Friday, August 07, 2009

Let the Boys be Boys

I have come to the point in my life where I actually enjoy sitting and talking to my parents. This seems like such a far cry from not long ago when I would have done anything to avoid them. However, I now cherish the moments I have with them and try to make an effort to just sit and talk with them as often as possible. Such an occasion occurred earlier this week as I went to their house to help my father move beds. They had just purchased the mattress that you can supposedly set a glass of wine on one end and then jump on the other and it won't spill. They wouldn't allow me to do this test though (oh ye of little faith).

After the work was done, we just sat around their table and talked for a while. My father and I discussed what we had done since we had seen each other last and funny enough, we both had attended revivals at separate churches. The revival my father had attended was one in which a great Christian man, Mr. Levi Sides, was the speaker. If you have never heard Levi speak, you should take the time to do so. I have been fortunate enough to not only hear him this year in my own church summer revival, but also at another church just a few weeks ago. I relayed to my father how the last time I heard Levi speak, he shared a story from the pulpit about the relationship that he and my parents had many moons ago. Our conversation then shifted between Levi and his family and my own son's competitive behavior to learn to ride their bikes. Dad then shared a story with me.

My father told me that Levi had told them a story of embarrassment and revelation when they were all much younger. It seems that when Levi's son was a young and small boy, Levi had taken him to a doctor's appointment. While there, Levi's son was very hyper and acting in a manner that was less than pleasing to Levi. He was climbing, jumping, and doing other things that little healthy and active boys tend to do. Opposite of Levi was another man and his son who was about the same age as Levi's son. This other son was sitting there calm and without fidgeting. Levi saw this and wondered to himself what he and his wife had been doing wrong that this boy could be so well behaved when compared to this still child.

Levi's son's activeness continued and at one point Levi pointed out to his son, the other boy and asked if he did not see how well that boy was behaving. Wanting his son to use that child's behavior as a model Levi asked his son to try and be more like the other boy. Upon hearing the conversation between Levi and his son, the father of the other boy chimed in. In a very meek and humble voice he said to Levi, "sir, please let your son continue. Be thankful that your son is able to do those things and that he does not struggle to move." The man then asked his still son to raise his pants legs. There, in Levi's sight were two prosthetic legs. This boy had no leg below either knee. The man continued explaining to Levi how painful it was for his son to move and how the adjustment to the prosthetics was a long and challenging process. The man pointed out to Levi that he should view his son's behavior as indication that God had given him a healthy and lively child to raise.

Levi, left speechless, found the words to apologize to the man and his son and saw his child's actions in a different way from that point forward. Levi saw that while his son's actions needed refining, there was nothing "wrong" with him. Levi realized just how much God had blessed him and how lucky he was to have a son with no health problems. Levi told my father that this was a pivotal moment in his learning to be a father.

I have thought about this story every time I look at my son's this week. I feel so blessed to have been given three boys, all healthy and active (oh are they active). However, I am learning to view God's gifts to me not as indicators of my deserving of blessing, but as proof of my limitations. God tells Moses in Exodus 4 that it is He who gives man his limitations. It takes a special kind of person to raise a handicapped child and my respect for those individuals who raise those children is beyond words. Just as I look at my children as blessings and I learn lessons from being their father, the lessons that must come from being a parent of a special needs child must be infinite. God has given me exactly what He knew I could handle. Imagine how strong He must see the individuals He gives less than healthy children to.

Tonight, when I look at my children, I will strive to not reel them in just because they are "getting on my nerves" with their hyper activity. Unless they are doing something that I see as a danger to themselves or others physically, and more importantly, spiritually, I will let them be the boys that God created them to be. Of course, if they could do all this outside I will be even more thankful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.