My mind has been spinning lately as I've been reading a new book, "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge. I've wanted to talk about this book so often, but haven't found too many people willing to read it or discuss it. I'm learning so much about boys and men and it excites me that God has given me four men within my home to nurture and love. That being said, I am looking at life and others with a new set of lenses. Many of the men I see and the families I see are inspiring me on my journey of raising men, but there are also those who are very UNinspiring.
On facebook this morning I noticed a picture of an old youth group member that was taken at a scene of an accident last night. He had witnessed an accident involving a car with a woman driver and the car ended up bursting into flames. What do you think he did in that moment?
Do you think he drove on past and prayed, "Dear God help the police arrive soon!"
Do you think he got out of his car and stood as far back as was physically safe and encouraged the other brave men who were helping the lady?
Do you think he pulled over and sat frozen in fear within the safe confines of his own vehicle and wished he could do something?
Or do you think he ran as fast as he could to her car, smashed her window open, cut her out of her seatbelt with his POCKET KNIFE, and pulled her to safety?
Which of these things do you think he did?
I have another question for you before I tell you the correct answer. . . which of these reactions do you hope your son will have if he is ever faced with this exact event?
Let that sink in and be honest with yourself. What do you hope your son will do when he is 30 years old and witnesses a woman burning alive inside her car?
I would hope that you would want your son to jump out of his car and risk his life for the sake of someone else's. If you don't feel that way, then you should probably stop reading this blog post and go and stroke your son's hair, snuggle him in a fuzzy blanket, and move on with your life. If you do agree and you do hope your son would act like a hero in that situation then my question for you is, "What are you doing RIGHT NOW to prepare him for acts of bravery and manhood?"
Parents today are emasculating their boys right and left. Don't fight. Don't yell. Don't run. Don't climb. Don't pretend with guns. Don't pretend to kill. Don't be adventurous. Don't DO ANYTHING. Just sit here, be calm, and grow up and oh by the way, never become a hero.
I'm sure there were many other people who were frozen in fear at the scene of this wreck. I'm sure some drove past thinking, "Oh that's horrible. Glad that's not our car." I'm sure some men went home that night and asked themselves within their hearts, "Why didn't I do anything to help? Why couldn't I be as brave as that other guy?" Maybe even some guys couldn't have helped because they were never allowed to smash windows and play with pocket knives when they were a kid so they lacked the actual skill in helping.
After reading "Wild at Heart" I am convinced that becoming brave takes practice. Little boys practice while slaying dragons, shooting critters, punching their dad and brothers, falling off their bikes, climbing tall mountains, dangling from trees, etc. John Eldredge says, "When boys play at war they are rehearsing their part in a much bigger drama. One day we just might need that boy to defend us." Many, many people strip their boys of these opportunities because they fear what will happen if they allow them to take risks.
"Oh he might fall and cry!"
"Oh he might break an arm!"
"Oh he might hurt himself!"
We spend our lives avoiding all elements of risk.
Well, I got news for you. Your little boy,
who you hope will one day be the hero in a situation like this,
who you hope will defend his home from an intruder,
who you hope will take a stand for what's right,
will never do it if you don't let him practice.
So let me encourage you today to let your boy be a boy and if you have a boy who you have trained to run from adventure and take the easy way out, I urge you to push him to take risks. No man wants to be the guy who can't act when he needs to. No wife wants the husband that's a coward. Mommies may want their children to be safe and calm and gentle, but I assure you that your son will resent you for that one day.
Let them fall. Let them fail. Let them hurt and bleed and cry. Hug them and encourage them and tell them they are fierce and brave and BIG. And most importantly don't let them be cowards.
Oh and by the way, my friend from church, he was the hero. He saved the woman's life. He didn't flee from danger. He ran to it! I could not be more proud of my old friend. He is a hero and I hope that if my boys are ever faced with a situation like that that they will not run in fear.