Confession: All I wanted was to raise kids who were polite and well-mannered; intelligent kids who knew how to think.
They know how to think.
You may well say it was a trifling goal, a sideline aspiration. (Most of mine are.) I agree with you, but I still wouldn’t have chosen this Regan-path for myself. I didn’t want my child to be the one for whom hushed, impromptu parent-teacher conferences must be held in hallways and empty classrooms. I imagined him the head of the class, not the head of the outlaws. I imagined no fuss, no worries, and above all, no punching.
I signed up for a tour of sunny Spain and ended up in northern Saskatchewan, where punching is par for the course. As well as lying, petty theft, time-outs on the playground, and smiling threats on the lives of loved ones.
I would like each of my children to be imbued with a large dose of Normalcy. My second son has it in stripes, interspersed with Devilry, Brilliance, Freakishness, and Disconnect.
I receive daily opportunities to lay down my idol of Well-Mannered Kids. (Or it lays down on its own, Dagon-style, smashing face first to the ground.)
I am learning to pray things that won’t be polished and articulate no matter how hard I try. I think when the Holy Spirit translates them to the Father they sound like
Please, please keep my boy.
Please, please sanctify his mother.
And I am learning, painfully, to do this–