Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where the Wild Things Are

What can turn a simple stick into a gleaming medieval sword, the top bed of a bunk bed into a tall building (to be leapt off of in a single bound), a giant, gnarled old tree into a secret fort and a frightening heart attack (for their mother)…you guessed it, a boy.

We started off with boys so we thought all this was somewhat normal but the most common assessment among our friends that had girls first then  boys is usually, “Wow, boys are NOT girls.”  No, they aren’t!

Let me just say, I am NO expert on boys.  That disclaimer being said, I do have some boy experience that began with having two little brothers.  So I thought jumping off roofs and eating bologna sandwiches into the shape of guns was fairly normal.  Of course, I’m sure that some of my hair-brained ideas didn’t help my sweet mother sleep better at night.  Including the time I had a new driver’s license burning a hole in my wallet and convinced Jon and Ben (the brothers) to don rollerblades (which were all the rage back in the 90s!) and by slamming a rope in the trunk, I pulled them through the streets of our neighborhood.  That was done at speeds we shall not mention in case aforementioned mother is reading this blog. Unfortunately, that fun came to a halt when Ben got dragged a bit on his knees.  C’mon, bro--what’s a little blood?
One of my wonderful "little" brothers, Jon (all grown up now, playing with Gid here)
With that boy background of safety and sanity, I have now been blessed with two boys of my own.  Oh, BOY.

Although I am 100% mom (translation: worrier who would love nothing more than to somehow grow healthy and normal citizens in a sterile bubble), I am also pretty laid-back (though my husband would no doubt scoff at my self-assessment) when it comes to bringing up boys.

One thing I seemed to catch on to as a big sister is that not only will “boys be boys” as the saying goes, but boys MUST be boys…or this amazing sense of adventure and bravery could die a little bit inside.  

Let me clarify what I don’t mean when I say “boys MUST be boys”.  I don’t mean they don’t need to be corrected and disciplined for hauling off and socking a loved one in the face.  I don’t mean it’s okay for them to be too rough with their sisters or we should just shrug when they are too loud at an inappropriate place.  I don’t mean let’s let them be just downright ornery if they feel like it.  I do believe that boys and girls alike must have the standard of what’s right and wrong clearly defined and modeled then kindly, firmly and CONSITENTLY enforced (as great of a challenge as that can be!).

What I mean by the importance of letting boys be boys is that it’s a good thing sometimes to step back and let them do something adventurous.  They don’t want to just play house, they want to STORM THE CASTLE!!  

In a world where most men no longer need to go out and “shoot a bar” (that’s bear in pioneer slang) for their families’ dinner and their greatest adventure of the day may have been getting a cool parking spot at Wal-Mart, it’s a true gift to allow the men (little and big) in our lives to live on the edge now and then!  Letting them shimmy up a big tree (without making them wear a bike helmet and knee pads, ladies!), build a huge fort out of your couch cushions and having a light saber battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in a dark living room (even if it knocks of a lamp now and then) can feed their sense of adventure!  It can help to create the heart of a warrior in them.  

From my humble observations in life thus far, it seems that Warrior-hearted boys become strong but tender hearted men. Theses tender-hearted warriors have a sense of adventure and daring that makes them take a few extra risk but it usually brings about a positive change.  They know who they are and are okay with who they aren’t.  They have a nobility about them that causes them scurry to help a lady in distress and hold doors for elderly queens.  And best of all, they turn around and raise boys that they climb trees with and battle in exciting sword fights against.  

They raise boys that storm the castle!  And that God-given inner sense of bravery and adventure in boys lives on.

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