Tag: boys

You’re unique unless…

DSC_0057You are unique, unless you are a boy.
Then you are just trouble.
We say people should be themselves, unless you are a boy.
Then you are just trouble.
We say education should be equal, unless you are a boy.
Then you are just trouble.
We say people should be well mannered, unless you are a boy.
Then you are just trouble.
We say kids be free to play, unless you are a boy.
Then you are just trouble.
They say people should show courage, unless you are a boy.
Then you are just trouble.
So be unique, be yourself! Get well educated and fight for equality not wealth! Be gracious, be free, and live life with courage like we.
Just don’t be a boy.
And in halls all around, silent screams abound of mixed messages in ears that are quite unsound.
For a boy is a boy.

More guns, more play

  The latest news of squirt guns being unkind, of nerf darts causing near expulsion, then reduced to 5 days suspension, is beyond ludicrous. It is plain stupid. Two things boys need: more guns and more play. Period.

 It’s called sparing. It’s boys being boys. They wrestle, the fight, they like to blow things up. It’s cool. It’s amazing. It is how they learn justice, empathy, problem solving, values, fun, relationships, reading, math, resiliency, processing anger, and most importantly, how to be a great dad. Less guns and less play robs boys of their education. Less guns and less play dehumanizes boys.

Guns are a tool. Through a gun one learns respect, how to think, the value of life, the importance of justice, and how to be friends. Growing up guns move from toys to the real thing. They move from carefree playing to cautios respect, for each gun is to be treated as if it’s loaded. Tales of fighting bad guys become parental heart wrenching stories of our boys in the military, law enforcement, or defending our grandkids. A mere toy becomes a means to provide food for their family, bonding with other men, and relationships with our grandchildren.

Play is a canvas. Through Imagination and sheer stupidity of boyhood, play paints radiant pictures of failure to victory, from curiosity to mad scientist. Through play life happens and learning takes root. Play unlocks the doors of once bullies becoming best friends. Boys do stupid things. They’re naive. Play is a critical part of whether they will choose become a fool or wise. With less guns and less play, sadly the choice of foolishness is increasing. I am not saying that because boys do stupid things it’s therefore ok. We learn from our mistakes. Rob boys of failure and you ultimately rob them of success. Play opens the door of adventure.

It is not a crime to be a boy. The crime is not letting boys be boys. The crime is not teaching boys when they fail and do stupid things. The crime is we’re robbing boys of their success and their humanity.

Boys, Pencils and Guns

IMG_3353By today’s standards, I’d have life at Gitmo. Why? In school I had the gall to make a thermo nuclear detonator (based on the Martian’s design from bugs bunny), stolen from an encoded data disk (a He-man shield from BK). What was my dad thinking!? I could have grown up into a terrorist bent on trying to take over the world (Pinky and the Brain)! How could a West Point graduate allow his son to be so violent?

Rule #1 Use your imagination
In the heart of a boy is the desire to spar. Included in this is a heart of justice, honor and FUN! I played cops and robbers. I played army (hoo-rah!). It was pretty simple: good guys won (always barely, but sometimes by epic proportions that make Lord of the Rings seem like a cartoon) and the bad guys always lost (but seemingly were able to come back and fight again).

Rule #2 Guns kill and life is precious
I was never allowed to point a gun at a person. By gun I mean any veneration of such. When older, dad reluctantly allowed me to play lazer tag. Why? Because guns kill people and life is precious. I was not allowed to let my sisters be bad guys. And all black-ops sniper missions against said sisters were promptly aborted (those pesky West Point Grads). In playing with guns I was taught respect for the weapon and for life. By gun it didn’t matter if it was a toy, a gun was a gun.

Rule #3 A man’s job is to defend against evil & injustice
Call it old school, but I was taught there was evil and we need people willing to stand against evil. I was also told that is a man’s job, the honorable thing to do, and the harder choice. This lead to a profound respect for those serving in the military, law enforcement, emergency responders, and those who proclaim freedom. Why? Because there is evil out there and there is such a thing call tyranny. Learning about this starts in childhood. A gun-pencil boy today may be a police officer defending you tomorrow.

Rule #4 Teach boys how to play with guns
Rather than scold boys for turning pencils into guns, teach them to point guns at tyrants, despots and murders, or targets, deer, wolves, zombies and storm troopers. Teach them that life is precious. Teach them that all guns are dangerous and should be treated as they’re loaded. Teach them to not point guns at people (especially mom). Cheer them on as they vanquish evil, rescue those trapped by tyrants or save you from T-Rex! (Tip: Boys, should your gun fly out of your hand and shatter a window, saying you’re fighting against bad guys won’t work. You’ll pay to replace said window.)

