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As the mom of two boys, I hear a lot about good guys and bad guys. My self-proclaimed "good guys" have a deeply rooted need to protect. They share stories about how they will save the world and fight to the death if needed to defeat the bad guys, whose doom almost always culminates with a ceremonial toss into a lava pit.
I'm a woman from a family of women (save for my dad, of course. Hi Dad!) and I struggle with hearing all of this aggressive talk. It comes so naturally to the boys and not by any promotion on my part. It just really is what it is. This is my life as the mom of Oscar and Calvin, defenders of good. How can they save the world if they aren't prepared to go to battle? I admire them.
Recently, we were talking about temptation and how to define it. I used an analogy about them sneaking a cookie when I wasn't looking, and Oscar was aghast. He couldn't even imagine doing such a thing if I said he could only have one cookie (yes, really).
Now, I know that this isn't always going to be the case and there are certainly many boundaries being tried to their breaking points. But the simplicity of these boys and good vs. bad has been on my mind a lot lately. To them, it's simple; bad guys do bad things and good guys do good things.
But it seems like more often than not, it isn't good guys vs. bad guys, but rather bad guys vs. worse guys, or even bad guys who do something good once in a while vs. good guys who really screwed it up those few times.
That's definitely how I feel when it comes to current events and most certainly the election season. It's getting harder to encourage my dreamers and more necessary for me to arm them with some tools that might keep them from getting blindsided by the ugly side of humanity.
And I don't wanna.
I never understood it when people said they didn't want to have children because they didn't want to bring them into the world the way it is today. Even though I am an eternal optimist and knew, even before having children, that it would be worth it, I'm starting to understand the tension.
There is a lot of heavy stuff out there right now and it can be really overwhelming for anyone. Add parenting to that and pass the headache medicine.
I still believe that love matters most and we can "be the change" to remind others of true love. But if I told you I wasn't sad about the world my children are being raised in, I would be lying.
There is so much fear and anger surrounding us that it's almost physical. We are a society on the edge of our seats, ready to pounce on anyone who dares oppose our way of life. It sure feels like the good guys aren't showing up.
This dose of reality is taking a lot of the fun out of parenting these sweet, brave boys. I do know where our hearts stand and we can always take refuge in our faith. But I also know we have to live here in this world and in that we must find a way to see the beauty. We just have to.
More than anything, I want my sons to have open ears. I want them to listen and hear truth loud and clear and follow it with boldness. I want them to stand up for good when it seems to be an ancient story. I want them to love fully and teach others to do the same. I want them to feel grace when they do none of these things and go the wrong way. I mean, what else can a parent hope for in a world of bad guys and worse guys?
I'm guessing a pit of lava is out of the question...
This post originally appeared on Andrea's personal blog, Just is a Four Letter Word. Follow along for more stories of parenting, work-life balance and other crazy notions like having fun without the kids!
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.