NOTE: This is a repost from February 2010. In anticipation of our book release early 2011, we thought it would be nice to reprint this here. It explains a lot about how our new book Love Another Child came into existence.
Marriage, parenting, grandparenting–such things define life.
Little is more gratifying than hearing of a former student meet the man of her dreams, fall in love, and announce her engagement to be married. I just got word that a former debate student became engaged yesterday. She was one of my favorite, went onto my alumni college, and I’m certain it was because of the recommendation letter I wrote for her (heh). Yesterday was her birthday, too, the same birthday as Wendy’s. Esther, whose Facebook wall today reads “I’m going to be Mrs. Andrew Wagner!” was one of those students I recall thinking, “If there isn’t a guy smart enough at Regis to…” Well, let’s just say that Mr. Wagner is a very smart guy.
A little more gratifying is when these married young couples start having children. The beaming pride of Ron and Rachel, barely in their 20s with three kids already. I knew Ron when he was in high school, his father and I elk hunt together, and now his bride attends a book group with Wendy. Pretty daring on Rachel’s part, a book group of women in their 40s and 50s, yet she enjoys it. They’ve had three kids in four years, the last one being their first-born son. My kids babysit them when the ladies are out. A beautiful family. They’re so full of life and future and optimism, I can hardly stand it.
I see something in my dad’s eyes when I play with my grandson, Isaak. My dad sees something that I don’t fully comprehend, but I’m starting to. It’s similar to the joy I have for Esther/Andrew and Ron/Rachel. He sees me experiencing the joy of entering a significant life stage, that of a grandparent, and he finds joy in my discovery. Love for your grandchild is so different than love of spouse or child. Is there a love more freeing? I can let Alicia and Josh do the tough love of parenting, the kind of love that is often firm and uncomfortable. Isaak is coming over to spend the weekend with us soon. I can’t wait. Grandpa and Grandma (along with his 13 aunts and uncles) are going to pour so much love all over him. Simple, freeing love. If you’re a grandparent, you know what I’m talking about.
This is rather deep, but bear with me for a moment. Wendy and I are working on our next book, first draft due to the publisher at the end of the month. We haven’t nailed down a title yet, but the overwhelming theme in the book is this: have another child.[*] This may end up the title. This may work for readers of this blog, but consider for a moment: what title could be more challenging, more controversial, than having another child?
Truth is, couples today make the mistake of avoiding it, dreading it, fearing it. Our book challenges couples to rethink the all-too-common persuasion that family life should be delayed. Marriage, parenting, grandparenting–these are the things worth living for. Jobs, degrees, travels, money–good things, perhaps, but they pale in comparison. They shouldn’t define your life, and those that are are sad lives. Family: this is what makes life worth living.
Ron’s dad and I were hunting together when he received a cell phone call from his son. Kendrick Rush Stauffer** was born that day. At the news of his firstborn grandson, Ron’s dad–elk hunter, Boy Scout leader, business manager, genuine tough guy–wept. I’m certain Esther’s mom cried when she heard the news of her oldest daughter’s engagement. These stages in life bring meaning to it all. These are stages no one should miss.
*We have since changed the name from “Have Another Child” to “Love Another Child.”
This article was published February 7, 2010. To keep up with updated on Love Another Child, subscribe to this blog.
**The cover of Love Another Child is a picture of Kendrick. Those hands around him are Ron and Rachel’s.