He came to me, voice quavering, this boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. He was hurting because of words. Words spoken by friends. He shuddered and sighed, “Mom, they say that girls rule and boys drool. That’s not true, Mom. That’s not true.”
Oh, my boy.
I hid my smile, remembering the days of cooties and “hating boys”. His innocence slays me. He just doesn’t think that way, and it made my heart ache to hear him hurting.
How do I do this?
This parenting thing.
“Oh, Bear,” I held him. “You know that’s not true. Girls are no better than boys. You know it in your heart. That was girls being silly girls. Try not to let it hurt you, and remember, if you know the truth you can rise above the silliness.”
How do I help him learn to shut out the noise of others. Or rather how do I teach him which noise to shut out? And which noise to hear and move towards? And which noise to let change his life?
The reality is that kids are kids and they’re going to say things.
But honestly, y’all, the other reality is that we live in a world where men and women belittle each other as “less than” far more often than they should.
“We need each other,” I told my Bear. “Boys need girls and girls need boys. And no one is better than the other. We are each uniquely created for the roles we’ve been given. The places we are. Imagine a world with no girls.”
He shook his head, “That wouldn’t be good.”
“You’re right, it wouldn’t. And a world with no boys would be bad, too.”
We need each other.
Oh, how we need each other.
I remember many years ago being at a seminar and hearing the woman speaking bash her husband because he was home with her children and look at all she had to do to prepare him for taking care of the kids. I remember her mocking him because she didn’t trust him to potty train. I remember her talking about the mess her home would be in when she got home, and I remember the group listening laughing and someone mentioning how “men just can’t do it right.”
I remember wanting to walk out of that room right then and there, because, y’all I know that husband was a good father. He just didn’t do things her way. Instead of being thankful that she had the freedom to come speak at this seminar because her husband was willing to stay home with the kids that night, she stood in front of a large group of women and bashed him. It was painful to hear.
And years later, I struggled in bed for weeks and months fighting cancer while my husband didn’t do things “my way” in the home, but my children were loved and cared for and protected and provided for because my Brian was willing to step up even more than he normally does.
Because we need each other.
Oh, how we need each other.
Whether we’re classmates or workmates or siblings or married or unmarried. Whether we’ve been hurt by men or hurt by women. Whether we think we do or not… we need each other. And in a perfect world, nobody would “rule or think anybody drools”… But sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world, and men and women fail each other all the time.
And that is why we need Jesus.
And that is how I do this parenting thing.
By taking it all to Jesus.
And taking my Bear to Him, too.
No matter how simple I may think the problem is, if it’s big to Bear, it’s big to me and it’s big to Jesus. And so we pray and we ask God to help when others’ words hurt, and to help us move forward and to love others.
I watched my Bear today. He spent the day helping his dad with the car and came in with grease on his hands and told me how the bolt fell and Dad couldn’t reach it and so he reached down in the engine and grabbed it, and he’s the hero. Then I watched him play baseball and pop fly and hit fouls and stop grounders and make errors and handle losing 17-2 with grace and dignity (might I say far more grace than was in my heart toward the coaches of the other team who played rather dishonorably?). I watched his heart melt when he found robin eggs in a tree that blew down in the wind, and he sighed over how sad it must be that the mommy would never come back to those eggs. I watched him jump in the truck and help his dad load branches and take them to the dump.
And I realized something all over again.
His friends might think girls rule and boys drool.
But I know better.
My little boy Bear who will one day, Lord willing, grow up to be a big man Bear (and perhaps “should I be a pastor?” he wonders).
This world needs my Bear.
I need Bear and he needs me.
Oh, how we need each other!