Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two Big Nights with My Big Boy

(This was written last Wednesday night, August 4th...I'm just not taking the time to go through and edit the 'last nights' and 'yesterdays'.)

Grady's name means 'Noble Knight.' He really does already embody that. He is good in every sense of the word. He loves to do what is right. He doesn't make rash decisions and doesn't like it when others do either. He's a thinker. He is very knightly in that he is brave, but also very cautious and wise. Truly...all at the age of 6.

From an early age I could tell that he had a bend toward logic. It's something that we will definitely watch the Christian life, logic can definitely be your biggest enemy. God has us do lots of things that aren't 'logical' in our own minds. So, we don't take it lightly, but also think it's a great trait if steered in the right direction and balanced with the other things.

I love how he loves to learn about things. We watched Spencer's Mountain the other night...such a great movie (except for that hoochie girl...ugh). When Clay Boy is graduating, his teacher says about him, "Every once in a while, a young student comes along with a hungry look in the eye who's not content just to memorize facts, who wants to know, who has an inquiring mind. And everything he learns only whets his appetite to learn more." Grady reminds me of Clay Boy alot...and that statement sounds like Grady. He watches and thinks and ponders.

I love to watch Grady. He's brainy vs. emotional. He calculates. He wonders. Case in point for the logical thing: On a 'regular' schedule, when we are at home, one of the things I do with them during the day is have a time of worship. The girls love it...they dance and sing and praise and worship. For Grady, it is pretty much like pulling teeth. Of course, I don't pull his teeth. I don't force him to do anything (he must be there and be still and quiet, but doesn't have to participate). That will come in time, with his love for Jesus. But, he's just not like the girls who go after something, modeling it. No, he watches, he wonders, he questions...and then he decides if he's ready and wants to do something.

After we have a time of worship, we dive into the Word. The girls model it, but Grady...he comes ALIVE. I go through the Proverbs with them...I just explain a few verses on their level each day. Grady eats the Proverbs like good ole chicken soup. He'll ask, "Is it time for Proverbs?" It's just his thing. That's his natural bend.


Every night we say goodnight and kiss the kids and tell them we love them. Then we pray with them. Then I sing to them for a little bit while they are on their way to sleepyland. Since the kids have been in two rooms now for a while, of course I do it twice. Usually I go to Grady's room general, he stays awake longer anyway...the girls go quickly.

Last night when I got in there, he very calmly and matter-of-factly stated that he just wanted God and the devil to go away. Of course, I don't react to such things. Want a surefire way to ensure that your kids will never share anything with you and will never come to you with any questions? React in a negative way, or over-react to something they say. Freak out. Shut them down before they ever even get any more words out. Let them know, even if only by body language, that their questions make you uncomfortable. Just a few tips.

So, I just said, "Really? What do you mean?" It was a pretty long conversation, but what I really wanted to find out was what was making him feel that way. I wanted to get to the root. He basically said that he just didn't believe it all. That he used to think it was true, but that "it just sounds like a bunch of superheroes stuff" to him. Yes, that's a quote. He said that he didn't understand them and that he wanted them to go away so he just didn't have to worry about it. He wanted them to go away so it would just be people (translation: no supernatural stuff that he couldn't see or understand). He would be a missionary and do what God wanted, but then he wanted God to leave him alone and go away.

Wow. Yes, he's six. How many people 'struggle with their faith' when they are like in their 20s? 6? Wasn't really expecting this. Hahaha.

So, basically last night I tried to just think about the good in it. He's asking questions. He's really thinking. He's not just going along with something...a great, great trait to have. But, at the same time, it scared me a bit. It made me have a little sick feeling in my stomach. And it did two main things (good things): 1) pray for him like crazy, and 2) evaluate myself. Grady isn't the kind to just do something because you say it's the right thing to do. If you believe it, but aren't walking it out, Grady ain't gonna buy it. I mean, truthfully, to some extent we are all like that. But, some (like my girls) have more grace for that...'they believe it but just aren't able to walk that out fully just yet', etc. Or, they just don't pick up on it like others. But, Grady...nuh-uh...not that he's not gracious at all (he is very loving and forgiving), but he also sees through to the what the truth is. Remember...he watches. He takes it in. He ponders and decides if he wants to model what he sees. Am I modeling what I say I believe? Am I modeling what I want him to believe and walk out? So, yeah...some major self-evaluation was going on last night. And, praying. And, just a time of 'stepping it up a notch' with how purposeful we want to be with our children. Serious it surely is.

