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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thoughts on Approaching the Number Four

Little Caroline doesn't get her share of press around here.  That's to be expected, since she doesn't talk or walk or sit up on her own yet.  Mastery of your own body gets you more publicity.  That should change as she grows, but Jack's sort of the easier subject to write about because of the whole (mostly?) rational interaction thing.

I mean, The Dude does interviews and stuff.

So Caroline's lack of coverage round here won't change with this post.  But you probably should expect it to soon.

I was thinking the other day about Jack pushing up on the four (FOUR!) year mark and the things he's taught me.  In no particular order, and off the top of my head at this very minute, a few lessons Jack E. Coyote, SUPER GENIUS, has helped teach his old dad:

Absolutely anyone is approachable.  I would have rather chewed my own hand off than go up to strangers 4 years ago.  Now we willingly interact, for fun.  For fun, I tell you.  Okay, so Jack still usually takes the lead.  What of it?

Whatever it is you've got going in Superduper Important Adult Land, gushing blood, uncontained poopy, and bouts of The Throwups take priority.  The presentation can wait.  Roll up those French cuffs and get to scrubbing, pal.

It's important to mark the little firsts.  We bigger people fool with our iWhatever and fritter moments away without even noticing.  First banana split.  First time watching The Rabbit of Seville.  First time getting a shirt buttoned BY YOURSELF.  First real deal, sticky floor, guy talking behind you movie theater trip.  I think that accentuating the small helps delineate the large later on.  If that makes sense.

Discipline teaches us as much as it does the little people.  Probably even more.  You can explain in great detail (charts and graphs available upon request) why you're absolutely livid at a person that has been alive less than 48 months.  You can be righteously indignant, and turn red in the face and threaten to strangle them with their little backpack straps.  But none of that matters two bits.

The bad stuff can be tempered by adding just a little good stuff.  So that Mary Poppins chick beat me to this.  You put a little sweet potato on the same forkful as the asparagus.  If you can sprinkle even a little enjoyment in with the daily grind, you'll end up okay.

We are just as scared and insecure as kids are.  We just have way cooler names for it all and have better defense mechanisms.  Seriously, I've seen grown men that live in more fear than Jack ever has.

It's no accident that the Lord uses kiddos as illustrations.  Trust me, becoming like little children is different after you've actually lived with the little turkeys.  And with children, God also illustrates our relationship to him... and exactly who knows what the score is.  Sometimes Jack screws up his face and says "I'M BAAAAD!  I'M A BAAAAD GUY NOW!"  I know he doesn't really want to be bad or evil, because he knows nothing of what that even means.  He's a sweet little maniac.   But I wonder if God looks at me when I'm sinning and shakes his head, just like I do at Jack.  "Little idiot."

If patience was easy, it wouldn't be a virtue.  I'm terrible at patience.  Terrible, terrible, terrible.  But am I less terrible than I was about 4 years ago?  Don't answer that.  Seriously, shut up.

Now, keep squarely in mind that none of this intended as AHA!  I've now conquered that whole patience/selflessness thing.  Child's play, really!  Nah, we're still working on all of this yonk, and will be for decades hence, I'm sure.  All of us will.

But I have to think that the (at times) supreme irritant that kids can be is all part of some bigtime pearl making.

1 comment:

bebe said...

Sounds like you're on the right track!!Love hearing other's insights on what we can learn from little children and our respinsibility to guide them.Love me some Jack and Caroline!!