low point. Commitment to material prosperity as life’s goal must, I suppose, have, as a direct consequence, the decline of growth in the human spirit.
Perhaps the birth of a little son makes one especially reflective. Of course, we asked ourselves before Gareth was born, whether it would be fair to bring a child into today’s world with its threats of tomorrow. What kind of world will it be in ten, twenty, fifty years’ time? Will it be better or worse?
We wanted Gareth to be born because we believe that he, and we, can play a part in changing the world; because we believe that is the destiny of each human life. But there is something that goes through my heart even more deeply than my hope for the kind of world we would like for our son. That is the quality of life we would like our son to live. For I know that whether or not he will be a fulfilled person, whether or not he will contribute to making the world a better place, depends not on the world around him but on the spirit inside him.
Our lives are not meant to be reflections of modern trends, bearing the stamp of someone else’s glib ideas and worthless fashions. I long for him to find true independence and freedom of heart, which come in their ultimate from a commitment to serve God and from the priceless gift of faith, solid as a rock in a sea that ebbs and flows.
What other gifts would I like my son to have? A sense of humour and a sense of fun, worth their weight in gold. A vision and a view above and beyond the immediacies of life. Courage. And above all a love for God and people. It is perhaps natural for a father to want for his own son the qualities he feels he himself lacks. Of course, I cannot give them to my son. I cannot even compel him to go looking for them. That is his choice and in the end they are God’s gifts. But I can at least decide to live in a way that helps not hinders, him along the road.
That challenge I accept.
(This writing is not mine. I came across it when I was a new father and it has helped and inspired me ever since. My son is now one of my best friends and someone who makes me immensely proud.)