Boy: A noise with dirt on it.

Recently, Lil Man disappeared with two of his neighborhood friends after they were told to stay in the front yard where I could see them. I followed the sounds of little boys laughter and rough housing until I located them in the alleyway behind our home, down a ways near the empty lot they like to play soccer on.

Much to my horror and amusement, two of the boys were inside of a large dumpster and the third was doing his very best to hoist them up and out of their predicament – to no avail. Their expressions were determined as they tried to find a way to get free, and soon became a mix of terror and relief when they saw me approaching them with the baby on my hip.

“We just needed that box and a wood board for our ramp!”

“It was my idea, they just said okay and wanted to help!”

“Look! I got it, Mama!! I wasn’t scared at all, and I knew I could climb in.

…I didn’t think I’d get stuck though…”

They all talked at once, covering each other’s words – his friends desperately trying to keep him out of trouble while Lil Man proudly declared his part in it all, incriminating himself beyond where I had found him. In a dirty, old dumpster. Far away from the front yard. In the busy alley that I have several times before told them all to stay out of without an adult…

I had a terrible time being stern with them, giggling to myself at the whole ordeal and trying to get past the amazement I felt. They were all informed of the unpleasantness found in dumpsters, and told of the painful ways you can deglove a finger (as well as other injuries.) In the end, however, I allowed Lil Man to help with the ramp-building, and testing said ramp out after it was completed.

He promised to never dumpster dive again, and had a steaming hot shower.

…And was promptly grounded an hour later when I had to hunt him down again, since he didn’t ask to leave the yard as we discussed him doing only a short time before. (Don’t blink, people! That’s all the time it takes!)

*sigh* It’s a difficult thing to encourage exploration and discovery while still maintaining as safe an environment as possible. These boys are gunna give me a heart attack…

Smarts

This past Friday was parent/teacher conference day for us, and Lil Man is excelling in everything except knowing when to keep his mouth closed and listen. (Our social little guy often distracts his classmates!) His teacher will be giving him more challenging work to do, and she praised his ability to think outside of the box. While we need to help him focus on doing his best work as opposed to hurrying through everything, he comprehends the work needed and the results are correct…albeit sloppy.

But how does one teach focus when it comes to mundane tasks or distant goals? We’ve talked about it many times, about schoolwork and soccer and numerous daily tasks. He has the mental idea of “focus”, but struggles to put it into practice as he flits from one activity to the other.

“The world,” he says, “is just too interesting!”

The battle has been to show him that focusing on one task right now will help him learn and grow, so that he can reach any goal in the future and explore all the world over! It’s a foreign concept for him to think about – that if he learns focus with this little step, he will have focus on the ultimate goal even when distractions come.

But, I think it’s starting to make sense to him.

This last soccer game didn’t go too well. The boys worked hard in the first half, and then almost gave up in the second. The opposing team played tough! But we lost our will to keep fighting, and you could see it in their poor, tired faces. After some discussion, I asked Lil Man, “How could you become a better teammate?”

He thought for a minute before answering, “By trusting my team, and having more focus on the ball.”

And there it was! One of the moments today that made my heart swell with pride for my six-almost-seven-year-old boy, who wants so badly to be the best at everything, all on his own! In that small sentence, he acknowledged the need to rely on others, and showed me that he figured out how to put into practice those lessons about focus.

Now, I need to work on my own trust and focus issues so that I can be a good example for him to follow…

 

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

My Daddy

I wrote this poem about a month ago, and it’s been on my mind a lot. As his former dispatcher, I know my husband is well trained and ready to handle the tasks each day brings him. But as his wife and as a mother, I am less prepared to deal with the questions and emotions that sometimes come up. Regardless of what the day may hold, he continues forward. I will always be proud of the man that my husband is and the example he sets for our boys.

Jon

My Daddy

Before my daddy goes to work,

He kisses me goodbye.

I’m not old enough to know quite yet,

But my big brother will sometimes cry –

“When will he come back again?

I really want for him to play!

Will he be home for dinner, Mommy?

Or will the bad guys make him stay?”

Not even Google knows the answers

To all the questions that arise.

Mama will never say she worries,

And she considers each moment with him a prize.

But Mama’s thoughts are never far away

From the man who makes this home.

They hold Daddy close through every task,

It’s always to him that her mind roams.

There’s a darkness that I’m not yet aware of,

That daily threatens our family.

But Daddy goes out to face it down,

In the face of evil, he does not flee.

I want him to come back to us!

When he’s near, I always smile.

His voice is deep and comforting,

He holds me gently for a while.

Then Mama gets to talk with him,

He wrestles with my brother.

So quickly, he goes out once more…

…willing to lay down his life for another.

Mama tells us this is who Daddy is,

As he stands before the weak as a shield.

She says it’s because he loves us so much,

That he will forever refuse to yield.

And maybe, one day, I’ll be brave like him.

I’ll learn to seek that which is right.

Maybe, I too, will fight those things

That always ‘go bump in the night’.