The bottom line:
Take a boy’s gun away and you send him to the darkside. He’ll either learn to despise authority and be like Vader or he’ll lose the soul of what it is to be a boy growing up into a man. Anything can be a gun. Why? Cause boys like to spar. Boys like to problem solve. And, boys need to learn to defend justice and protect the innocent. When a boy picks something up and it magically becomes a gun, he is asking to learn about honor and justice. Don’t take his gun away, answer his question! 

Manic Monday: The mirror

I brought Jadon to the barber for the first time last week. The barber visit builds pride in one’s son. Jadon sat humbly on the bench, a box of toys next to him. Given the new experience, he sat with his hands folded on his lap, looking at the men in chairs getting their hair cut. The sound to clippers, normally frightening to him, echoed softly. Jadon looks up at me and smiles.

“Daddy gets a hair cut, Jadon gets a hair cut.”

I’m called up and the routine starts. He watches me at first and then slowly discovers the toy box. He builds what he is: a train track for said track a train. This very important process explained to all in the barber shop. The older men and the ladies cutting hair all smile and delight. Rather than the exploits of the weekend shared, stories and questions about trains ensued. Then it was time.

With trepidation, Jadon climbed up the “high chair.” Like a cherub, the overly large cape adorned him. No smile sat upon his face. The buzz of clippers rang loudly in his ears. I held his hands, and he took the buzzing clippers. With a big sigh he looked up.

“Let go, I ok, Daddy.”

Instead of trepidation, Jadon sat up man like.The men talked, so should he. And, like the older men he observed, he didn’t stop.

“I love Mommy!” Daddy get hair cut, Jadon get hair cut. Our job… make Mommy happy!”

A moment of silence filled the room and he started telling people about family, Mommy, the treat to follow the hair cut, and trains of course. Jadon became part of the club. From being a cute, to trepidation, to another step toward manhood, such is the first trip to the barber shop.

Nearby there is a hair shop dedicated to children. The chairs are airplanes or cars. The place focuses on a pleasant experience to what can be a terrorizing experience. Kelly and I thought about the place for his first real haircut experience. I said no. I wanted a barber shop. Part to show off my boy, the other have him focus on becoming a man. I appreciate things focused on kids, but sometimes we need things that focus kids on becoming adults.

With risk comes reward. The event could be a moment of pride or a moment of regret. The risk ended with reward and pride. There sat my son take taking another step of courage. He further understood his job. “Our job is to make Mommy happy!” (Proverbs speaks to this often.)

Children are a mirror into our own soul. Jadon acted like Daddy. He got his hair cut like daddy. He ended the event like Daddy. “Ok, let’s get coffee, Daddy!” The mirror can show our faults, but it can also show what’s best about ourselves; where God still needs to work, and where God blesses. Which do you need to focus on this week?

(Especially on Mondays)

Manic Mondays: What to get dad?

There is nothing greater than watching my boys discover the world they’re in. Or trying to figure out what they are thinking. This weekend I finally was able to figure out what Gabbers was thinking. After all, it’s the thought that counts!

(especially on mondays)

What to get Dad?

Dad Power: Prayer

I love praying with my boyz just before saying goodnight.  Dads must pray for and teach their boyz to pray. We end our prayers with an excited AMEN! We joyfully talk to God, as we know He delights in children. There are three key things I always pray for them: they would grow into strong men of God, to be protected from all harm, and to be kept from the evil one.

Strong men of God
Asking God that He would save my boyz is not enough. I do not want fire insurance for them, my heart wants firemen! I disagree with the adage ‘boys will be boys.’ It is wrong. Boys will be men! What kind of men will they grow up to be? My boyz need to be the men God designed them to be. Regardless of their career, they can still be godly, but godly is not enough. I want them to be strong men of God. I desire that they can fully say God is my God, and not just my dad’s God. I pray that they would pursue God and the challenges He puts before them with all eagerness.

Protected from all harm
Sometimes I slip and say keep, but what is the act of God keeping or protecting? As a parent I don’t want to see my kids go through difficult challenges, but I know they will. I ask God to protected them because I don’t want to seem them defeated. My desire is my boyz will go head long into challenges and grow from them, not be harmed from them. My boyz will go through painful and challenging times. I pray they grow as a result, and not be destroyed or disheartened.

The evil one
Being a dad means I am in a fight against satan. He and his cronies gun for kids. It is no cliché when Jesus taught people to pray ‘and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ God led people into temptation, though He does not tempt. The Holy Spirit lead Jesus to be tempted by Satan. God did something similar with Job. Well, I like Jesus’ instruction. I ask God that He would not do that with my boyz. Their depravity is enough to get them into trouble!

The bottom line
A praying dad is essential. Life is hard. The only way to get through life is a strong relationship with God, not just for us as dads, but also passing that down to the future generation of men.