Ah yes. The long arduous process of transforming baby boys into men.
“I need you to play with your little brother so I can make dinner…”
“But are you going to pay me?”
“Nope. Not gonna do that.”
“So then, what do I get after? Video games?”
“Nope. You get dinner tonight and clean socks tomorrow, and satisfaction in your heart for a job well done.”
You are welcome.
Helping some kids through their transformation process can be ‘hit your head against a wall’ painful. Whereas some kids are more natural participants in this metamorphosis gig.
Here’s what I’ve learned. Don’t be tempted to give up when it’s frustrating.
Just recognize it’s the advanced stream of the training program, and if it sometimes feel totally crazy, that means you’re doing it right.
You’ll have to work with some kids longer and harder, but all the effort (that seems) futile WILL be worth it.
And if you approach parenting with that perspective – that all of your efforts are worthwhile – your situation will probably not change, but your head space will be better; and that makes all the difference.
My 8 year old just asked his toddler brother to “Say that again, but this time don’t be rude.”
There it is. A glimpse of who these boys are becoming.
It’s kind of like that time you baked the lemon cake. You know, the one with the brand new, never before attempted, over involved recipe…
You followed all of the directions, even if you did it out of order, you still nailed all of the right ingredients and amounts – now it just has to bake for the next 12-15 years.
But that cake you’re pouring your heart and soul into day after day is going to turn out so great.
And it’s going to feed so many others too and delight them to their very souls. And they’re going to be like, “Where did this cake come from? It’s so amazing!”
I’ll tell you where it came from. From sweat and tears, and endless effort.
Careful measuring, great ingredients, focus and commitment.
Yes, I dropped an egg, and there’s flour all over the counter, and I had to pick 3 lemon seeds out of the batter because I attempted a shortcut, which obviously didn’t work at all…
But there it is. My finest work, and yes I did just compare my 4 soon-to-be young men to a cake, and I stand by my decision to do so.
I love cake.
I love my kids.
Baking is hard and messy.
So is mothering.
See what I did there?
I like to have a picture of my end goal. That’s why I only like using the recipe books with pictures.
So my recipe asks me to raise good men who love God, love others, love their someday wives and kids sincerely. Men who work hard when nobody’s looking, who encourage others, believe in themselves and are brave, yet sensible.
Those men. They’re going to take a few years to bake, and I hope to be fascinated by the process, just like the little guys who keep turning on my oven light because they’re so excited to catch a glimpse of what’s happening in there… Just wait for it OK? It’s going to be amazing.
They are going to be amazing.
So keep on training them in the little things, even when you just don’t want to anymore.
And it’s OK if some days you feel like you’re trying to make whipping cream with broken beaters…
Because there will be other days that will feel so seamless, like you’re successfully measuring ingredients with your eyes closed.
Whichever day it is, just keep working at it. And keep telling yourself that things of great worth require a lot of effort.
You will see little evidences of your efforts here and there, just like when you start to smell that little lemon cake, as it transforms from a sticky mess into a full blown finished product.
Keep letting the heat do its thing, keep urging on the transformation, and just patiently wait for it.
I’m only marginally sorry if you are now craving an actual slice of cake…