I have heard so many people say that. ‘He’s just being a boy. They are wild.’ This is usually after the child has done something they shouldn’t be doing. And it’s sometimes said by a mother, or sympathetic mom friend, who is trying to justify the behavior. Not always, but sometimes.
Please hear me right here. I’m not judging. I’m not talking about using this expression when a boy is energetic and running all over or is on the go nonstop. That is a rather normal experience for a healthy kid. I’m talking about behaviour that is consistently unruly and untameable.
I’ve got a boy. And he’s wild. And he’s been my most challenging and difficult child. I have cried more tears of frustration over this one boy than over my older two girls combined. And then some.
I know, I know. What until the teenage years.
But he has been my first child to throw tantrums. Full on, throw himself on the floor in Target, screaming tantrums. And they last for a looooong time. I have been embarrassed by his actions and behaviour and desperately wished I knew how to handle him a bit better. That is much more about me, than him, however.
So, be it his particular personality or the fact he’s a boy…or likely some combination of the two…I know what it’s like to have a boy. Who is all boy. Who is wild. Who smiles the sweetest stinkin’ smile and then just tells me ‘no.’ And proceeds to do exactly what I just emphasised he should not do. But that smile…
He climbs to the top of the couch and jumps off without fear. He tackles his sisters despite being two or four years younger, depending on who he focuses on with a particular tackle. He fights back with his little tiny fists instead of his words. He has face planted down the stairs more than the other two because he simply goes for it without as much caution. He literally runs everywhere he goes and those little chubby legs working as hard as they can is the cutest thing in the world. He is a typical boy and has seemingly endless energy.
Despite his wildness and his most definite boy-ness, I decided some time ago that having a boy would mean much more than wildness in my home.
Being a boy will mean being a protector of his sisters. And anyone who needs it.
Being a boy will mean being gentle with those who aren’t as strong as he is.
Being a boy will mean helping those who need it.
Being a boy will mean being respectful of others.
Being a boy will mean being a gentleman. And being gentle.
Being a boy will mean holding others up when they aren’t able to do it themselves.
Being a boy will mean being a leader.
Being a boy will mean being a present and loving father.
Being a boy will mean being a kind and understanding husband.
Being a boy will mean getting dirty, playing with cars, loving adventures, chasing dreams, and so much more of what it is to be a boy. I will not deny that Micah being a boy will mean he has certain characteristics and tendencies. That is exactly what God made him to be as a boy. But my boy is also designed to be so much more than wild and crazy and all hyped up.
Sometimes I think we have this inclination to tell a little girl all the things she is supposed to be. Kind, gentle, loving, serving…all these qualities we think would make for the perfect little girl who becomes the perfect wife and mother. (That is a whole different post!) But I am already thinking of what it means for my boy to become a great husband and father. A great man in our society. One who others can look to and follow because he is an example. One who is confident in his kindness and gentleness and knows when they are needed. One who sets out on adventures and lives according to his calling.
But more than anything, I want to raise a good man. I want to hold Micah accountable to being the kind of man we need in our world. I don’t want to hold him back from being a boy. I want to encourage him to be exactly that. A boy who becomes a young adult who becomes a man who gives this world a run for their money. He has certainly given me a run for mine. And I hope he doesn’t stop cause this little guy is gonna do great things. And it won’t be because I made any excuses for him being a boy. I hope it will be because I helped him understand the responsibility he has in being a boy and how to do it well.