My Wife Gave Birth to an Uncarved Block

This is something I wrote a year ago, shortly after Savannah was born. I didn't really have a blog then so I am reposting it here. August 10th, 2007

I am now a father. Again. Our newborn daughter is 3 weeks old today.

My wife and I were driving the other day and she made the comment, "Our new little girl is an uncarved block." Apparently that is one of the concepts from Taoism that she remembered from studying The Tao of Pooh. We start out like an uncarved block of some sort and we are shaped and formed through our upbrining, our environments, and our life experiences into the people we are today.

I think this is true.

Does she know what love is? Does she know hatred? Compassion or mercy? Envy, jealousy, or anger? I don't mean does she understand the concepts on an intellectual level, that would be silly. But does she feel any of these things?

I don't think so.

I think at this stage of her life she really only feels generic, high-level emotions and feelings. Like comfort and discomfort. Or satisfaction and dissatisfaction. She is really rather selfish this way. All newborns are, it's a matter of survival for them.

So it's up to us. My wife and I, I mean. To model for her the advanced concepts surrounding how to deal with complex feelings such as love and hate and mercy and justice. This is our responsibility that we welcomed and looked forward to before we even decided to have her. This is not our burden, this is our joy.

But as I reflected on all this it occurred to me that I too was once an uncarved block. And the decisions I have made throughout my life have contributed to my current shape and form. It is not just our environments, our upbringing, and our experiences that shave layers off our block, we too have a hand in the sculpting process. We have influence and on a spiritual level, I believe we are accountable for it.

How I wish I could uncarve certain areas of my character. Or better yet, if only I could re-carve them. I could go around as Dewde - The Re-carved Block. Need a little less selfishness? No problem! How about some extra forgiveness towards others? That would be splendid. Let us not forget humility and benevolence. Never more in short supply!

My wife and I are very deliberate in our parenting. We know we are not the only sculptors that will be chiseling away at our daughters as they move from uncarved blocks to beautiful works of art. We hope and pray that Jesus will play a pivotal role. We hope and pray that their friends and family will do them justice. And we hope, with all our hearts, that they themselves will pick up their chisels and desire to work on themselves as a lifelong process.

All we can do is point them in the right direction and model it for them ourselves.

Note: I realize I have completely butchered Taoism and the principle of the Uncarved Block. My only excuse is that I'm a Christian, not a Taoist. I mean no offense.