Imperfect Child with a Perfect Purpose
He was still shorter than me when he wore spy shades to church while sporting his tattoo art. The designs were his own, courtesy of tattoo markers. Yes, I am 'that' mom. I bought them. At that juncture in his young life, he had considered a variety of careers: monk, world champion hang glider, poker champ, chemist, hypnotist and comic book producer to name a few. I figured this too would pass.
This Sunday, he was caught between potential careers of tattoo artist and detective. The glasses had little mirrors that allowed him to watch the folks behind us. My good friends sat there watching him watch them. After the service, Shane chuckled, “That boy is always going to march to his own drum, isn't he?” Then, they compared tatts.
The tattoo stage had long passed when the season of bullying sucked his soul dry. I guess, however, it's no wonder he found the beat of heavy metal appealing. Our older son only listened to Classical music until he was in high school. They say no two kids are alike! We are the picture dictionary example of that truth.
When I began the series, “The Gentle Art of Kamikaze Parenting”, I felt as if I was treading on ice so thin my feet were under water as I was writing. What did I know about parenting to tell you about it? If you knew 'the truth', you'd scoff at me. I don't have all the answers, but I have learned something in this mean season.
You can rule by an iron fist when they are little. The older they get and the more tense life is for them, the softer that guiding instrument must become. Did I want my son listening to some of what he listened to? No. Could I stop him? Theoretically, yes. He's under 18. Practically, in this day of instantaneous media connectivity, no. You don't realize that when they are 3 and 8 and 10. You think you will always be able to keep your fences intact.
By the time they are 14, you realize it is time for you to put your trust in an Almighty Creator God and the job you've done as a parent. There aren't enough software management programs like Net Nanny or Covenant Eyes to keep a computer savvy kid away from what's out there. We set our limits, explained the consequences, then began to pick our battles as parents.
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
Long hair? Ok. As long as you are obedient, speak respectfully, and keep your language clean. Short of those 3 parameters, you go to the barber shop. We made good on that promise. So, when I said we set our boundaries and then picked our battles, I meant it.
Heavy metal music? Sigh. Even tho' it made our hair curl, we chose to use it, and are still using it, as a teaching tool. We examine lyrics and talk about how angry, lonely, and hopeless some of them sound. We talk about how Christ is the answer to the questions contained in the indecipherable (to us) lyrics.
We look for Christian bands whose music is tailored to reach out to disaffected youth and compare the hopefulness and truth in those lyrics. We take him to local concerts to meet local youth who comprise those bands. It was and is a full tilt campaign designed to prevent Satan from finishing the job the bullies had started.
|Front Row Center- Winter Jam 2012|
Our 'unsocialized', homeschooled, socially 'impaired' Aspie kid can walk up to any band member anywhere and begin to expound on the intricacies of the music they have in common. He never meets a stranger, and unlike the bullies on the block, they never call him strange. In fact, his pics with some famous bands have now earned him some fairly respectable 'street creds' with the kids who used to bully him the most.
As I was praying with Isaac one morning, an incredible thing unfolded. It was as if I felt the Holy Spirit surround me. As my words sought the Lord that morning, my heart cried out in fear of the music and the anger and the history.
Into all that soul-chaos, it was as if God said, “I've got this. I've got this kid. He's mine. Satan cannot undo what I have begun. I have a good work for him to do. This thing you fear so much, this music, will be the very thing that enables him to do what I have ordained for him to accomplish. He will be my voice to angry, disaffected kids that will need someone like him, vs someone like you, on their side. He will 'get them'. He will speak my language for them. I've got this. He's mine.”
|Fencing - 2012|
I wept uncontrollably. Me? Mine? The imperfect mother of the imperfect child? How could this be. A calm I cannot explain filled my soul.
So it was that I became another version of 'that' mom. You know, the one that did not want my kid to talk to 'that' kid because he might sully my kid. We were at a local fast food joint. My heavy metal kid, always on the lookout for a kindred spirit, looked up to see what could have been Alice Cooper's younger twin walk in the door. Son #2 literally vibrated with excitement. Me, not so much.
Boy, oh boy. We are getting to the good part now. Son #2 is about to take me to the woodshed as he reaches out in love to someone I'd rather have run from. I can't wait to tell you how I watched God's promise begin to bear fruit in my son's life. I can't wait to tell you about Son #2 and the Rocker Dude.
|Courtesy B. Creasy - 2010|
Matthew 25:45 (The Message)
"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'