For Mothers of Little Boys
You may see your little guy doing things and you wonder, "What is this creature I gave birth to? He has no fear and thus, no sense. Is he trying to kill himself, or trying to kill me, with worry?"
One of the first things we have to teach our little boys is fear, because initially they have none. They really think they can slay dragons and bad guys. They may only be five years old, but already they are ready to tackle any danger with nothing more than their indomitable spirit.
As soon as we moved to Wyoming we rented a movie about a family in the 1880s moving to Wyoming. The hero of the story, David Jansen, bought some land somewhere out west. When he moved his family there, he found the same parcel of land had been sold more than once by unscrupulous land dealers back east. The people who already claimed the land called Jansen and claim jumper and proceeded to beat him up unmercifully.
Wes was five years old at the time, and was watching the fist fight scene with rapt attention. When the bad guys were beating up David Jansen, Wes’ adventurous spirit kicked in. He yelled at the guys on the screen, "Hey, what are you doing! Leave that guy alone!" Then he stuck his thumb up, pocked his pointer finger out, and curled in the last three fingers. He made his hand into a pistol. He aimed his trusty weapon at the tv screen and yelled, "Pow, pow, pow! That’s what I would do to you if I was there." Five years old, less than five days in Wyoming, and he was already taming the wild west.
And moms, that is your son. They are full of danger, excitement, and adventure. They want to reenact the dangerous scenes they see on the tv movies. They want to charge the enemy lines, out-fast draw the bad guy, and climb the tallest mountain. Or garage.
I know three little boys that got GI Joes for Christmas. What does a boy do with a doll? These boys decided to turn them into real soldiers. They cut a sheet into three 8 inch squares, tied strings to the four corners, and tied the other ends to the GI Joes. Then they climbed onto the roof of the garage and threw the GI Joes off and watched them float to the ground. Ok, they didn’t really float, they plummeted, but we tried, my brothers and I, we tried to make something alive, vital and exciting about those lifeless pieces of plastic an aunt had given us. And when we grew weary of throwing the GI Joes off the roof, we jumped off ourselves. Our dad had something to say about that, in rather strong and convincing terms.
The Bible has a story of a teenage boy telling King Saul, "I’m not afraid of the giant Goliath. Let me go fight him."
King Saul says, "You can’t go fight that Giant. You are only a boy."
That boy, David, says, "Well, I’ve already killed a lion and a bear in hand-to-hand combat. How bad can a giant be? Besides, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." David then planted a stone in the forehead of the Goliath. (1 Samuel 17).
We don’t know what to do with adventurous boys today. We want to tame them, even shame them, into something soft and gentle. But, we lose something incredibly valuable when we do that. Yes, we definitely need to protect them from danger they don’t understand, and teach them to temper their impulses. But, if Jessie had robbed his son of his masculine nature, we wouldn’t have the story of David and Goliath in our Bibles today.
I’ll address this in a future article when I discuss the three aspirations of little boys.
Meanwhile, what adventurous spirit does your little boy show?