Lately, Landon has been on a little tear with our electric pencil sharpener. That thing buzzes all day. Sometimes, he’ll be writing 4 sentences for homework and “needs” to sharpen in the middle.
While I was listening to the whir of the machine, God put a metaphor on my heart around the sharpening of the pencils and how that directly correlates with how I parent my kids. There is a fine line between how my parenting builds up (sharpens) or squashes (dulls) my kids.
My role as their parent is to be a sharpener. To watch and guide them from the outside as they make decisions and choices that shape who they are. I don’t need to get involved in every decision, but I need to stay on the outskirts, helping them define their value systems, learning about consequences and giving them some freedoms to become the men God is creating them to be. My role isn’t to constantly hover above and make all of their decisions, dulling the “point” they’ve started to create on their own, by pushing all the choices that I want for them.
When I push them to act like me, think like me and talk like me, I’m rubbing the point of the pencil, turning the tip into a dull nub. Instead, I need to let them know what being a Dean means, while letting Landon be Landon and Brooks be Brooks.
I think this same concept also applies to how I talk to my kids – am I building them up, sharpening them into confident men who know who they are and whose they are? Or am I creating a dullness in how I speak to them – creating fears, anger and insecurities? My tongue can instill confidence or anxiety, pride or exasperation.
I don’t want to raise boys who are clones of their mom and dad, or boys with no self-confidence and self-worth. I want to raise sharpened pencils.