“Why do we have to be like this? We’re old fashioned,” Grant said. I could tell by the color of his face and the set of his jaw that old fashioned wasn’t a good thing.
“Boundaries are not old fashioned,” I said.
“I just want to do what everyone else is doing,” he said. “To go where everyone else is going.”
“And I just want to parent you in the best way I know how.”
Grant left my room. Angry. Again.
Old fashioned? Maybe in some ways. My bicycle has a basket and fenders. I grind my coffee in a hand-crank grinder. And if I could find a retro rubber swim cap, with the big, floppy flowers, I’d wear it (sorry, sons, I would). But I don’t agree that not giving our sons everything they want, not allowing them to do whatever they believe everyone else is doing, is old fashioned. I call it holding a standard.
Lonny and I are big supporters of the child rearing class Growing Kids God’s Way. In fact, we’ve taken the basic course a couple of times. I think that we should camp there. We need the help. One of the basic principles, one that fell solid on our hearts, is the idea of bringing the child to the standard. Not the standard to the child. We’ve set family standards that we expect all the boys to meet.
I hurt for Grant. I know that it’s hard to fit in. I know that some of the boundaries that Lonny and I have chosen probably make it even harder. But we have to hold firm on some things. Grant may feel caged. He may feel different. I hope that one day, he can look back and feel how much he was loved.
So for now, I’ll have compassion for a boy trying his best to fit in. We’ll give where we can and give him opportunity to make some of his own choices. We’ll pray for wisdom as we learn to pick and choose our battles. We’ll open our hearts to the Lord’s lead and humbly acknowledge that, at times, we’ll mess up.
But I’m also not going to be afraid to put down a boundary. To set a standard.
Old fashioned? I still don’t think so.
But if it is, that’s okay with me.