There’s a fabulous website that I love, Raising Real Men by the Youngs. It’s so good for me to read their blog posts, newsletters, and read their responses to the questions I have about my young, up and coming men. Someday, I hope I can hear them speak locally, too. I’ve learned a lot from just the little I can glean. They don’t know how much they’ve encouraged me, but they really have.
By now you’re wondering what the title of this post has to do with the first paragraph. Well, that’s related to fishing gear up there. One of my sons loves fishing, and we probably don’t get him out quite enough to do it. (Note to self: schedule a fishing day for Habanero soon.) Anyway, fishing line is tested and rated to the weight it can bear. We’ve only purchased 8- and 10-pound test line, since we mainly have pan fish in this area. It can handle (You guessed it!) an eight- or ten-pound fish on the end of the line without breaking. This is more than enough for the little catch and release fish in our ponds and small lakes.
So, the analogy here is that my teen boy is often a bit like 14-pounds on that 10-lb test line. If you’ve ever been reeling in a catch that seems a little bigger than you’re used to…a little feistier than you’ve seen before…and you’re just not sure if the line will hold, that can be a lot like parenting a teen at times. There are days when I wonder if that line is just going to go–PING! We’re familiar with the empty hook at the end of a few minutes of reeling. We haven’t had a line snap, but we’ve watched the disappointment on an angler’s face who lost something when his 20-lb test line snapped.
Some parents will know what I mean. I say this in absolute love for my boys! They are getting a little bigger than I’m used to…a little feistier than I’ve seen before…and I’m eyeballin’ that line pretty intently. Will it hold?
The “line” in this case is the foundation we’ve laid. All their lives we have invested in our boys: time, attention, instruction, and love. We didn’t get it all right. In fact, whatever we didn’t get right is obvious enough to me that they are the flaws in the “10-lb test” I’m a little nervous about.
All I know about 14-pounds on a 10-pound line is this: the 10-pound rating isn’t all there is to it. With time, patience, wisdom, and a little cooperation from the fish–that fish can be brought in on the line. What I know about sons so far is this: they get bigger than you’re used to and feistier than you’ve seen before. I’m thankful that where the analogy breaks down is in the 10-pound line. The foundation laid with sons isn’t tested and rated to its fail rate. The foundation built for our sons is the cross of Christ and the Gospel. That is God’s unfailing love and grace and strength and help and wisdom and truth. There’s no breaking point to any of that. (Thank you, God!) I love that part!
So as I’m thinking about the one who is more often than not a bit like the 14-pound, feisty fish, I’m going to count on the “line” he’s on, knowing he will test it (maybe to his limits), but it will not fail him…or his parents!
I hope this is a blessing to somebody else. It’s what I’m counting on–my boys’ Abba!