Ryan listened amusingly at his son arguing with his little cousin.
“My dad is smarter than your dad”, Ryan Jr. proudly proclaimed.
“Unt-uh”, his cousin rejected. “My dad is smarter than your dad!”
“Nuh-uh, my dad is smarterest”
“No, my dad is. My dad is the smartest dad in the whole world!”
“Well my dad is the smartest dad in the universe!”
Ryan laughed quietly to himself pretending not to be aware of the heated debate. The funny thing about the arguments of young children is that when they hit the repetition phase, they seemed to forget what the argument was about and the only remaining area of importance is to get the last word in. Many of these arguments end with a declaration that they will never be friends again. Unlike adults, the bitterness of children seldom lasts an hour. The absence of established pride allows the anger to pass when the next object of interest captures their attention. The focus of children is not on ego, but a mutual interest, and there are many objects of interest before them.
His son was only five, but adolescence is an eye blink away. His older son once placed pride in his father too, but how quickly those days passed. Now his adolescent son seeks to build up his own sense of self-worth and sees little value in proclaiming the praise of his father. Perhaps this is why the Bible tells us that our only boasting should be in the Lord. When our God is the object of our pride, egos remain small; however, when pride is based on ourselves, the bitterness of disputes cling to our hearts as grown-ups try to protect selfish egos. Wounds to pride linger long after the object of dispute has been forgotten.
The pride of adolescence is a blinder that does not fade, unless wisdom removes it later in life. When Ryan was a child, he proclaimed the wonders of his father. As he approached the teenage years, his father seemed to become foolish. “Dad just doesn’t get it”, Ryan remembered saying, and fatherly advice met deaf ears that were too dull to listen. “When I was eighteen, I had all the answers, but now I don’t even know what I don’t know”, he mused to himself.
When Ryan was a child, his dad was the wisest man he knew, but when he was eighteen, his dad was out of touch with the real world. As the age of thirty crept along the horizon, Ryan began to notice signs of wisdom returning to the words of his dad.
“It is too bad that I could not see my father’s wisdom during the time of my life when I could have used it the most”, Ryan thought to himself. “Professing to be wise, I became a fool.”
It is funny how a fool thinks that wisdom is foolish during the time when his abilities exceed his own wisdom. A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man seeks wisdom that he may not be a fool. Ryan realized that this is the time to instill righteousness in the heart of his child. Children have to be trained while they have ears to hear for the time will come when they may not be teachable. What they understand now is perhaps the foundation they will return to when they emerge from the darkness of adolescence.
Someone once compared adolescence to a space shuttle on reentry. During the time when it passes from outer space to earth, it goes through a violent time of uncertainty. Space rocks become burning asteroids that disintegrate upon entry, and spacecrafts will become asteroids if not prepared and protected from the friction of the outer atmosphere. During the most violent time of reentry, all communications are temporarily lost. All that can be done is to pray and hope for their safety. When the spacecrafts begin their entry into the atmosphere, Houston sends out calls repeatedly without answer, but when the astronauts finally answer, the entire mission is a success.
Ryan thought on this analogy and thought about his own life. His father had no power to touch his heart during the tumultuous time when he transitioned from childhood into adulthood. This blackout is almost inevitable and the greatest hope is the preparations beforehand. His role was now to make certain his son would be prepared when he began his entry into manhood.
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