Sometimes it seems like Bronson is an animal from the strain of tazmanian devil.
He careens through life leaving chaos and crumbs in his wake. All toy bins must be fully emptied before a three minute stint of play can commence. Screeches and tantrums punctuate all occasions, and I hesitate before ever letting him run wild in public. Breakable items beware.
He’s a toddler.
But I’m not raising a puppy or a piglet or a poult. I’m raising a boy with a body, soul and spirit. He’s more than an animal.
This is what terrifies me most as parent – I’m not just responsible for keeping him alive. I’m not only concerned with him eating and sleeping and evading predators. I’m shaping a soul. I’m sustaining a spirit.
He’s only eighteen months, but he shows snippets of soul and spirit.
He’s learning empathy. If he thinks his dad or I are being hurt by rough housing or tickling, he screeches and cries, concerned for our well being. Recently, he’s viewed a video that left him deeply concerned and contemplative. It’s a music video about how we let commercialism define us. The boy’s shoes are stolen. Bronson, being a lover of shoes, is deeply troubled by this. He holds my hand, his eyes grow round with fear, his lips strait line in concentration. I’ve decided the powerful video may be too much for his little heart. I had no idea he could feel so much, so young.
Ryan and I pray with him, for him, and for his friends and family. We hold his hands and pray that he’ll sleep in. Bronson giggles. I read him short Bible stories, and he listens. We try to teach him to share, to be responsible, to be thankful, to be slow to anger, to be kind, generous and loving.
It’s a great deal of work.
But it’s our work as parents. It’s our work as humans.
He is, after all, far more than an animal.