Monday, June 20, 2011

For Luke on his 11th Birthday

Luke is my gregarious one.  He has never met a stranger.  And the kid can talk a blue streak.  Sometimes when you are around him a lot, you really start to believe silence is golden.  But that is only a fleeting thought in my mind, because Luke has the personality he is meant to have.  Having that personality allows him to be fearless when he gets on a stage and sings to a full house.  I would never have done that at his age.  Probably ever.  He does it without a second thought.  And if he makes a mistake, he doesn't beat himself up about it, he gets up and does it the next time still having no fear.  He believes he can grow up to be a performer, and I think that anyone with his degree of belief will not let anything get in his way.  Nothing he accomplishes would surprise me.

The thing I find interesting about Luke is that he has this loud and spirited personality, but when he has to get down to work, he gets the job done.  I remember in 2nd grade when he learned the lesson, "All I do is get to school and tell a few jokes and then get down to business."  And he has ever since.  His teacher this year was surprised when I mentioned his propensity to talk.  She just saw his conscientious desire to finish his work and get good grades.

The thing about Luke that makes me proudest, is that he is kind.  He feels compassion for those he sees being treated badly.  I think that he is turning into a man who will do the right thing even in the face of others doing wrong.  He knows the difference between right and wrong.  And he acts on it.  He will not be done wrong, and he won't let any treat someone else wrong.

As a child it is often disrespectful to talk to adults a certain way, but there are times I have watched him and he has been right.  And who am I to squelch his expression of what should be.

Happy Birthday Luke.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

For Jake on his 13th Birthday

Today is Jake's 13th birthday.  A teenager.  8th grade.  This year he started shaving, got cool hair and has grown to almost my height. It's hard to believe that he has only one more year of middle school.  Everyone always tells you how fast it goes by, and it really does. 

Jake is my quiet child.  But his quiet is not an indication of passivity or weakness.  His quiet is an indication of a strength and resolve that he doesn't feel the need to advertise.  When he got to middle school, I asked about making friends.  He told me he was making friends, but that many kids were "inappropriate."  I laughed.  And discussion of his definition of "inappropriate" ensued.  He didn't want to discuss it because, "I would never say those things to you."

I was struck that he would feel respectful enough of me to refrain from this inappropriate talk.  I insisted on the talk, because I am the one he has to listen and make sure that he is okay.  I was struck that he was less interested in the coolness of crappy language and more in behaving respectfully.  He is growing into the kind of person I hope he will be (not to say that I am deluded enough to think we won't have our moments, but as he pointed out, Luke will probably be the troublesome one).

And Jake is funny.  When I make a mistake or trip over my own two feet, I often catch him out of the corner of my eye with a smirk. He gets the joke, he is developing a sarcastic sense of humor which I totally appreciate.  He also dishes my quirks right back.  I am such a grammar freak, that if I send him a text with an error, his response is now, "grammatical error, can not compute, grammatical error, can not compute."

At his age, I know many boys who do not want to be stuck with their brothers or mothers.  Jake is not one of those.  He has started to play guitar and trumpet and video games alone in his room some, but he wants to have his brothers around.  He is kind to everyone and gets a kick out of the youngest.  It is fun for me that sometimes when Joseph says something funny that he didn't mean to be, Jake will look over his head to catch my eye and laugh quietly.  We are in on it together now.  And any time I ever need him to stay home with them, he does not complain or argue. 

My goal is to raise boys who know how to take personal responsibility for their actions, know the difference between right and wrong, will stand up for someone who is wronged and will do the right thing when no one is looking.  He is on his way.