Wyatt, our oldest son, turned 7 today – and he’s lived every bit of his 7 years, then some. Recently at All Souls, we passed out those little 12 inch wooden manikins, the ones that have joints and can be manipulated any number of ways. The project was simple, for each of us to paint or construct or do whatever with our manikin to represent our sense of what God is doing in us, redeeming in us, calling out of us. This was to be a reflection of our hope, which is to say – this was another way of praying.
As Wyatt worked on his, two of the words he said his manikin represented were “brave” and “strong-hearted.” Well, people, let me tell you – there we have a prayer where the answer is already in the works. I see it in him. I live it with him. He’s on his way.
One of my favorite stories with Wyatt this past year was from his first semester in first grade. Apparently the discipline system works like this: each student has a paper balloon beside their name; and each time they get in trouble, they have to move their balloon. With each balloon move, the consequences escalate. Much too far into the year, Wyatt informed me that he had yet to move his balloon, not once. That would never do. As one (me) who has often been far too concerned with making mistakes, I hope for Wyatt to be more free with chaos, more okay with not meeting up to every expectation laid upon him. So, I made a deal with Wyatt.
Wyatt, I’ll pay you a dollar the first time you have to move your balloon.
It didn’t take but a day or two – and Wyatt came home with the news that, sure enough, he’d been reprimanded at school and (shudder) had to move his balloon – and that I needed to hand over a green one.
I did, gladly.
Happy birthday, son. Let’s be brave together.