Having raised six children, one boy, and five girls, I became adept at deep emotions and excessive drama.
It’s a whole new world with eleven of the fifteen grands being boys. Trains, earth moving equipment, anything that can be thrown, dinosaurs–I’ve learned much about the passions of the younger male gender. Their energy level surpasses mine at any given moment. Motion is preferred to sitting. Speaking loudly is chosen over whispers.
My son, surrounded by non-stop talkers, was a tender-hearted guy who loved his sisters well. It didn’t keep him from kicking balls at them or experimenting with pulling heads off dolls–he always tried to put them back.
I’m enjoying the spontaneity of young boys and their bravery and bravado. I’m not saying girls aren’t also like that, but my experience right now is the energy and uniqueness of boys.
They are all different.
Even being raised in the same family doesn’t make them little cookie-cutter replicas of one another. Up in Pennsylvania, Huck wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. He’s a talker and will have a conversation with anyone about anything. Landry is quieter and longs to be a farmer. He’s quick to help out with all the work at their small vineyard. Mack, the littlest, isn’t like either of them–he wants to be a police car. Sirens, lights, and all. He is a compassionate little soul with deep feelings. Little Beck in Colorado wants to be a dad–he’s two, and he loves everybody, waving to strangers with a huge grin every time they take a walk.
Living similar stories doesn’t make us the same. Being raised with the same set of values and perspectives doesn’t create automatic carbon copies.
I’ve always been fascinated with stories. With who we are and how we’ve come to be that way. The beauty of each life is that even in the same families, stories are as different as our personalities.
I have a fraternal twin sister, whom I love. We shared a tight space for nine months and a room for eighteen years. We have a younger sister who joined us three and a half years later. When our brother came along two years later, the complexity increased.
Same upbringing, same values, same basic opportunities. And we differ in almost every way possible.
Our conversations together are a riot. We run the gamut of attitudes and thoughts, disagreeing with humor and pushing each other’s buttons in love and compassion.
Nobody is superfluous. Everyone adds to the beauty of the big picture.
The wonder of it all is that we are each created by the same God. Out of love and compassion. To be people of purpose and hope.
What we miss is the ability to see the value in each other. To honor the story. Our narratives are diverse, often rough, frequently full of pain.
Each one is worth our attention.
Is it a wonder that Jesus taught people using stories? Parables took everyday occurrences and helped people understand deeper meanings of life and God.
What if we took the time to truly listen to each other’s stories? To ask questions that clarified what we can’t see or understand?
We may find appreciation for someone without judging their cover.