Anyway, so the conversation ended well last night, but with no real breakthroughs. Basically, I tried to give him the simplest of explanations for what he needs to know about God and the devil...he seemed a bit overwhelmed with his thoughts. I assured him that it was OK to not understand, and that with time, God would help him to understand more. No biggie. To which he just wanted Him to go away. :) (He had brought this up with Joel too...and Joel did the same thing. Bot of us had some great conversations.)

So...tonight I get done with the girls and walk over to Grady's room. I walk in and he says, "Mama, I just want to tell you something." He basically started telling me the same things he had the night before (again, he had already talked to Joel about it...ha; really on his mind and heart these days, don't you think?). That he didn't understand and that he wanted God and the devil to go away. He began to ask questions...lots and lots and lots of questions. Questions like "How do you know that God is real?" "What do we need God and the devil for?" "How do you know that the Bible is true?" How can you really get to know God?" "How did He make the world?" "What powers does He have?" "How do you know He's telling you something and it's not just somebody else or what you are thinking?" "What does it all mean?" (yes, that was one of his questions...can we say "Ecclesiastes?"...hahaha). And on and on and on. All those questions that that 20-something year old who is struggling with their faith asks. Hahaha.

It, honestly, was so great. I loved, loved, loved answering all his questions. Truthfully, I am praying that by asking all these questions now, they will be answered for him, now, and he won't ever go through the 'struggle of faith' that so many do. Why? Because it will be His...He will reach the decision. It won't just be something that he does because that's what he was told to do or that's what everyone around him was doing. Love, love, love that. Genuine belief. Genuine trust. It's a great thing to have it settled in your own mind when you are 6 instead of 16, don't you think? With his logical bend, maybe it's something that he'll have to reach a conclusion about again (and it just might take a while)...but, I pray that it will be settled for him at an early age, once and for all.

By the end of the conversation (that lasted at least an hour), he once again had a smile on his face about God. He said that he was going to think about this some more. :) I'm sure he will.

Hadley has such a strong, outward personality. But, Grady's quiet, inner strength is equally as powerful, just in a different way. So fun to watch them grow.

And...all of the God conversation about how He does things led to, yes, how he came about. He said, "How was I made? I mean, I know it was God, but how?" :)

Again, I do not back down from questions (if you think my explanation will be TMI for you, just click away now). I could easily ensure that he never asks me that again...but I want him to ask me things. I want to be the one that he comes to with anything, even that...especially that. :) So, I just quickly explained it to him that girls have eggs (I didn't say that it's just like a chicken, but I'm sure he thought of's really simple to relate us humans to animals when explaining such things) and that every month one of those eggs drops down into this thing called a uterus. He asked what a uterus was and I just told him it was one of my body parts at the bottom part of my belly. One of those eggs came down and that part of me and part of Daddy came together to make him. (This amazed me, but he interrupted me when I said the part about one egg coming down and said, "But sometimes 2 come down because sometimes 2 babies are in a belly at one time!")

G: But how does that part of Daddy get in you? Does he have to go in your body or something?
( logical)
M: Yes. (wondering if the 'yes' would be sufficient)
G: How? (hmm, guess the 'yes' wasn't enough...hahaha)
M: Well, we sleep in the same bed. And sometimes part of a man comes in part of a woman...and sometimes that makes a baby. (Said matter-of-factly of course; and then back to his love for Proverbs...) That's why it's so important to never sleep in the same bed with someone who isn't your husband or wife!
G: Because you don't want somebody else to crack your egg!!
M: ............Exactly. (and a little LOLOLOL)

Let's just say, it's been a very information-filled couple of nights.

Addendum: I've always wanted the whole birds and bees discussion to be very natural and part of our everyday lives...not a one-time talk or even a thing that we talk about only when they reach a certain age. I'm just that way in general anyway, so even without 'aids' it would be done that way in our house, in our relationships. But, a few years ago (Grady was a baby), I heard about some books that were great. So, I decided to check them out. If you want some amazing books to share with your children (of all ages...they have a book for each age group) to explain certain things on their level and in a Godly manner, you have to check out these books. Hadley brought the one for their age level to me today, in fact, to read to them. I have read it before, but not in a long time (since we were in the states and all). They loved it...and love hearing the story of how God brings two people together to love each other and have babies. It was really cute. Anyway, go check them out...they are just wonderful!!


O.M.G. said...

wow. wow. wow. wow. wow.
crisis of faith at 6 yrs old?
there is no way to overstate the amazingness that is Grady. i usually don't read every word of your longer posts but this one had my attention. every single word. so facinating. his faith is tested and i'm sure, so is yours. i'm sort of intimidated by this kid now. ;)

so glad you shared this. pretty powerful.

