Thursday, March 18, 2010

Growing Up

Last Friday, I dropped Sam off at his school as usual and in doing so, I got a peek into his future. He ran into the building, his usual exuberant self, stopped next to a girl in his class and said "Hi!" with a big grin. She looked at him, turned on her heel, and grabbed her friend to run down to the classroom. She didn't respond to Sam, but her body language clearly said, "Why are you talking to me?" Sam, unfazed, was off to drop off his bag and ride the tractors with his friends, but I stood there, holding Noah, and fighting off the urge to ask the 4-year-old where she got off ignoring my son.

This insignificant exchange was a lightbulb moment for me. Sam and Noah go to school every week, but for the most part their interactions with other children have been through us and through church - they primarily play with the children of our friends and acquaintances. We have a lot of control over the people with whom they associate and the worldviews that shape them. But in that moment, I saw that my children will grow up and leave my protective grasp, venturing out into a world of people who will not like them and will act toward them in ways fundamentally opposed to the way we treat them. Deep down I know that it is healthy and normal and desirable for them to find their own way and forge their own path, but I can't help but want to hold them tighter to me for the fading years in which I can.

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