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My Little Man

When his teacher thinks about him, she thinks about how much he loves me…

A week ago today I sat in a room of students and their parents as my son’s first grade teacher handed out character awards.  These awards are descriptions of some of the student’s main character traits.  My son was 3rd or 4th from the end so I had quite a bit of time to sit and listen.  As I listened to many of the other student’s awards I began to wonder what award my son would get.

I see the kiddo everyday so some of his traits elude me because of familiarity.  I listened to traits of leadership, friendliness, joyfulness.  I thought those could describe my son (not that these awards are mutually exclusive) but I wasn’t sure exactly character trait I would list as my son’s dominant character trait.

Finally, the teacher got to my son.  She sat down beside him and read off his character award.  It was “Faith”.  Perfect.  It’s funny how it takes someone with a bit of distance to see some of these things isn’t it?  She obviously sees him a lot, but not as much as I have over his life.  It’s the same in our own lives.  We overlook our own traits because we see ourselves every day.  The things we do well and the things that stand out to other people are just everyday things to us because we experience them all the time.

“Faith” fit my son perfectly.  He is a faithful little man that has much more understanding that I typically ascribe to 6 year olds.  He loves being at church, he loves to sing praise songs (even though he doesn’t always remember all the words so he just repeats what he remembers) and that little boy loves him some Jesus.  I often worry that my job as a minister will make faith look much more like something you do for a living than something that is a joy to have and my son defines what joy in faith looks like.

My heart was already about as full as it could be and then his teach moved into talking about more than just his trait of faithfulness.  She began talking about how much he looks up to his dad…to me.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to do or what to think.  I get so worried about raising my son because I feel like I want to mold him and protect him and insulate him from all the things that I wish were different about me.  He’s such a sweet little kid that I just worry about the first bully that he encounters.  He is so passionate that I worry about the first time that he really fails at something he loves.

I get so worried that I’m doing a bad job of making him ready for what’s to come.  Sometimes I feel like I’m too hard on him and others I feel like I’m not hard enough.  I watch him with pride in everything he does and most of what I do I just want him to watch me the same way.  It’s true, I just want this 6 year old little boy to watch me do things the same way I watch him do things…

I watch him with pride in everything he does and most of what I do I just want him to watch me the same way.  It’s true, I just want this 6 year old little boy to watch me do things the same way I watch him do things…

And that’s what his teacher said.  She said how much he looks up to his dad.  She didn’t mention anything like that about any other students.  It doesn’t mean that they don’t look up to their parents, but I know my son and I know that what he is feeling he is going to talk about.  That means that he talked about me enough in a way that a 6 year old boy talks about his dad in such a way that made that trait about him stand out to someone who has only known him for about 8 months of his life…

When his teacher thinks about him, she thinks about how much he loves me…

I often make fun of people that use this phrase but this sentence fragment describes it my emotions perfectly: I can’t even.

I can’t.  I get so worried about trying to simultaneously raise and love on my son that I often feel like somebody played a mean trick on me with this whole parenting thing.  That I get so tied in knots trying to make sure that he’s happy, but behaving; being polite, but expressing what he wants; being a little gentleman, but not being pushed around that I sometimes feel like the joy in parenting isn’t in the process but rather in the end results…and then she said how much he looks up to his dad.  In trying to raise him much of what I’m trying to do is protect him because of how much I love him.  I know he loves me, but to know how he really feels about me when I’m not around is beyond words.

I often fear how on earth I’m supposed to do this as he gets older.  He seems to be growing up so quickly.  He’s playing football, soccer, and starting baseball soon.  He’s doing sleep overs, watching sports, and going to sports camps.  I feel like I’m doing all I can to keep up and I often feel like I’m falling behind.  I get myself worked up because I haven’t taught him everything he needs to know yet and I’m afraid I haven’t protected him enough because of it…and then I watch this sweet little boy sing every word to the theme song from the Muppet Babies.  I watch him pack up his stuffed animals to take to his great grandmother’s house.  I watch him fall asleep on the sofa because he wants to stay up as long as he can watching whatever show, game, or movie I’m watching.

I did everything I could not to cry in 1st grade classroom filled with 30 people because I could tell they were all looking at me.  My son looks up to me so much that it is a part of who he is.  He watches me the same way I watch him.

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