My son has more compassion in his little pinky than I have in my whole being.
We went to church this morning, which, unfortunately, happens way too infrequently. The sermon was about staying stable and secure in our faith and in ourselves when the storms come. And the storms are coming, they will always come.
At one point in the sermon, the pastor was talking about mountains we have to climb that seem impossible, but with the right preparation and the right tools, we can overcome. My son turned to me and asked, “Do you know what that mountain is for me?”
I thought of the challenges he would face within the next couple months.
“Middle school?” I whispered back. This fall he is leaving the comfort of Quincy Elementary and heading into the unknown and seemingly ominous territory of middle school.
“Well, that is a mountain, but not the one I am thinking of,” he replied.
“Football?” I asked, thinking about his very first season of football starting up in a couple weeks.
“That too, but still not what I am thinking of.”
My curiosity peaked, I said, “Okay, then tell me what you are thinking of.”
“Trying to make everyone happy,” my son responded.
“Honey, you can’t make everyone happy,” I consoled.
He corrected me, “You are wrong mom. That is our job.” He looked at me with a steadfast seriousness, and I couldn’t argue with that statement. In many ways, he is right.
Later, when we were driving to our next destination and processing through what we learned at church, I told my son the story of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first and that if you take good care of yourself, you are in a better position to help others.
“I don’t care if I die helping people. That is how I want to die, helping others.” He told me.
“Honey, that is not helping others. You won’t be there to help them. People will be so sad.” I held back tears, I couldn’t hardly even think about the idea of losing my son.
“When I die mom, I don’t want a funeral. I want a celebration. I don’t want people to be sad that I died. I want them to be happy that I lived.”
He exists to help others be happy, he would willingly die for them, and he wants a celebration instead of a funeral. He has the biggest heart and very wise eyes.
He also hates to clean his room, loves to watch YouTube videos of people playing video games (what?!?), and loves to bother his brother. He is a kid through and through.
I write this as a proud mom, and I write this as a reminder to myself of the lessons I can learn by listening to my son. The lessons I can learn as an educator by listening to our students. I write this because I get caught up in dumb things and need reminders to stay focused on what is really important.
We need to listen to our babes. And go to church more frequently.
Over time, I have come to believe that ‘brave’ does not mean what we think it does. It does not mean ‘being afraid and doing it anyway.’ Nope. Brave means listening to the still small voice inside and doing as it says. Regardless of what the rest of the world is saying.
-Glennon Doyle Melton
Photo taken by Samantha Kraker