I use my 2-month old son as a weapon.
Please read the rest of the post before calling social services… it’s a metaphor.
I didn’t even realize I did it, but I use things like the fact he slept 8 hours in a row one night like a little conversational dagger. What I want to happen is for people to surrender that Benjamin is the coolest kid ever (or at least cooler than their kid), and that by association I must therefore be a great parent and consequently a good Christian. I want people to submit in our conversational engagement to my superior skill, intellect, and charm. It’s not even about Benjamin Jr. He’s just the weapon. It’s about me.
What clued me in to how I do this wasn’t even me doing it. Recently a friend reported telling a friend about how Benjamin sleeps though the night. Instead of being happy for us, that friend-of-a-friend actually got mad, because they are a parent of a significantly older infant who is still not sleeping through the night. How silly. They treated the fact that our son sleeps through the night (at least once) as an attack on them. As our friend relayed this information to us, it made me smile, and even wish I had been there. I missed out on someone surrendering!
The saddest part of the whole thing is that it doesn’t stop (or start) with my kid (although it is the latest manifestation). Everything in my life is a competition. My sentences too often start with the words “I”, “Me” or “My.” (yes, I wrote that sentence intentionally ironic.)
What is great about the gospel (in this instance) is that it frees me from slavery to me. I no longer have to compete with others. I am not accepted by God based on my ability to parent. I am accepted because of Christ. What freedom from the competition!
Now, if I could only remember that when somebody asks how he is sleeping at night…