I decided today that it’s a good thing I’m not a mama cheetah.
We were watching a video today in class, and the narrator told how cheetah cubs learn through play. The cubs were seen pouncing and rolling and nipping at one another.
This mama wanted to say, “Boys! Stop that!” I was really nervous for those cheetah cubs, afraid they would play a little too rough and one might get hurt.
Yes, I’m serious. Don’t laugh.
I pictured my boys playing and learning, and being, well, boys.
And yes, they make me nervous.
I know they are going to play rough. They are going to wrestle and punch and kick. And they will get hurt.
As their mama, I want to protect them. I want to have padded walls and floors and full body armor and helmets. I don’t want them to get hurt. But all that might seem a bit psychotic, so I won’t go there.
I’m the mom of three boys. I do want to protect them. I want to keep them from making mistakes. I want to keep their paths straight and painless.
But I know I can’t, and I know even if I could, then it still wouldn’t be right.
It’s difficult to admit this, but our kids need to get hurt. They need to experience disappointment and loss and heartache. As much as I want their lives to be perfect and carefree, I know deep in my heart that my children would never learn from that. The world is an imperfect place because it is full of imperfect people.
Doesn’t our learning and growth and wisdom come from trials?
If we never experience despair of some sort, we will never really know how wonderful life is.
I look at my 13-year-old. I think about what lies ahead for him. There is so much I want to protect him from, so many experiences I don’t want him to have, but if I shelter him and protect him too much, how will he ever learn?
I think we can shelter our children too much, and I think we can be too lax. They are children. We shouldn’t allow them to be adults too soon. One of these days, my boys will be out on their own. They will have their own lives (and it won’t be in my basement when they are 40 years old).
Part of living is knowing how to deal with trials and hurts and loss. Part of my job as their mother is to teach them how to handle those experiences. I need to teach them perseverance, compassion, forgiveness. They need to see me demonstrate those qualities in my life. They need to see how their father and I handle stress, anger, and disappointment. They need to witness us showing love and kindness to our enemies. I need to teach them about Christ and His love for them. They need to see Christ in my life.
I can’t protect my children from everything, but I can teach them how to respond to their imperfect world. And when I do that, and God willing they live Christian lives, they will make this world a better place.
So, maybe I need to be a little more like a mama cheetah, letting my boys explore a little more, but yet, grasping their napes when danger is involved. I can do that, can’t I?