Joy said...

In a way I am so glad for you that he has these questions at 6, he still takes your word as final at that age. I remember struggling through stuff at 14 and not feeling like I could take my parents word as a final authority on the subject. He is going to be an amazing man.

Love how you handled the "were did I come from" question. Truth but not too much that could overwhelm. Thanks for sharing and just wait till he is reading the Bible on his own......I have never realized all the "difficult" or R rated sections there are before Timmy started reading it. He asks about all of them 8 / "Mom, what is a concubine and why did they chop her up?" "Mom, I figured out how people have babies, they lay in the same bed. Mom I am not going to sleep with Ruthy any more" (they liked to camp out every so often with each other) and on and on. We also read Proverbs with the kiddos and it gets very interesting with the questions they find to ask. So it really helps hearing what you are doing.

Connie said...

Oh, I have so much to say about this post! Partly b/c I have a 7 year old and this age..this girl...brought me to my knees in prayer for her. Not the same issues but that sick feeling you got...oh, dear. Been there.

But I have to pack so I've gotta be quick.

First of all, thanks for sharing. I wish I was a part of a discussion group for parents of elementary kids.

Last year I had what one might say a life crises. Nothing to do with my age but everything to do with what I believe. He is very young to be thinking about that for sure. But so great at the same time, like you said.

It was a very lonely scary time for me mainly b/c I had always been like you are describing your girls. I finally prayed. I prayed for God to give me peace. I prayed for God to GROW my love for him b/c it just wasn't there like it should be. To grow my faith even when my head tries to tell me..forget makes no sense. I gave Him all my questions that might make some seasoned Christians gasp and tell me I didn't have enough faith (so good of you to not gasp). I just said...sorry God. This is what's going through my head and I can't get past it. Sometimes I would get so angry with God and then the cycle would be set right back in motion.

I can tell you now that God worked in me. I didn't have to "do" anything but rely on Him. Just give it to him. Be honest. He totally rescued me and my terrifying "crises of belief". And I am stronger now than I've EVER been in my whole been to church every Sunday life!

So, the point of this is to encourage you. When that sweet boy finally comes to terms with some of those questions..God working in Him...parents praying fervently for Him...he is going to be far ahead of the game than us 20 and 30 year olds going through the very same thing.

He is fortunate to have the ability and courage and freedom (thanks mom and dad) to question and battle it out.

He will be so so strong in the Lord b/c of this.

O.k., now I'm late but thanks for sharing..really. It's scary parenting these complex people.

nuttbutts said...

i personally think its awsome to have the questions when he is so young and still trusting. if these questions were had when older it may not go as well. that is so cool. i would love to have those kind of discussions with my kiddos. however none of them at to that point yet! by the way...i think you are amazing!

jill said...

what a great adventure you've been having with grady. how fun for us to be able to guide our children into a love for God.

i just recently had the "where do babies come from" talk with dylan. he was pretty content with a simple answer and i thought to myself, i need to find a good book to help. :) so thank you soooo much for the book reference...saved me some time. :)

Michawn said...

thanks for the comments, girls.

connie, your made me cry. thanks for sharing. so sorry that you felt so alone in it all, but am so thankful that you were able to just be really honest and that He met you where you were and you recognized Him. i actually used the example of david with grady that night...telling him that there are so many things that we don't understand and it's ok for him to just be honest with God like david was. not only is it ok, He wants us to do that rather than just run away from Him. so, that led me to tell him what david had in his life that he just didn't understand at all...which, per grady's love for the Word, led us to reading through the whole story of saul and david bit by bit every night. :) but, anyway connie...thanks so much for sharing. so encouraging.

as were you other ladies. and joy...hahaha...oh my gosh. that cracks me up, the story about the concubine. the Bible is so brutal!! even in the saul/david story i kind of cringe during the parts about, for instance, God telling them to go kill them all, even women and babies. eeesh.

anyway, it's been fun. i'll keep you posted on future happenings. thanks for sharing your experiences. this raising kids thing sure is interesting, isn't it? ;)

HeavenlyBlue said...

I would love to hear your answers to Grady's questions (How do you know that God is real?" "What do we need God and the devil for?" "How do you know that the Bible is true?" How can you really get to know God?" "How did He make the world?" "What powers does He have?" "How do you know He's telling you something and it's not just somebody else or what you are thinking?" "What does it all mean?). I have a co-worker going through the same thing and would love to be able to share your thoughts with him.