That phrase — raising a man — has been floating around in my head today. It is really what I’m doing in a sense. He just had his seventh birthday and somehow between his Birthday Eve and Birthday Morning, I am pretty sure he grew a few inches. And did his voice get lower? Maybe I’m hearing things.
He asked if he could crack the eggs this morning for homemade waffles and I hesitated because I was sort of in a hurry and didn’t want to be fishing out egg shells (even I tend to get a little piece of shell in there). He cracked all 3 eggs — with no shells to be fished out. When did he learn to do that?
And when did he become a walking encyclopedia on the animal kingdom? And how did he know how to rig that little handle on the toaster to stay down (when even his Dad’s attempts didn’t work — you can imagine his proud smile). And how does he know just how to comfort his sister in that way all his own?
Next to the shelf with the bobble head and the coin bank in his room is a picture hanging on the wall that says:
“A little boy is the only thing God can use to make a man.”
And while we are certainly still far away (relatively) from manhood, there is starting to be less “little” in my boy, and more independence, confidence, responsibility.
I sometimes fear for him in this world where many things can threaten the integrity of men (and all of us), but then I look where he’s looking and I am comforted. Because he’s watching his Daddy.
He’s watching him work hard and sweat and push wheelbarrows in the yard. He’s watching him give me a tender hug at the kitchen sink and whisper, “I love you.” He’s watching him react to his little sister’s temper tantrum with gentleness. He’s watching him drink coffee and read a book. He’s watching him pray. My son learns a lot from me — I am a source of comfort that only a mother can provide. But his Dad is his role model.
As for now, he is still busy chasing lizards and frogs and marbles scattered across the floor. There is great idealism, courage and energy in boyhood; there is also great faith, gentleness and affection — and as he grows, I hope these remain. For no matter how big he gets, there are always the truest things that will never change, like how much he is loved.
My little boy who God is using to make a man, I love you.