Disclaimer: I originally wrote the post below back in August of 2012, the week after Maddox started 1st grade. And I never published it. The photo above is one I took of him last summer during a baseball game with his team. I just found this post tonight and felt compelled to share and I had edited this exact photo to put with it last year.
He’s older now and some things have changed since then, but this story still rings true and I felt the need to read it tonight as a reminder to myself as a parent. Then I thought it might be a great reminder for other mothers (or parents) out there, too. Here’s the story….
Oh dear, I wish everyone could know him.
A heart of gold, a playful spirit (a little teaser), and a thoughtful little man.
How have we raised him to be this amazing? I know it hasn’t been me alone. Nor has it been his father. The combination of very clear boundaries and set rules and specific expectations and lots and lots of love and laughter and tenderness since he was an infant have helped, no doubt, but he was born with a heart for God. That we could not have given him, but it’s there and we have worked very hard to keep it intact.
I have noticed this since he was just a little guy.
Questioning everything…..and the questions were big ones. Thoughtful ones for a 2, 3, 4, and then 5 year old. He blew me away each time. He understands things beyond his years and that’s a little scary, but also hopeful for his maturity level as he grows.
I had him in my hand all these years to mold him, shape him, and teach him all that I know and also shield him from all that I know that I understand he’s not ready for yet. (Which in this world are many, many, too many things to count.)
And now…..he’s 6.5 with one year of school under his belt.
I think this summer was when I got scared.
Did I teach him enough?
Did I pray over him as much as I could?
Why did I not teach him memory verses?
Why didn’t we have family worship on a regular basis?
How do we keep this sweet spirit alive in him?
This is all up to me during the week as the adult who is his caregiver. And I feel that I have failed when I look back on all that time I wasted doing other things.
I realized that I was not his core teacher anymore and in all scariness, neither is his teacher this year. (Although she is a great teacher and I’m thankful that he has her this year, just as I was thankful for his K teacher!)
That’s right. His peers are going to be. And it is so out of my control that I get sick to my stomach thinking about it. I’ve tried to steer his friendships as much as I can while still giving him the leeway to know who he likes to hang out with and not. But it’s still hard as a Mama.
It hit me last week, his first full week of 1st grade, that if we’re not careful then we can lose him.
If I’m not conscientious about what is going on his world then it’s hard to turn things around and get back in there.
Don’t think I don’t know how it works because I saw it happen with too many of my friends whose parents got busy and stopped teaching them the main values at home. I know I can’t leave this job up to his school each day and when he’s gone for 7 of his 13 waking hours, I have to make a VERY. CONSCIOUS. EFFORT. to make sure I’m using my time with him wisely while not beating him over the head.
Because really? What is more important in life than giving a child a foundation and a basis in knowing who Jesus really is? I am knowing the answer to that more and more each day.
I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to write a bit about what I’m doing with Maddox when it comes to talking to him and teaching him more about God, so I’m just going to jump right in to this subject.
A couple of things happened over the last few days that lead me to believe I’ve been on the right track.
At least, for now.
Have you heard this song?
Maddox started singing it to me a few days ago at the dinner table out of the blue and I almost started crying right there.
It was the song that his Kindergarten class sang on their presentation (graduation) night together and surprised all the parents with and I had forgotten about it.
Imagine a stage in a lunchroom with nineteen 6 & 7 year olds all in a row singing this song to you. It makes me teary just remembering how I couldn’t hold back my tears that night.
He let me take a video of him singing part of it tonight before he went to bed, so now you can hear it coming from a child.
“I want to set the world on fire
Until it’s burning bright for you.
It’s everything that I desire
Can I be the one You use?
I….I am small but
You….you are big enough
I….I am weak but
You….you are strong enough to
Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord, with you
there’s nothing I can not do.
I wanna feed the hungry children
And reach across the farthest land
And tell the broken there is healing
And mercy in the Father’s hands….”
There he was at dinner just singing it to me after I had been thinking these same thoughts quietly to myself ABOUT myself.
So, later that night, we were getting he and his sister ready for bed and I asked him if he wanted to read with me or by himself.
Again, he blew me away with his response: “Um….I got my Bible out and I want to read some of the story of Job tonight. Is that okay?”
Well, let’s see….is that okay?
YES. Yes, you dear child. Where do you come up with these thoughts? Is my worrying all for no reason? Have we given you that basis to grow from already without realizing it?
The answer is maybe, but we can’t stop there. It’s an ongoing process and I’m praying for direction to know how to approach him as he gets older.
So, with Maddox we have started a nightly ritual. (This was all his idea, by the way.) I come to his room at bedtime with my Bible in hand and we sit up in his bed together with our Bibles and he reads a few verses, I explain them, then I read a few verses and explain them and so on.
Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up! What six-year-old kid picks JOB to read of all stories in the Bible??
Apparently, my kid does.
Tonight when I said, Where’s your Bible? He said “Woohoooo! I wasn’t sure if we were reading Job tonight. Awesome.”
I wanted to share this because, first of all, it makes me happy and I like to share my happiness. Secondly, I wanted to share to give parents a hopeful idea of how to have a worship with their sons. Just choose their favorite Bible story and go straight to the actual Bible and read it together! Boys love adventure and there is adventure and drama in that Book that they are going to think is very cool.
Sons can be tricky for Moms to know how to teach & direct sometimes and him coming to me with this idea was perfect. (Thank you, Lord.)
I get to bond with him and have a special time that was just us. And inside of that, we learned more about God together. I mean hey! I’ve never read the whole book of Job and that’s our goal together now. It feels good.
I’m currently reading and enjoying this book called That’s My Son: How Moms Can Influence Boys To Become Men of Character by Rick Johnson (shown below) and it has given me great insight on Maddox’s mind and how to teach him and I really recommend it. Thanks to my mom for giving it to me! You can click on the book here and take you to the Amazon link to read more about it or buy a copy for yourself.
In the next week I want to write more about the changes in my life and our life as a family coming up. And the reasons. And the goals. Major changes, but ones that we feel great about even it’s not the norm.