I write these words in the early morning hours, of which I have seen much more since my wife and I welcomed our third child on September 22. We are thankful for a healthy delivery, a hungry (and sleepy) baby boy, and the love from family and friends that have made our transition to a family of five a little easier. There’s no getting around, however, that a newborn is a particularly disruptive character, showing little regard for a parent’s sleep rhythms and personal preferences. In fact, for the third time in my adult life, I have been reminded of something deeply true: loving a new human being well means sacrificing much about the present for the sake of the future.
Sacrificing the present for the sake of the future is an increasingly endangered idea in our contemporary life. Ours is an aggressively “instant gratification” age, a fact that shows up in everything from our technological addictions to declining Western birthrates. While diet and fitness culture may recite mantras about sacrifice, this is almost always self-focused. Forgoing pleasures right now in order to create value for someone else later is not the spirit of our age.