Friday, June 21, 2013
My firstborn turned 7 this week. He got balloons and cake and presents, which he loved even thought he said he knew what we were getting him. He is a charming boy and we are very close, mainly because we are so much alike. He is always up for doing something, yet also likes to hibernate in the house and watch movies. Sometimes when Jeff works late, I will let him come in my room when the other kids are asleep and we will talk or watch a movie. He is a wonderful, sweet, smart, engaging boy who has a very keen mind and who loves learning.
He asks and says things sometimes that make me turn my head. I don't know when he grew up so quickly, but he is not a little boy anymore. He understands things and questions things. He does things before being told. He occasionally uses sarcasm.
It really blows my mind. He is slowly starting to face things that require more than simple obedience. He is starting to think for himself and to question what is going on around him. As a mom, this is both thrilling and scary. I am thrilled that he is expanding and learning and maturing, yet I am terrified of all the ways that he could make mistakes or wrong choices. My simple explanations and advice are slowly not enough any more- he needs to start understanding them in his own heart and then choose to apply them.
My life is not as simple as a child's, and I am assuming yours is not either. Situations come up that are neither here nor there, and no blanket cliche' piece of advice is going to cut it. There are things we need to work out in our own hearts as well.
I was talking with a friend recently, and as he shared a personal issue, I instinctively responded with a few cliches'…I wanted to chew my tongue out. It's not that nice platitudes are not true, it's just sometimes they come in a package that is too neat and too tidy for the problem at hand. Life is messy, and solutions are even messier…not because they themselves are messy, but because the process of learning them is often complicated.
My son is leaning how this world works and good or bad, I have to help him learn it. I will try and do my best to equip his character and prepare his heart, but ultimately the choice will be up to him as to whether or not he will do what he knows to be right.
The same way the choice is yours and mine.
Even in a sea of gray, I am able to tell the difference between black and white. I may try and fool myself, but that is only because I don't want to do what's right, not because I do not know what is right. Often times the hard part is not the problem itself, but rather what it will take to do the solution.
There is a quote from a movie that I really love (shocker, I know). "You know the best thing about pain? It lets you know you're not dead yet." So true. Yes, pain hurts but it also let's you know you're still in the game- that something inside you still wants to fight. If you're in pain, or confused, or broken, or hurting- you're still alive. You're still able to sift through it all and find what you know is the right thing to do.
Find it. Have the courage to stare truth in the face and then do whatever you need to do in order to walk in it. Maybe it means stay, maybe it means go. Maybe it means giving in, or maybe it means fighting it out. The hardest part is not figuring out all the answers, but rather walking in the way that is right. That is where you need to pray for courage. Anybody can have the kind of courage that walks into a fight, but not everybody has the courage it takes to right a wrong.
Growing up is not easy. Integrity is not found in a day, but rather built over a lifetime. This is what I am trying to teach my child...not to do what I tell him, but to learn how to stand on his own and make the right choices for his life. This is what God is trying to teach us.
"When what we want to do and what we ought to do are two different things, character is built in the choice we make." -Bill Bennett
Do what you ought to do.