Yesterday was grandson Zak’s birthday. There were presents, cakes, balloons, a special meal and tuneless singing of ‘Happy Birthday’. It was his 18th: he’s now officially ‘a man’.
… Musing on what that might mean:
Legally he can do things he couldn’t do before – he can have tattoos or body piercings, get married without his parent’s permission, vote and become an MP, buy cigarettes or alcohol…
In previous generations he could already be working in the fields, down a mine, or here in Lowestoft on a fishing trawler. He could be fighting for his country…
But he’s studying. A-levels and university point to a different future.
Church teaching… The Boys’ Brigade tradition in our church speaks of ‘…habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness.’ What does that mean!?
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day; Paul’s words about love conclude: ‘When I was a child, I thought like a child, I talked like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me.’ They need clarification…
My hopes and prayers for Zak?
Grow Up: That he’ll grow up physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. That he’ll be wise and mature through the uncertainties of his unpredictable life. That he’ll cope with and make the best of his successes and disappointments.
Show Up: That he’ll be proud to be himself. I like Oscar Wilde’s words: ‘Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.’ That he’ll be strong and positive – taking responsibility – in his work, with family and friends, in his beliefs and convictions.
Shut Up: That he’ll be humble, learning to listen to the right voices and making good choices. That he’ll be wise in knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. That he’ll develop compassion. That the person he is will speak louder than his words.
That he’ll become a man.