Let Me Out of My Box, Mom!
I stared at the email that had just pushed through on my
phone, certain it was a mistake:
“Your son got up on stage today at church and led all the
kids in a song. He did a good job.”
This news was almost impossible for me to process – the
equivalent of a message that said, “Aliens have taken over your suburban
community and you will now be required to speak Swahili while working in your
new post as a part-time clown, part-time nuclear engineer in rural Ireland.”
My son, after all, is the boy who crawled under the table at
church at the age of two, fingers jammed in his little coffee-cup-handle-shaped ears,
repeatedly screaming, “No singing. No singing. No singing.” At the same age, he
put his hands over my mouth, begging me not to sing to him – ever.
But apparently things have changed.
We’ve learned this week that my boy enjoys both the stage and singing – at least if the song suits him
and he is feeling particularly comfortable and confident. And apparently he can at least halfway carry a tune when he is so inspired.
Now, this doesn’t mean I will be carting my winsome, baseball
playing, video game loving son off to American Idol auditions any time soon. But it is a good reminder to me that when it comes to our children – and to people in general – maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to put them in a box.
They should be wildly free to explore interests and passions, even if they are constantly changing and seem unfocused – even schizophrenic — at times. And come to think of it, maybe we should grant ourselves the same freedom as adults.
So on this particular summer day, I am focusing on gratitude – feeling a strong sense of thankfulness that we can reinvent ourselves over and over, and that it is never too late for any of us to try something new, to
explore and to grow.
We never know what we might learn about ourselves and each
other along the way.