He's a Boy
My son is a wild man.
That’s the most honest way to say it. Our first child was a girl, and from day one, she was a sweet little princess. She was easily amused when Daddy would sit and talk with her, or share a cup of imaginary tea with her and her favorite stuffed animals. But oh, my little boy – he’s only been in the world for two years, and already I have moments when I think he will be our undoing.
This boy has no use for tea. He has no desire to sit for long periods and talk. His deep passions are extreme activities like climbing unstable objects – such as chairs in the kitchen, or his new baby brother’s bassinet – or racing up the stairs 3 or 4 at a time, only to turn around and dive.
Recently, he has started throwing things, just to see how far they will go and how loudly they will land.
I find myself constantly stopping him and disciplining him for these actions, because whenever he crashes into something, his mother is hysterical. (And trust me, he crashes a lot.) At times I have been concerned that I am being a bit too firm with him. In a recent conversation with my father, I was relaying all of his raucous behavior and my desire to curb it. I expected my father to offer some sage advice concerning how to get little boys under control, but he shocked me by simply quipping, “Well, son – he’s a boy.” He then proceeded to share his thoughts on the difference between defiant disobedience and a boy just being an adventurous boy.
Our conversation led me to reflect on the many antics that my brothers and I participated in when we were younger – antics that had my mother pulling her hair out. Looking back, we really weren't defiant; we were just boys … wildly adventurous risk-takers looking for some fun.
Now that I’m grown, my dear bride would likely tell you that that this adventurous streak has never fully left me. I love a good challenge. When I’m with my brothers, we still feel the need to know how long one of us can be dangled upside down while another holds his legs, or who can punch another in the shoulder the hardest. (My wife sternly disputes the usefulness of such information.)
As I look at my 2-year-old son through the lens of my own journey, I recognize that while I must set boundaries, I must also be consistent in affirming his boyhood. One of the greatest gifts my father gave me was affirmation that God made me the somewhat rambunctious boy I was for His own glory.
I am currently doing my best to find the balance in teaching my little “dare-angel” (my wife opposes the label “dare-devil”) proper boundaries for his behavior, while also reminding him that God has made him a boy – and in the future a man – for His great purposes.
With that in mind, I guess the next time I hear another chair come crashing down with my son beneath it, I will remind myself: “Well, he’s a boy!”