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30 July, 2012

All We Ever Need to Know We Learned from a Newborn

Being a grandparent is awesome!  Our days with newborn Acacia gave us plenty of time to rock and think, admire and ponder, pace and wonder.  Without the responsibilities of parenting but with all the privileges of grandparenting we noticed with interest Acacia’s transition to life outside the womb. Watching our dear newborn granddaughter we learned all we ever need to know when entering a new culture.

Lesson  1. Recognize our dependence.
Acacia makes noise when she has a need.  Like her, we need be willing to let others know when we need assistance.  We won’t know how things are done in the new place, in the new culture.  We must acknowledge we need input from people experienced in the culture.

Lesson 2.  Communication is essential.
Acacia is good at communicating.  Her facial expressions, her different noises and her body movements all communicate what she is experiencing, making it easier for her caregivers to discern her needs.  Likewise, it is essential that we communicate with those helping us in our transition.  Otherwise we will hinder our own wellbeing and will shortchange our learning. We have to be honest about what we are experiencing.

Lesson  3. Trust our Parent.
Acacia settles at the sound of her parents’ voices.  She recognizes them, it seems.  She lets them know when something is not right, but she also lets them help her and calm her.  She trusts them to care for her and meet her needs.  And they do.  They meet her every need.  They are completely faithful to her.  In like manner, we need to recognize our heavenly Father’s voice and let Him help us and calm us.  We need to keep our complete trust and faith in Him.  We know that during transition it is tempting to follow so many other voices, and it can make us frantic.  It is vitally important for our survival that we trust our Father to meet our every need. He is completely faithful to us.

Lesson  4. Observation is key.
Acacia is very alert most of the time she is awake.  Her bright eyes seem to take in everything all around her.  She enjoys looking at bright shapes and they capture her rapt attention.  She observes and learns what to expect.  It is amazing to watch her learning take place.  We need to be very observant as we transition.  Observation brings insight.  Learning takes place.  We will learn what to expect, learn to predict others’ responses, etc. as we observe and remember.  We need to spend lots of time observing.

Lesson 5.  Learning is tiring.
Acacia is keen in her observation, sometimes seeming to use every muscle in her body to respond to what she is seeing, what she is learning.  And then, when she has all the input she can tolerate, she falls asleep (sometimes needing a little assistance from her loved ones).  We must remember this lesson, and be diligent to take the time for rest that we need.  If we fail to take breaks and rest when we need it, we might get cranky and end up needing someone else to tell us it is time to take a nap!  For learning to go well, our minds and bodies need adequate rest.  It is essential.

Lesson 6.  Smile often.
Everyone is delighted when Acacia smiles.  It makes us all feel better when she breaks into a smile.  Reflexively we all smile when Acacia smiles.  It is really important we learn to smile often when in transition.  Being too serious, too self-focused will create stress and hinder relationship-building.  Smiling with others eases tension and speaks of hope, contentment and understanding.  Everything just seems better when smiles come often.

Yep.  All we ever need to know we learned from a newborn.  How gracious of God to allow us to be part of Acacia’s cultural orientation to this world that we might learn what we need to know for our own transition.  How gracious indeed.


Nancy Almquist said...

I love this - great reminder of what it means to be a CHILD.....priceless!!


Alice said...

Observations we all sort of take for granted in the joy of grandparenting the new-born. What special insights for us all...not just to you as you are in transition to a new place.


Kim Snow said...

How beautiful and well said!

Ken Beebe said...

Well said! Today I needed to hear the "smile often" reminder. Sometimes I take life and myself much too seriously.

Thanks for sharing!