The Rules of the Game

Sunshine hot on rosy cheeks.

Giggles and laughter.

Little kids following big kids.  Up the hill.  Down the hill.  Between the bushes.

Amongst them stands my son.  He seemed so awfully big this morning when he climbed into bed and plopped himself onto my back for a morning snuggle.  Now he looks so small next to all the big kids.  I see just a faint hint of baby chub in his cheeks still.  His pants are barely hanging on to his tush.

The kids begin to shout out names.  They have invented a game.  One after another, they are naming the people they like, declaring who likes who better.  Some decide to declare who they do not like as well.

My son, not to be left out, shouts out enthusiastically,

“I like poo poo!”

I don’t know what thought process led him to the conclusion that he likes poo poo.  Maybe he recalled his successful week of clean undies.  Maybe he really is fascinated by the substance of poo.  More likely than not, he just wanted to say poo poo.  Because poo poo is such a funny word.  Especially when it doesn’t fit in with the game.

That’s what I love about him.  He just blurts things out, whether or not it’s even relevant.  He loves to share what he thinks.  There is no fear yet about what people think about him.  He is who he is.  If he likes poo poo, so be it.  Declare it to the world.

That’s what I love about this stage of childhood.  A kid can say something so completely weird and it’s okay.  Say something like that several years down the road and it’s social martyrdom.

I forget sometimes that my children are growing up.  Along the way, I’ve become convinced my kisses truly do heal a boo-boo.

If only it were that easy.

I wish I could hold on to my son’s innocence and sincerity while time continues to march onward.  I wish his heart could remain oblivious to the quick judgements of a society that thrives on perception and image.  I wish I could protect his tender heart from hurt, rejection, and insecurity.

That is impossible.  I know it.

It isn’t my job to shield him from the heartaches of life and growing up.  But I can be his number one fan.  I can assure him that I believe in him.   That I adore who God has made him to be.

It has to start there.

From there we’ll go on to learning some rules of the game.  Like the fact that most people don’t want to know if you like poo poo.

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