Our little man turned six recently. I snuck out of the office for a bit to grab lunch with him. Nothing is as awkwardly awesome as having lunch with elementary kids.
As soon as I sat down, one of the boys asked, “Hey Mr. Justin, has anyone ever told you that you look a lot like Silas?”
If he only knew how many times.
It got me thinking. Here’s this little six-year-old dude running around every day that has the unfortunate reality of looking like me.
He shares my middle name and my last name.
And I’m his.
What a beautiful, terrifying reality. But as much as I'm trying to impart wisdom on him, I think I'm the one changing the most.
Our half-nerd, half-jock, all-awesome son has fundamentally altered who I am these last six years in these six ways:
- I Come Alive When He’s Alive: before I had a son, I had these great visions of him being a premier athlete or world-class at something. Like that really matters. Really until about a year ago, he couldn’t have cared less about balls, bats and baskets. He loved worms, dirt and bugs. And I was totally fine with it. When he’s pumped about life, so am I.
- He Reminds Me That Tenderness is Strength: there are plenty of tough-guy examples out there, but one thing our little dude has taught me is that tenderness is actually strength. And it doesn’t equate to being soft.
- Choose Adventure: not a day goes by where he doesn’t want me to get swept up with him in some story. Save the queen, fight the bad guy, overcome the world. Somewhere along the way, adults quit believing in the improbable and settled for the ordinary. He’s teaching me to fight that.
- Being Tough is Necessary: I’m for sure a softie when it comes to parenting, but having him has made me realize that tough love is a beautiful form of parenting at times. Not that I haven’t given the girls tough love, but for some reason, he’s a bit easier to be hard on when he needs to be corrected.
- Protect the Woman: with an incredibly strong wife and four independent, strong daughters, I’ll be the first in line saying they don’t need a man to watch out for them. But the other day, a boy Silas’ age was playing a bit too rough with his younger sister. Silas looked at the boy and said, “Do NOT be aggressive with my sister.” Perhaps because we’ve been on him since day one about looking out for the women in his life.
- Love is Often the Answer: This kid runs hard, has a nonstop motor and is always on the go. But when he hits the wall and shuts it down each night, he might be the softest kid we have. He loves huge hugs and cuddling on the couch. He’s reminding us that love is often the best answer.
A few weeks ago, he kept saying to us, “well I’m technically six now.” We’d reply and say, “actually bro, you’re technically five for a few more weeks.”
We’re fairly certain he was confusing technically with almost. He carried on with this until his birthday.
Well buddy, you’re technically six now. Six of the best years of my life.