Daily, whether by your news APP, T.V, radio, newspaper or general water cooler chat, we are reminded of the brutality and cruelness that exists. The content of so many news publications reads like a who’s who list of the latest Antichrists, duking it out for the top dog position on the worlds most evil list.
Just sitting here writing, I have my ears accosted by some baseball clad, track suit pant wearing wanna be tough guy. His language on the phone would bring shudders to the toughest made man. Shouting expletives in the middle of the parking lot to someone on his phone, weaving in and out of the cars until he makes his way back to the table. He must be almost 22, filled with boyish insecurities and yet banging his chest like a fully grown silverback. The anger, the hatred, the ultimatums and the indifference to the people surrounding him, most of whom I wager are not excited by both his volume and content. How is it we are surrounded by such sand papery people and yet look at our children and become concerned with their emotions being too available, they are too sensitive, they need to develop tougher skins. Appears to me, we should be fending off all hardness and embracing their softer sides for as long as possible, especially since the world that awaits them when they eventually step into adulthood will do a sterling job of attempting to knock the softness out of their hearts.
I dropped my son at school this morning, and by “dropped” I mean I physically walked him to his classroom, placed his bags at his class, hugged and kissed him goodbye and then lingered in the distance to see how he was getting used to “Big School”. Yup, I’m that Dad, and proud of it!
I was taken aback by another little boy, probably the same age as my youngest, so around 3, short as can be manoeuvring through the traffic of Adult legs, making his way to the playground. No parents! Presumably dropped at the front gate, and told to go straight to class.
What chance do we have when not even our babies have their innate infancy and softness protected against all odds?
My son is sensitive, sometimes in my haste I will even consider using the pronoun “overly”. But that is my issue, that is my lack of patience and frustration projecting on him. As a Dad, I am all too aware that I am not raising a boy, but a man. I am also very aware, that until such time as he has to do away with childish things, he is still a child and I can’t push him into a space he has not grown to occupy yet. I also feel a great urgency, in light of the hardness around us, to protect the fact that God has blessed him with a softer nature, a more pliable heart.
His heart has been perfectly created by God, every inch God designed and intended for an amazing purpose. His sensitivity is God inspired and dependant on us as parents to guard and lead towards the fulfilment of God’s purposes for his life. In order for that to happen, I must try to always remember that true strength is both soft and solid, unwavering and flexible. Meekness, is atomic power wrapped in a satin glove.
Our sons will become adults by default, but if we want to live out our legacy as truly great Fathers, Father’s after The Father’s heart, then we need to perhaps amend our idea of what makes truly powerful men. We are raising little people who will need to wield mighty weapons of warfare but who must equally be able to wipe away the tears of little children, hurting and desperate for love.
So what does that mean for me going forward? Well, I want to protect the softness in my son’s heart, I need to make choices that may be different to other Dad’s in the hope that the longer I can shield him from the harshness of the world, the more resilient his heart will become. I don’t believe we are doing our kids any favours by exposing them to the “Real world” too early, we do not equip them with the ability to withstand the attacks of life. I believe we do develop children who have become prematurely callous and indifferent, children who look towards protecting and guarding themselves in an attempt to ensure they are never hurt, they become little people who have as their default setting “Combat mode”.
We live in a world that has a shortage of compassion. Surely our focus should be on raising kids who’s automatic reaction is to love rather than fight? There will never be a shortage of reasons to fight, to engage in war, to defend, but I get the sense that people feel love is a luxury that will ill serve the goals of humanity. To these people I would like to point out that God declared “Love will never Fail” not war, not hate, not hardness of heart and it is this love that is contained in the sensitive heart of my little boy and I reckon that’s hardcore!