It is plain old yucky out today. I can feel winter coming. And yet, today I am consumed with gratitude, hope and joy. I have two incredible children. Our family is going through a very difficult time. My boys are not only compassionate and honest, they are willing to be vulnerable and share intimate relationships. Their generation gets a lot of negative publicity. They are evidence that not all of what we hear and see is valid.
It is hard to talk with adolescent boys about difficult things. My kids don’t prefer to talk with their mother about addiction, mental illness, sex, or abuse any more than yours do. But they are willing and able to. They know how to listen, share, be open, and love. These are characteristics way more important to me than scholarship, athletic performance, and political opinion. In the language of their school, they are “men for others.” I feel deeply thankful that they have evolved into such people.
I would like to be able to take some credit for this but deeply acknowledge the effects that their friends, teachers, coaches, and others have had on them. They are able to be true friends and, in turn, have earned true friends. When life is hard, they have resources to call upon besides good old mom and the surface world of social media. Underlying all of this is their faith in a merciful, loving God and their acceptance that much in life is out of their control. Neverthe less, they have the wisdom and courage to say and do the things that affect change. They are able to look at themselves and recognize their weaknesses and defects and work to improve them. They derive happiness from the joy and comfort they bring to others.
They vote and bear witness with their hands and their feet. How fortunate I am.
I will admit that, in the past, I have shallowly prayed that they grow tall enough to be satisfied with their height and that they would achieve certain swim results; I care about what they have cared about over the years. But my deepest, most intimate prayer has been that they become the kind of young men they are. God doesn’t often do what I advise, but (S)He sure does listen to my suggestions. Together, we bleed, feel, change, and heal. I am so grateful for this and for the fact that they have found and chosen to befriend others like them. I won’t always be here to guide and nurture them, but they will always have the faith and the friends that will fill that hole.