Babies Don't Keep

By Helen M. Young

Editor's Note: There is a terrible neglect of children in our world today, and as a public high school teacher I see its impact on a daily basis. The following poem conveys something of the importance of the home in raising children to be productive, responsible adults and the obligation parents must accept to turn the tide of what is happening in our culture.

There is a time to anticipate the babies coming, a time to consult the doctor;
A time to plan a diet and exercise, a time to gather a layette.
There is a time to wonder at the ways of God, knowing this is the destiny for which I was created;
A time to dream of what this child may become,
A time to pray that God will teach me how to train this child which I bear.
A time to prepare myself that I might nurture his soul.
But soon there comes a time for birth,
For babies will not wait.

There is a time for night feedings, and colic and formulas.
There is a time for rocking and a time for walking the floor,
A time for patience and self-sacrifice,
A time to show him that his new world is a world of love and goodness and dependability.
There is a time to ponder what he is--not a toy nor pet, but a person, an individual--a soul made in God's image.
There is a time to consider my stewardship. I cannot possess him.
He is not mine. I have been chosen to care for him, to enjoy him, to love him, to nurture him, and to answer to God.
There is a time to remember that he neither belongs to me nor to himself. He is God's.
I resolve to do my best for him,
For babies do not wait.

There is a time to hold him close and tell him the sweetest story ever told;
A time to show him God in earth and sky and flower, to teach him to wonder and reverence.
There is a time to leave the dishes, and swing in the park.
To run a race, to draw a picture, to catch a butterfly, to give him happy comradeship.
There is a time to point the way, to teach his infant lips to pray,
To teach his heart to love God's word, to love God's day,
For babies do not wait.

There is a time to sing instead of grumble, to smile instead of frown. To kiss away the tear and laugh at broken dishes,
A time to share with him my best in attitude--a love of life, a love of God, a love of family.
There is a time to answer his questions, all his questions.
Because there will come a time when he will not want my answers.
There is a time to teach him so patiently to obey, to put his toys away.
There is a time to teach him the beauty of duty, the habit of Bible study, the joy of worship at home, the peace of prayer.
For children will not wait.

There is a time to watch him bravely go to school, to miss him underfoot,
And know that other minds have his attention, but that I will be there to answer his call when he comes home,
And listen eagerly to the story of his day.
There is a time to teach him independence, responsibility, self-reliance, To be firm but friendly, to discipline with love,
For soon, so soon, there will be a time to let him go, the apron strings untied,
For children do not wait.

There is a time to treasure every fleeting minute of his childhood,
Just eighteen precious years to inspire and train him.
I will not exchange this birthright for a mess of pottage called social position, or business or professional reputation, or a pay check.
An hour of concern today may save years of heartaches tomorrow,
The house will wait, the dishes will wait, the ironing will wait,
But children do not wait.

There will be a time when there will be no slamming of doors, no toys on the stairs, no childhood quarrels, no fingerprints on the wallpaper.
Then may I look back with joy and no regret.
There will be a time to concentrate on service outside my home.
On visiting the sick, the bereaved, the discouraged, the untaught;
To give myself to the "least of these."
There will be a time to look back and know that these years of motherhood were not wasted.
I pray there will be a time to see him an upright and honest man loving God and serving all.
God, give me wisdom to see that today is my day with my children.
That there are no unimportant moments in their lives.
May I know that no other career is so precious, no other work so rewarding, no other task so urgent.
May I not defer it nor neglect it, but by thy Spirit accept it gladly, joyously, and by thy grace realize
The time is short and my time is now,
For babies will not wait.

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