Thankful November. For the Brotherhood.
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
With six boys in my house, countenances can get sharp indeed. Spiky even. Sometimes they even draw blood. I suspect - no - I Know my life would be quieter and calmer if six out of my 7 offspring were not male.
That’s not sexist. It’s simply the truth.
My 7 year old proudly states that it takes a tough man to wear pink. If he were actually worried that someone might think he was feminine, he wouldn’t do it. No, he wears it proudly. Even if it’s really more salmon than fuchsia.
I tell him it was probably some brilliant Hallmark baby card marketer who decided once upon a time that pink is girly.
That guy should get a medal for his marketing foresight.
I help him with the buttons on his shirt before he runs off to challenge the world. (He’s colorblind, so his confidence isn’t predicated on sight anyway).
Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy.
I often laugh that God would give me, an introvert whose idea of fun is a rainy afternoon with a good book, these six individual testosterone-driven balls of fire to somehow groom into responsible, upstanding leaders of the next generation. He must know that He will get every drop of glory if they don’t end up incarcerated, or worse, in politics. I want to raise them right. But how?
The process might just kill me.
Often they seem bent on destruction. The poor furniture is evidence of this, and also the reason I can’t buy anything nice for at least the next decade.
Just looking at each other funny can start a brawl that leaves chaos in its wake.
They take an eye for an eye literally... as well as an eye for a broken Lego creation, disputed hand me down shirt, or the bigger piece of pie.
Why can’t they just hold a silent grudge and be prim and proper?
I guess they weren’t made that way.
I am glad, most days.
My house is so full of life. My house is full of brothers.
Because they can fight and wrestle and argue within the proving ground of their shared bedrooms rather than public venues where the stakes will be higher.
Because there’s strength in numbers.
Because the dark is scary if you have to face it alone.
Because mom’s job isn’t to entertain her kids or be their best friend.
Because always having your way would ultimately destroy your soul.
Because no one should eat the whole apple pie solo.
Because where there is no oxen, the stall may be clean, but where there are many young oxen there are also many hands who make light work of mucking it out.
Because being home alone for holidays should never be an issue.
Because the best gift I ever gave my paralyzed son was little siblings who would look up to him and treat him completely normal. Because to them he is.
Because no one is a better police force than male siblings.
Because when they disobey authority now judgment comes from someone who loves them and wants their heart rather than their submission. And sometimes when one learns the hard way, it saves the other from having to test it for themselves.
Because of the indelible mark Wright brothers, the brothers Grimm, Charles and John Wesley, and many others left on the world together.
They welcome everyone to the manger.
They make chains - just so they can break them.
They challenge speed and order so they can find the limits.
They try to increase the firepower. Always.
They aim high.
They lie low.
And at the end of the evening, they hug me and let me kiss them good night. And sleep innocently, until a new day arrives to be conquered.
For my boys, I am thankful.
They were made to have conviction.
To be the decision makers.
To stand firmly.
To live moments deeply.
To be raw and real.
To love fiercely.
To laugh loudly.
While I want them to know that the toughest soldier is also capable of holding a newborn baby as if she were made of delicate glass, I would not squelch their strength in the process. Rather, I hope that as they experience their growing strength they will also learn to hone it.
That’s where having brothers is so handy.
They refine each other - as a crucible in a furnace.
I hope, at the end of the day, they will not only be brothers, but friends.
For these sharp young men whom I love best of all, I am thankful.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (to create it as well as be there to face it together!) Proverbs 17:17