A baptism of fire was a soldier's first experience of shooting. Any unpleasant experience undergone, usually where it is also a learning experience; is a baptism of fire.
When I think of this idiom it reminds me of the time I bought Annie a new car. I was so proud that I went through the whole process at the car dealer’s by myself and bought the car. I forgot that I did not know how to drive a stick shift to get it home. It was a deal in my book because it cost $1200 less than the automatic. I told the dealer I will buy it today but you have to get me home with the car. So they loaded it on a flatbed tractor-trailer and off we went. When we arrived they blasted the horn and Annie came out to see her new car. When I explained why I could not drive it home, she realized that if she wanted to drive her car she would have to learn how to drive a stick. She did just that.
Parenthood is a perfect example of baptism of fire. Back in the day, we just learned by our mistakes. We muddled our way through pregnancy, breast-feeding, weight gain, discipline, and co-op nursery schools. Who knew what we did had a name...play dates??? We just got together with other moms for our sanity and it worked. I would not trade some of my memories or early friendships for anything. We clipped coupons, shared books, tips, joys and sorrow. Now they call them book clubs or coffee klatches. We parented by fire. Did we make mistakes, you betcha? That is why we have to put our two cents in regarding our grand children. We mean well but just don’t want our children to do some of the same stupid things we tried.
There are many times in our life when we have new experiences it is just this, a baptism of fire. My very first teaching job was as an interim substitute for a very popular teacher who was going to be out on maternity leave. The day I started just happened to be the field day event where the classes compete against each other in relays and races. I went in dressed in sweats, headband and two cheerleading pom-poms to meet my new class. It was truly a learning experience. We won the entire event and that set the pace for a perfect transition for that fifth grade class.
Each time we had major moves for Fred’s job changes we were thrown into an entirely new and different experience and we have survived it all.
What is the point? It is really very simple God knows what He is doing. We can do anything if we just trust in Him. After all isn’t His first and very important sacrament called Baptism?