Pretty much at some point everyday, I have to tell my son, "No hitting" and "No throwing toys." Some people have told me, "Don't worry, it is a stage." Other people have told me, "It is just a boy thing, don't be so hard on him." While I know both of these things are said with the best intentions, I refuse to except either of them. While I expect to have to tell my son the same thing over and over at this stage in his life, I will not stop discouraging his harmful behavior on account of he is a "boy".
I love the fact that I am raising a little boy and that he is wild and loves to get dirty and would rather run than walk. I love that he wants to wrestle like a bear cub all of the time and that toys have no value in his mind unless they are a drum, a ball, or a car. However, I also love that he is learning to have compassion and show gentleness. I love that he pets ducklings with his little pointer finger and uses underwear to carry his doll on his back.
Even at 19 months my son understands that hitting is wrong. He would just sometimes prefer to use it as a way to express himself, because it is a quicker easier way of getting his point across. Using the few words he has at this age to express sadness and anger takes a lot of effort. However, communicating even for adults can be difficult, and takes effort.
Being a boy is not a reason to be aggressive. Perhaps if more boys were taught to be lovers rather than aggressors, then 1 in 4 women would not be victims of abuse during the course of their life. These statistics make me really angry, especially as some of these statistics have names and faces for me.
Even as I write this post, I know of two women in physically abusive relationships and a third woman who just left her abuser. All of these women's abusers are supposedly Christians. How can this be? As with divorce, domestic violence is not any less common in the church. This a very sad and unfortunate truth, but what is worse is that some church members and leaders excuse and even condone it by their silence or try re-label abuse by calling it an anger management issue or a hard time the couple is working through.
Can I just say out loud, "No Hitting!" Real love cannot exist in the presence of abuse any more than darkness can exist in the presence of light.
Philippians 4:5- Let your gentleness be evident to all. Note: This statement was not preceded by the word women. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit and is intended for both men and women.
The fruits of the Spirit should be evident in all believers. Galatians 5:22-23-But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I pray that the gentle correction/parenting of my toddler will help him maintain a tender heart into adulthood and yield a man that does not see gentleness and self control as traits only for women, but as characteristics of his Lord that should be mimicked.