Raising Up Boys: A Living Metaphor

Like the scene in Jaws, I enthralled my triplet 4 year old sons with three true scar stories. As their eyes widened, I realized my life lived out three principles we are trying to instill in these boys.

1) Don’t jump on your bed
2) Don’t throw sticks
3) Make sure there is also an escape route

When I was six years old, my parents had a large brass bed whose footboard held a sharply angled corner. As I joyfully jumped, my footing slipped and I smashed my head on the corner gushing blood all over the bed. Thereby receving a U-shaped scar across my scalp. While telling those story my daughter began to sing “five little monkeys jumping on a bed.” (Sadly in college I convinced my hallmates that it was a metalplate scar…not sure what that says about them or about me).

When I was seven years old, my cousin and I played hide-n-go-seek. As I had my eyes closed counting, he proceeded to pick up a rotten stick rather than hide. While hollering “here I come,” he reared back and launched a GregMaddux-esque splitter that hit me in the eye. Amazingly, the splinters stayed within .1 millimeter of me loosing my eye sight. To this story, my daughter exlaimed, “Don’t run with sticks or your will put someone’s eye out.”

While the image of blood splattered across a mattress, and an eyeball littered with splinters held the boys attention. It was as I prepared to tell my final story that I realized how screwed we are, and better have urgent care on speed dial as they begin to explore boyhood.

When I was eight years old, we lived in a house with a steep driveway. One of my favorite activities was to take my bigwheel to the street and race down the driveway into the grass beside the garage. One afternoon, I started down the hill. As the wheels sped up, I pointed the bigwheel towards the grass, and noticed that my parents friend had parked in my path. Quickly, I scanned my options, and thought about turning sharp to the left. But before I could make up my mind, I catapulted over the bigwheel’s handlebars and directly into the garage door. Busting my nose, blood poured out over the driveway, and I sat mangled over the plastic ride. My mother who was in the house said that I hit the garage so hard that the glasses in the kitchen rattled. To this day, I have to adjust my glasses because of the (un)natural twist in my nose.

By this point, my kids’ looked dumbfounded at their father…and I decided it best to stop and not tell them how I got sent home from the first day of kindergarden for breaking a kid’s arm.

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