Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Can Fast Forward Childhood, but You Can't Rewind It

This post is from a blog called STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE that I really like :) I could really relate to this particular post. Right now I want to lock Liam in the basement right around the time he starts caring what other kids think of him. Don't call Family and Children's Services just yet. Jon is trying to loosen me up.

Enjoy...

#629. Raising Dorks
I don't have any hard data on this, but I think that of all the major world religions, Christianity has the highest dork per capita ratio. Did I say that right? Is there a different metric we're using to measure number of dorks that I should have referenced instead? Are we still rolling with the per capita ratio? It's so hard to find good research on this topic.

But think about it, no one ever says, "You know who is cheesy? Muslims." Rarely will you hear someone proclaim, "The Hindus are all uptight." And when Buddhists are stereotyped they're labeled as being "relaxed and peaceful." Christianity though has a lockdown on dork status and you know what?

I love it.

I used to hate it. From the time I was in the seventh grade right up until I became 33 I railed against it. I did everything I could to prove to the world that I was not some cheesy Christian. I distanced myself from Christian culture as fast as I possibly could because it all felt so overwhelmingly dorky. But then something weird happened, something unexpected ... my five year old tried to get into pop culture.

I've got nothing against the particular pop star my daughter suddenly became fascinated with but the transition from “I love the Wiggles” to “the Wiggles are for babies” was ridiculously fast. (In her defense, that Captain Feathersword who the Wiggles run with, scares me to death.) Up until that point I really hoped my daughter would grow up to be a cool kid. I wanted her to be part of the popular crowd at school and be considered hip. But when she started sweating pop stars and other little girls in our area started getting into teenage television shows, I had to pause.

Those things weren't created for a 5 year old. The entertainment she wanted to watch was not written for a girl two years out of diapers. It's got boyfriends and girlfriends and topics that are way out of her understanding as a little kid. And she might love it. She might sing all the songs and have a blast doing it and fit right in with all her friends. But if I encourage her to do that, if I push her toward that, I fast forward her through childhood. I speed her up from a 5 year to a 10 year old. And although I make about 47 dad mistakes a day, I have learned one secret about childhood:

You can fast forward childhood, but you can’t rewind it.

I wish I could but I can't. Childhood only goes one direction and I want her to stay a little kid for as long as she can. There will be plenty of time later for her to think boys are cute and interesting. (Right now I’m pushing for “smelly and cootie laden.”)

Until then though, she's not going to be hip. I'm going to raise a dork. Which is different from naïve, don't misunderstand, she's going to be like Matthew 10:16, shrewd as a snake and innocent as a dove. And if you're making different decisions with your kids, please don't hear this as an attack. I'm new to being a dad, am by no means a pro, don't have all the answers and am really only writing about the two kids with my last name. Who will be dorks.

I hope I don't help create one of these sheltered Christian girls that just goes insane when they get to college, but I promise you that I'm going to do everything I can to keep my kids young, out of the loop as far as the world goes and maybe even dorky. And when my oldest daughter yells at me when she's 13 because she can't go to a party with a bunch of boys, who I know are going to try to kiss her, I'll show her this post. And she's going to yell some more, but at least I'll kind of look like I predicted the future, which is fun.

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