We ran into the store the other day for a few quick items. It literally was three things, so he was actually fairly well behaved. Until the check out line. On a side note – Whoever invented the check out line did not have a three year old. I mean seriously the eye-level candy, chips and Chapstick- I usually end up having to add a minimum of two items to my order per visit.
But what is absolutely certain is that we always get the “rojo” car cart. Car carts. They are a must when you’re three. And for Jack, it must be rojo. Every. Single. Time.
So we roll up to check out lane #4 (ten items or less) and I’m chatting it up with Jan. I look over and there is Jack…standing up on the door jam of the rojo car. I watched his short life flash before my eyes- and visions of stitches and concussions flew through my mind.
So in my very sweetest, sternest, grocery-store-good-mom approved voice I said, “Jackson Wade, you need to get down right now. Please. Standing up there is very DANGEROUS.” I really drew out and enunciated the DANGEROUS in order to make my point.
He looked up at me, took one hand off the cart (my heart stopped) brushed his golden Justin Bieber locks out of his eyes and stared directly into mine. And slowly, enunciating his words, as if to really make sure I understood, he said,
“But MOM. I love DANGEROUS.”
I mean. What do you do with that?
He was 100% honest in that moment. Because he does love dangerous. It’s in him. It’s who he is. And that really got me thinking.
He was born without fear of pretty much anything.
How do I parent that without killing it?
How do I encourage him to live that part of him that loves the thrill of adventure, loves to feel alive and actually KEEP him alive?
And what about me? What about you?
Are there parts of us we’ve let die to live safe?
I’m reminded of an amazing quote by Mark Batterson:
I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals.
I love the church. I bleed the church. And I’m not saying that the way the church cages people is intentional. In fact, it may be well intentioned. But too often we take people out of their natural habitat and try to tame them in the name of Christ. We try to remove the risk. We try to remove the danger. We try to remove the struggle.
Do I want to tame my son? Or teach him to use that fearless nature to live hard, live big, and love people?
I’m thinking the latter.
And I’m thinking I might need to learn a thing or two from him.