As little boys we’re like sponges just soaking up the world around us. With the guidance of our loving parents we traverse life’s obstacles and learn to find a place in our own bodies. Little boys in particular are very resistant to change and are pretty sure, most of the time, that what they know is right. Of course, parents have that responsibility to teach their children the rights and wrongs of life.
Which leads me to my next point. Perhaps many parents, in their very best effort to “do right”, actually wind up assisting their children in unlearning what is actually true. This belief rests on the principle that we are born with all the inherent qualities we have as humans. The inherent qualities I speak of include compassion, lovability, thoughtfulness, sensitivity, vulnerability, creativity, and many others. I believe one of two things happen as young children. Either we are reminded about what is already true about us (the inherent qualities) or we unlearn what is true and are taught the opposite. The opposite being not lovable, not good enough, not worthy, etc.
My wife had her phone on her and asked my son Jake (he’s two) if there was anything he wanted to say to his best friend “Connor” (who is also two). Without prompt this sweet little boy told his best friend that he loved him. My wife sent the video to Connor’s mom and he too wanted to send Jake a message back. Of course, his message was just as touching as I think you’d agree.
Jake and Connor were both born loving, lovable, tender, sweet, thoughtful, sensitive, vulnerable, creative, and sensitive. These qualities are clearly present in the video. Yet for the average “Jake” and “Connor” at 18 or 28 or 48 for that matter they would not be described that way. Men aren’t typically described as sweet, tender, vulnerable, sensitive or loving. So where does this get lost?
For now, I think it’s best that we’re all reminded what’s true about these two boys and every other boy. No matter what they unlearn down the road they’re all sweet, loving, lovable, tender,and sensitive among hundreds of qualities. They don’t have to win anything, do anything better, faster, or harder. They’re already everything they should be. So if you’re a parent reading this I invite you to consider that perhaps as, if not more, important than what our children have to learn is what they need to be reminded of. Those same things are what we can remind ourselves about. After all, we may not be children anymore but we still have all of those qualities we see in these two little boys.
What are some of your favorite ways to remind your son or daughter what’s true about them? How about yourself?