One of the biggest perks of parenting are all the low-cost life lessons. Likenings abound with kids around; we compare our realities to deeper spiritual realities. Mohawks and BopIt!s are fresh from last week.
Gabe had a mohawk. Technically, it was a fauxhawk. But, hair today, gone tomorrow. Or last Saturday; Gabe’s lasted five days. (The ‘stache stuck around for an hour or two; a night’s VBS curio.)
Dress the part. Look professional, act professional. Wear pro-flare pants, play fab baseball. Sport a mohawk, play a fierce rebel. Hence, Gabriel had a mohawk.
Gabe was more aggressive, assertive and rebellious last week. I caught him a few times by the mirror: chin up-defiant, sly-grin gazing. He swaggered and sparred. Gabe doesn’t usually swagger. (He does often spar. But not with that zest and zeal.)
A recent post about dressing up included a lengthy Lewis quote. To identify as a child of God, he wrote, means you dress the part. Even to pray the Lord’s Prayer implies a certain style. And it’s way more than mohawks and mullets, fauxhawks and flattops. But I don’t think it’s less.
Its very first words are Our Father. Do you now see what those words mean? They mean, quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To but it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending…In a way, this dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek. But the odd thing is that He has ordered us to do it.
-C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 160
As God’s chosen people, holy and beloved, we’re told to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience (Colossians 3:12). That dress might feel funny. Clothing ourselves with Christ will be awkward and unnatural sometimes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I ought to feel awkward wearing frayed jeans to work. Or Nikes to a wedding.
The inverse is also true. What feels good and natural might be all wrong. Gabe thought the fauxhawk looked really good.
I love it mom; it’s so cool, he said. You cut it just right, he said.
The wardrobe thing is a perennial problem. Jude forewarned of scoffers who follow ungodly desires and mere natural instincts and do not have the spirit. (vv. 18-19) Natural and spiritual garments may clash.
I know. We look at mullets and mohawks, but the Lord looks at the heart. The clothes might not make the man.
But still dress the part.
Thou shalt buy off any shelf in the toy aisles, but from the Lego rack thou shalt not buy.
Grief’s stages were predictable: denial (It’s my gift card, I can spend it on whatever I want.), followed by anger (That is SO! SO! NOT! FAIR!!), then bargaining. Lots of bargaining. Big-time negotiation by both sons.
Can’t I just spend half on a little Legos kit? and
After this one we won’t need to buy any more Legos, I promise!
Desire re-ignited as we pushed our cart through housewares to toys. Oh, the sway of lustful eyes. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. (Jonah 2:8) We reached the Lego aisle; now within arm’s reach of Lego Star Wars and Chima, Lego Super Heroes and Angry Birds, and-agony of agonies- Lego Minecraft. Still I held the line. Even in Desperation’s words.
You are so mean. You are the meanest Mom. And then, the mother of juvenile manipulation: I wish I wasn’t your son.
Kinetic sand, Connect 4, and Angry Birds Mega Fling all took a backseat to Bop It! Tetris. It was an instant slide it, spin it, slam it MEGA HIT. Tetris on the 7 year-old brain, round the clock:
Can I take it to bed with me, please, Mom?
And on the way home from VBS he told my sister:
I am so sorry to interrupt, Aunt Danielle, but I just can’t stop thinking about my Bop It! Tetris. It is so fun! I used to not even know what it was, but it is awesome.
Gabe interjected at random times to say, and this one is verbatim:
Mom, I can’t tell you how much I love this game. I am just telling you because I just love it.
I am beginning to feel that we need a preliminary act of submission not only towards possible future afflictions but also towards possible future blessings. On every level of life-in our religious experience, in our gastronomic, erotic, aesthetic, and social experience- we are always harking back to some occasion which seemed to us to reach perfection, setting that up as a norm, and depreciating all other occasions by comparison. But these other occasions, I now suspect, are often full of their own new blessing, if only we would lay ourselves open to it. God shows us a new facet of the glory, and we refuse to look at it because we’re still looking for the old one.