By Nathan Clarkson “those” boys
As I walked to the grocery store, I suddenly realized a bad habit of mine . . .
I walk with my head down watching every step I take.
So on the trip back to my house I decided to lift my head, and see the world above the dirty ground as I walked home.
As I did I started noticing what a nice day it was, I would have random people look and smile at me, I saw interesting things in windows and soon found my attitude and composure was no longer one of disgust and agitation, but of happiness and joy for a nice walk.
My peripheral vision warned me whenever there was a bigger crack in the sidewalk or food item to avoid, but for the most part my vision was filled with interesting, fun, beautiful things contrasting my previous walk filled with each imperfection.
Just a tilting of my head . . . a change in the angle angle of my eyes changed my whole demeanor.
There’s a misconception that girls are only the ones who need to be told they’re pretty, and have doting positive remarks said about them.
While girls may be more vocal and honest about their need, I believe with all my heart that boys and men need them just as much.
I find my self constantly asking and seeking for those close to me to express my worth to them. I need to hear that I am strong and good, that I have hero qualities.
That I am a man of God and even that I am handsome!
When I hear these things, it builds me up, and puts a desire in me to live up to the things being said about me. It gives me confidence to live my best life, and to be the best man I can be.
Growing up I was lucky, I had a mom who chose at every turn to remind of my positive attributes. I say I was lucky because, to be honest, I had plenty of less than flattering qualities, whether it be my constant mouthiness, or my inability to focus on anything longer than 30 seconds, or my consistent need to be the center of attention.
But instead of focusing on those she decided to instead remind me I was “strong,” and “a brave man of God,” and, my personal favorite, a “Superman”.
To this day, I still hear those words of life ringing in my heart encouraging me to be the best man I can be.
When I was about three years old, my family and I were doing a reenactment of David and Goliath for Bible learning time. I had nabbed the coveted role of David and was dressed in my best Israelite garb or plastic armor. Armed with a shoe string sling, and imaginary stone, I was ready to take on the giants played by my dad.
As my big scene approached, Goliath (my dad) thunders up to me and says:
“David! I have come here to fight you! Are you a coward?”
And with all the might I could muster I replied in my high pitched warrior voice of a three year old:
“YES I AM!”
To this day this is a warm family story told at almost every get-together, but in that moment there were no giggles or laughs, there were no correcting adults interrupting to explain my incorrect understanding of the word “coward”.
Instead there was only support and a recognition of the man I was trying to be as I swung my string and killed the Giant.
You have the ability to look down and see all of your son’s mistakes, short comings and disappointments. You also have the ability to look up and see the positives and strengths that they hold.
One provides destruction and points out all they can’t and haven’t been. The other brings life and encourages them to chase and become the best man they can.
So I urge you, when looking at and talking to your boys, look up and bring words of life. It will make all the difference in showing them not what they aren't, but of what they can become.
Will you look down or up?