Winter is long here, but I’m thankful to live in a place that enthusiastically declares each season. I know your mountains and oceans are beautiful. But if I lived in a place where the seasons continuously thrummed instead of loudly thundered, I fear I would overlook the appeal that constantly exists, instead of yearn for the allure that is constantly changing.
You have smooth, intricate sea shells by the thousands, we rake acorns and hunt pinecones for miles.
You have peaks and rocky ridges to hike, we rest in valleys and admire wheat fields in sway.
You have warm breezes and year-round gardens, we twirl beneath painted leaves and icy branches.
We tromped outside last weekend inhaling cool fresh air, soaking in the comforting sun and rediscovering the earth as she slowly revealed herself from a blanket of melting snow. We talked about taking Jack’s training wheels off and getting Jamison a big boy bike, but for now tricycles and steady wheels fit just fine.
Jason participated in an archery league recently and the boys got to experience what that really meant when they had a volunteer event for kids. Jack & Jamison held a child’s bow in their small hands for the first time.
They radiated with giddy excitement, flushed cheeks and breathless retellings that first night they came home. I’m uncertain if it was the new experience, their Y chromosomes or just doing something daddy did that set their hearts aflutter, but nonetheless, their enthusiasm was unmistakable.
And because our world is more sensitive to certain words than the Word, I shutter a bit when the boys misuse the common vernacular of hunting and weapons in the midst of play and pretend. When Jack asked Santa for a toy gun last year, I more than squirmed inside. Don’t misunderstand, I have no problem with responsible hunting and gun ownership, but in a world where kindergarteners are expelled because they make the trigger sign with their thumb and pointer finger, I was trying to postpone such matters until the boys were old enough to talk things through.
I found a small Nerf gun at Kohl’s, which came with 2 small rubber “bullets” and wrapped it up from Santa that year. As soon as he lost interest, I hid the toy so it could be rediscovered later, when he was a bit older.
And there are so many instances I question myself about how to handle certain situations with the boys. I dodge mythical arrows from archers both real and in my head. The mythical arrows that say, you’re failing at this, you need to floss their teeth more, you should enroll them in this thing, why are you so tired all the time?
The most damaging arrows are from real archers, the ones within arms reach. The worst arrows are pulled back and aimed directly at you – from you.
Between vacillating run-ons that overlapped from brother to brother and gulps of air, the boys recanted how they aimed their arrows at a target with a bear on it. The bear was encircled with balloons, more breadth for more target.
Daddy suggested if they really enjoyed archery, they could save up enough money to buy a child’s bow and share it. Because isn’t that the truth of the matter, let’s train them up when they are young in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), lest someone else teach them the wrong way later?
Let us arm our children with knowledge and experience and have faith they will make good decisions when they are older.
Let us take up our own shield from mythical arrows. A shield that reminds us the stray ones were unintentional, the ones on target need to be pulled out and healed.
No one gives you the missive about how when you become an adult, a parent, you transform your role from encouraged to encourager. And with so many things, it’s more difficult to give worthy encouragement than to receive it.
As the encourager, I don’t always know what to say. I want my encouragements to be honest and helpful, but I worry they are not.
Sometimes I don’t know if it will be okay, but I say it will be anyway. I don’t know if they will make good decisions, but I tell them I know they are capable anyway. I swing and I miss, I pray and I fail, but I refuse to be taken down by mythical arrows and misguided archers.
Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. ~ Deuteronomy 4:9