Bronson’s life is filled with safety harnesses. For good reason. He’s strapped into his car seat. He’s buckled into place in his stroller. He’s belted in for dinner. The carts at the grocery store have a seat belt. Some swings have one as well. His butt is often securely united with his seat.
At first, this protected him from other things. The harnesses and lap belts kept him secure, kept him from falling through a crack or flopping into things while we zoomed around corners. But now, the harnesses and belts are in place to protect him from himself.
Last night we strolled along the river. Bronson’s veins were surging with the lifeblood of ice cream. We had him unstrapped, freed to move around. But it wasn’t long until our little monkey attempted to twist his torso a full 180 degrees while trading his feet for his butt in the seat. The solution: strap him back in.
He needs boundaries, restrictions. He needs protection. And oddly enough as a one year old, he doesn’t have the wisdom to set boundaries for himself.
That’s up to us, his parents.
It’s part of our role – confine him, restrict him. And thus, love him, protect him. We keep him safe. We harness his curiosity and energy, teaching him each step of the way how to use these gifts for good.
For the moment, this means keeping him alive each day, and when all else fails – harness him to a seat.
Later it will be different. More and more freedom, less and less restriction. More learning by doing, more grace after the fact. But all the while, our restrictions for him are and will be born out of love, out of wanting him to experience the best life has to offer.
The limits – the restrictions, the rules – God places on us are the same – born out of love, necessary because of our lack of wisdom, a means for us to experience the best possible life.
At least he doesn’t strap us to every seat we sit in.