There are people who disagree with our parenting style. Admittedly, we’re pretty new to this and have a lot to learn, but in general, I’m pretty proud of the decisions we’ve made for our son, so far. We’ve gathered tips from parents of some great kids over the years, and I’d like to think that Benjamin stands a pretty good chance of being a great kid.
I’m proud of the fact that two days after he was born Benjamin was at a Christmas party. That 2 days after that he was at a New Year’s party. That he goes to concerts, with his little headphones on, and that he hangs out with… pretty much everyone at Vertical on Wednesdays. That he loves people, and that he’s learning how to connect with them. That he spends so much time at church that he will grow up feeling like it is a second home — one where he has as much responsibility as he does the place where he sleeps. That he comes along with us when we serve at soup kitchens or on missions trips, and that he’ll grow up believing that showing God’s love to others is a normal part of life.
My boy will be loved and nurtured — but he won’t be coddled. He will skin his knees, and fall off his bike. He’ll come home with grass stains, he’ll get cuts and bruises. And he’ll come home to a mom and dad who’ll wipe the tears, clean him up, kiss him better — then send him right back outside to experience life.
That doesn’t mean we won’t protect him, or shield him from things he’s not ready to face. But we are not child-centered parents. He is not the center of our world — rather he is a part of the world we all share. And he will have the opportunity to learn and grow until he can make his own mark on it.
But to get that… to truly understand how big and how incredible this home God has given us is, Benjamin needs to see it. We, as a family, need to go. Not today, or tomorrow — but we can’t settle forever.
And its easy for me to say that I am restless, and not attach any parenting motive to that. But the thing is, I want this restlessness for my son.
It’s a curse, to be sure, to know that where ever you are is no more significant than where you could be. To know that “home” is a fleeting concept that travels with you and lasts no longer than the tugging of your heart toward a different place.
But it’s a blessing too. To get that tenuous hold on just how much is out there, how much you have left to discover. To know that for every awesome and unique person you meet where you are right now, there’s always one more person somewhere in the world who’s friendship will enrich your life, and challenge you in new ways. To realise that nothing you possess is at all permanent, or even that valuable, because the things we assign worth to are only worthwhile in the context of where we happen to be at the moment.
What I want for my son is to teach him that restlessness. To teach him that as soon as he gets comfortable, he’s stopped growing. To show him what’s really valuable in life: the people, the relationships, the places and the adventure that God wants to use to shape him. I want my son to be wild at heart…