I wish I could permanently attach helmets to each of my boy’s heads. I’m talking special helmets that would guard their minds from evil thoughts. Safety goggles that would keep them from seeing things that I wish they’d never see. And bulletproof vests that kept hearts and emotions from knowing pain and heartache. Obviously, I’m dreaming and this is truly “fearful” thinking.
“Fearful thinking” is dangerous and I need to be aware. I am aware. I’m aware that I can provide some protection and some comfort from pain, BUT, I am not capable nor am I being
asked to offer complete protection. I am clear that my role as a parent is to provide a safe place to experience all that life brings. It is my desire to offer ears that really listen and wisdom gained from my own experiences. I share stories that remind us that we are never really alone and I long to practice compassion over rigidness. This is probably the toughest, most heart wrenching job I have ever been asked to do, and yet I am up for it because I know what it means to them and what it means to me.
When I think back to my own childhood, adolescence, early adulthood and even yesterday, it is always challenging times that make me stronger. The errors I make that teach me about caution and preparation, the lies that teach me honesty and integrity, and the pretending that teaches me authenticity and transparency.
I think my desire for protection is really a call to surrender. The irony is that there is actually more safety in surrender than there is in protection. The only one I trust to surrender my life and the lives of Brooks, Casen, and Carter to is God. He has always taken care of me. He has always helped turn the messes of my life into really cool things, so why in the world would He not do the same for them?
I can easily become fearful watching the boys struggle to find their own way in life, as they discover who they are. It is tempting to try to control or manipulate them into the men I want them to be, but the “men” I want them to be may not be the “men” God wants them to be.
So here’s to taking off their helmets, safety goggles, and bulletproof vests as we surrender and experience this fragile life together. Here’s to remembering the tough stuff is all really valuable and should not be avoided. Here’s to sharing heartaches and challenges, making time for more listening and less lecturing, and practicing more compassion and less control.
And it all starts with a little prayer…God, I give YOU these incredibly handsome, brilliant, emotionally intelligent young men and I know you are going to show me again how incredible YOU really are!
…And just in case you’re wondering, Brooks, Casen, and Carter “taking off protective gear” is completely figurative. You are still required to wear safety goggles and helmets. I will let the bulletproof vest go for now! Love you boys!