“Mothering” in our society has gotten out of hand. We are getting soft. For crying out loud, think about it.
- Enough of the pre-school graduation ceremonies!
- Enough with the “everyone gets a trophy” approach to raising children (since when isn’t a hug and reassurance enough?).
- Enough with being surprised that young boys want to kill a lion, and young girls want to be beautiful; it’s time to start giving children the opportunity to hunt again, to be beautiful, and to recognize their true spirits again.
(Note for the hyper-reactive, I am not promoting the literal slaughter of endangered species here. Think.)
- And enough with our schools being more about compliance, reward, punishment and “tolerance”, than about learning, self-discipline and respect.
Nothing wrong with emphasizing one’s strengths, but you can’t know your strengths until they are tested. We don’t test strengths anymore (unless you count those clean little online surveys); we reward participation. As adults, we work out like hamsters in a cage and make daily visits to the coffee, froyo, and smoothie shops, and so-called “organic” groceries. (I can’t think of anything more plastic than an organic grocery.)
As adults, we work out like hamsters in a cage and make daily visits to the coffee, froyo, and smoothie shops, and so-called “organic” groceries. (I can’t think of anything more plastic than an organic grocery.)
You can’t know God’s spirit until you push yourself to the limits of your own spirit. That doesn’t happen by rewarding yourself with frozen yogurt after a really good workout on a stationary bike at the local spa.
I will never forget the trip we took to the Great Smoky Mountains when our boys were young. We stayed in a nice condo. (My wife is particularly soft and beautiful; but yes, she could kill a lion, too…with her eyes!) A huge water park was next door. We couldn’t get the boys away from the water park all week. I begged them to go hiking: “We are in the Smokies, for goodness sake.” Finally, on our last day we tricked them and parked on the side of a mountain near a trail head and lured them in. They loved it. They wanted more! Their spirits were awakened. Unfortunately, we were starting home. They whined so much we stopped at a state park in Indiana and hiked the most rugged trail we could find. Something was finally born in my boys that day that had been dormant before, all because I made them get dirty and dangerous.
I will never forget that trip because it has been so difficult to forgive myself as a father. I was soft. Why didn’t I force the issue earlier? Why didn’t I just throw them into the dirt and rocks and trees of the Smokies to show them what a father’s love really is? I vowed to make it up, and hope I did in the years that have followed. I’ve since encouraged my boys as they broke noses and arms, both theirs and others, playing hockey. I’ve consoled my wife when we found one of them laying in the dirt, discovering that ants don’t taste bad at all. My boys certainly have had ample opportunity to go wild caving with me. They know how much and how often I encourage them to “dive into the deep end.” I hope I’ve given them the opportunity to “kill a lion” and they have begun to recognize and respect the wonder and beauty in God’s kingdom while testing the limits of both their spirits and strengths.
Of course, I was the product of too much mothering and I passed that on. I don’t think my boys will pass it on. We will see. I look forward to grandsons and granddaughters who are beautiful and have the opportunity to kill lions in their own time. But understand, if they have pre-school graduations, grandpa will come — then take them to a wild place to skip rocks and get dirty for the real celebration.