In my last post about courage, this comment was submitted:
“Taking your kid to the playground counts as ‘courage’? Seriously?”
It got me thinking:
Compared to the life-saving heroics some citizens take every single day, a trip to the park is mere child’s play.
While the majority of us are not fighting actual wars, curing diseases or handcuffing bad guys, there is a sense in culture today that families – specifically dads – are in trouble.
The wars we face might result from an icy relationship with a spouse. The medicine we administer fights off the disease of apathy. The bad guys we catch are ourselves – caught in a cycle of violence.
The truth is that it takes courage to build any relationship. Relationships are risky. You could invest large amounts of conversation, time and attention and end up with nothing more than a broken heart shattered by another person.
Why would you think parenting is any different?
It takes courage to talk to your kids about sex. It takes courage to tell your kids the truth about your past. It takes courage to open your budget to show your kids how much you make.
The military doesn’t send raw recruits straight into battle. Medical school students aren’t handed a scalpel on the first day of class. Rookie cops aren’t given keys to a cruiser before they’ve been to the police academy.
They all go through training first, knowing that the days are coming when they’ll have to pull the trigger, open a body, pursue a criminal. And, with courage, they prepare themselves with a successful end in mind.
In the same way, we don’t talk to our kids about sex when they are in diapers. We don’t teach them about finances during “tummy time.” We don’t give them the keys to a cruiser when they are sticking cereal in every crook and cranny within arm’s reach.
We train them with age-appropriate skills, knowing that the days are coming when they’ll be on their own, with their own money, in their own car.
The parent-child training ground is filled with obstacles that will make you both stronger:
Conversations are push-ups.
Time is barbed wire.
Attention is the bugler’s trumpet at sunrise.
And, with courage, we prepare them with a successful end in mind.
With courage, we set them on a trajectory that will make the world a better place.
With courage, we take our kids to the park because it’s in these everyday moments that we train them to become the women, men, wives, husbands, moms and dads God wants them to be.
What does courage look like for you as a father?