Thursday, February 09, 2006
A Boy's Life
Even as a teenager I laughed at those studies that said there was no difference between boys and girls. Now that I have a boy of my own , I just have to shake my head at some of the very boyish things he does. He certainly doesn't learn that behavior: it's just part of who he is.
We spent yesterday out at the coast. Peregrine's little face was beaming with joy as he explored tide pools, collected sticks, dug in the sand, and climbed his first tree. As I watched him I realized how little boys just seem to fit in the wild. There is something in them that is alive in the great outdoors. They have a God-given drive to conquer things, to climb trees and hills and mountains. They want to discover things and figure out how they fit into this earth. Peregrine has a new pair of rubber boots and he marched happily through all the little streams of water running out into the sea. He picked up as many sticks as he could hold, and then some. He wanted to hit his sticks on a rock, like Moses did, and watch water come out. He picked up rocks, the biggest ones he could lift, just so he could throw them into the little pools of water and watch them splash. He and his cousins found a great tree with low branches, perfect for them to climb. He looked so happy all day, his cheeks rosy from the cool sea breeze and his eyes shining.
I grew up on a farm. I remember my brother playing outside for hours. He and our dog would take long excursions out into the "wilds" of the Alberta Prairies. It was a good life for a boy. Our culture has come so far from that sort of life; most of us live in cities and are glad for a bit of a yard to call our own. Peregrine loves to go out and play in the yard and we are thankful to be just a few blocks from the river and miles of paths to walk and run on. But I still wonder how I can give him what I feel a boy needs, wild lands to explore and dominate. I think it's part of what God put in boys that makes them who they are: they need to subdue and dominate this earth. They need to have ownership of something, a piece of life that they have responsibility for.
My daughter is still a baby, but it will be interesting to watch as she grows, and to see the differences that God has put in them. I love that God has made us male and female. I pray for wisdom to raise each of them with the unique traits that they have, to nurture the things that God has put into them. Having never been a boy, I feel a bit clueless sometimes when it comes to Peregrine and his boyishness. But I'm trying to understand and to give him room to be the sort of boy that God designed him to be.