Right now, I have been given a great opportunity to build memories and connections with my kids as a stay at home dad. Yeah, I’m writing a book, speaking occasionally for different groups, and blogging, but I am still able to spend quality time with my son and daughter that most do not get the chance to do.
One of the normal events in the morning is play time. We will eat breakfast, read a book, work on letters or numbers, and once that is over it is play time!
Now, playtime fluctuates between hide-and-seek, tag, pirates, ninja turtles, or a good old fashioned sword fight. I have taught my son the phrase, “Never give up your sword!” because he doesn’t want me to use his weapon against him. He has learned why plenty of times when I come at him with two foam swords swinging wildly in his general direction. Many times my daughter will grab a sword and swing away with delight not hitting anything.
Another activity we do, is music and dance time. During this time, listen to a variety of music and do different dances. Sometimes I play Sinatra, but other times I will play Lecrae. I love the slow dance time the most with both my son and daughter. It’s a great time of connection and they love spinning and dipping during the songs.
It is great that we can go from sword fighting one minute to slow dancing the next. This is the joy I find in parenting. My kids have fun with me doing whatever it is we are doing.
The thing is, I am teaching some valuable lessons in those moments as well. I want my son to know both sides of manhood. Sword fights are natural for boys to do. There is something in us to be wild and active. However, I want him to know that men can be calm and enjoy the softer side of life. It is not wrong for a boy to enjoy slow dances and he should know that he needs to be well-rounded in his life.
I want him to be sensitive, but strong. I want him to be willing to see beyond the stereotypes of manhood and see he can find joy in The Notebook and Rambo.
I want my daughter to know the same thing. I want my daughter to be strong and sensitive like her mother. Her mom is by far one of the strongest women I know. She can stand up for herself when necessary and comfort the hurting when she is needed.
I have seen people look at women who are strong with judgment. It is almost like they are supposed to always be soft spoken and gentle. They look at the strong women as if they are out of place in society.
My daughter will not be placed in a box. She will know a sword is just as welcome in her hands as a purse. The sword obviously is a metaphor because I don’t want my daughter wielding a sword in public. She is to be bold and courageous.
Courage is not just a male thing. I want her to know she can stand up for the weak. She can stand up for herself. I want her to know a boy on her arm doesn’t make her strong, but a willingness to be herself and the strength to be an individual will move her in life.
Her sword will be her mind, heart, hands, and mouth. My hope is, she will think for herself, love the way God loves, serve the way we are called to serve, and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I also hope she will know when to comfort, when to nurture, and when to care for those around her. I do not want her to be so hard that she can’t step outside of herself to be there for another person in need.
My son will honor these virtues of a woman as well. My hope is he will be strong and have the same swords as his sister, but I will encourage him to empower the women around him to be the same. I hope he sees me and knows what it means to be strong, yet empowering to others, especially women.
I hope my kids follow my example. I want them to see me with my swords, but they can recognize my slow dancing. I want them to see me being courageous and bold, but soft spoken and loving.
I want them to see their mother as I see her. Bold and beautiful. Focused and tenacious. Sincere and passionate. A true woman, who doesn’t need me to make her who she is because she knows Who she is made by.
May our kids see the value of sword fighting and slow dancing. May they be influenced by and live in balance with both. May you find your personal strength and sensitivity in order to influence the world around you.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: How can we better at empowering our young men and women for the present and future?