Thursday, March 26, 2015

Protecting Rosie

I wonder sometimes about the amount of violence little boys reinact.  Is it normal?  How should I deal with it?  I have read some books that helped enlighten me about this topic and my favorite is Wild at Heart.  It is a beautifully written book that shares all that God has designed men to be.  It is counter cultural in some ways because it encourages men to be adventurous, to overcome obstacles, to do things that make them feel like they are experiencing an element of danger.  It also directs their propensity for violence toward protection.  Men were designed to want to fight because they would have to defend their homes and their family and their land.  Today's modern man has to seek out the adventure - It is no longer part of his daily routine and yet the drive remains.  I see this with my little boys all the time.

"Let's sword fight!" my three year old will yell out.  I will look up to see one of them holding a mini baseball bat and the other holding a stick.  They bash it back and forth until one of them cheerfully announces, "Ha ha!!  You are dead!"

I worried about this until I read Wild at Heart. Now, I see it as an opportunity. "Oooh!  Who were you protecting?" I will ask.  
"Mommy!  We weren't protecting anybody!  We were just fighting!" one of them will say.
"Oh!  Well you must be fighting to protect something, right?  Who did you save?" I ask.

Their eyes will begin to sparkle as they think about the possibilities.  Should they protect me?  Their trucks?  Their Legos?  Should they be saving the world from aliens?  They spin off into a whole game of saving the day from something.  And I think this role playing has paid off.

We were at the pool for my six year old's swim team practice and my daughter was playing with a group of younger siblings.  A mom had given her a light up toy and she was happily dropping it and making it flash.  My oldest climbed out of the pool after practice and saw another little girl swipe the toy from his sister.  He was immediately by her side.  "It's not nice to steal things from little babies.  That's my sister and you are going to have to give that back to her," he said firmly, locking his eyes on the tiny thief.  
"But it's MINE!" the little girl retorted.
"It's not yours until she's done with it."
The little girl backed down and handed the toy back to my daughter.

I wrapped my arms around him.  "You did a great job protecting your sister, bud."
"I wasn't going to let her steal from my baby," he said with a sureness in his voice that was beyond his years.

God has given our boys and men a tremendous gift.  It is tempting, as a mom, to want to tamp down behaviors we don't understand.  But if we do, we will lose so much.  Our boys are meant to learn how to protect, to serve, to fight and to be willing to face danger.  It is our job to show them the appropriate ways to use these God given gifts.  We have to direct them toward adventure and give them opportunities to use their boundless energy for good.  Even if it means we have to endure a sword fight or two in the living room.

Do you ever struggle with your little boy's need to fight?  I challenge you to reframe it and think about how you can help direct their natural inclination to protect.

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