5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 ‘for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
7 “and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? Luke 11:5-7 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
When our first child was born, my wife and I made him sleep in his crib because we read a book by an expert that said he wouldn’t turn out right if he slept in the bed with us. Actually, we stayed up half of every night TRYING to make him stay in his bed. After we thought he was asleep, we’d fall into our bed exhausted, only to wake the next morning and find him sound asleep on the foot of our bed.
When our second child was born, we were three years older and needed our rest. We made a new rule concerning bedtime: “Everybody has to sleep somewhere.” Sometimes we played “musical beds” (a nighttime version of “musical chairs”) but, by golly, everybody slept. And, yes, sleeping arrangements invariably involved a least one child in bed with at least one parent.
I was much better rested but not much happier, mostly because everywhere I went the “experts” were giving me grief. They made it clear to me that I was a dud as a parent because my children slept in the bed with my wife and me.
I felt quite bad about myself until I ran across today’s passage (at the top of the page) from the Gospels. Our Saviour Jesus is telling a parable about a man who needs three loaves of bread in the middle of the night. He goes next door and bangs on his neighbor’s door. The neighbor tells him to go away because he can’t get up to get the bread. If he gets up, he will disturb his kids, who are sleeping in the bed with him. It seems to me that Jesus was fully aware that children often sleep in the bed with their parents, and it was an OK thing. Then I felt a lot better. My “Expert” trumps their “expert”! (Above and below are fun photos I found online of families snoozing together.)
So, dear mamas, here’s my thought for today. Listen to all the advice you get from people, but take it with a grain of salt. You’re going to get a lot of child-raising advice from people who never raised any kids, and from parents who think they are experts but who did a crummy job raising their kids. You’ll also get advice from godly people who have been where you are and who have had some successes and have learned from their mistakes. Consider what you hear carefully. Eat the corn, and leave the cob on the plate.
But most of all, in raising your children, seek the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. He watches your babies as they sleep—wherever that may be!
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” (Sing that title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man”) He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Cash boys now sleep in their own beds). You should write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.