As I was picking Joey up from Sunday School his teacher smiled and remarked, “You know, he shows us his muscles every week!”
I laughed, not surprised and responded, “Oh yes. Muscles are a big deal in our house!”
Two minutes later when walking away I replayed my sentence in my head and heard how it sounded. “WAIT!” I wanted to call back to her, “So is being kind!! So is sharing!!! Those are equally big deals!” But I realized that would make me the crazy yelling parent. So I held my tongue.
Actually, muscles are a big deal to my small boys in my house. Holding out their little arms they constantly show us how big and strong they are getting. I swear Guy still thinks ‘muscle’ means elbow as he points his elbows in our direction trying to be like his brother.
“Yes.” I say as they grunt and hold up their arms “You are getting big and strong. So big and strong.”
Their body is the only part of their being that they can see growing, as we tell them to eat good food and measure their height against the wall with little black marks. They watch their clothes fitting, then not, then being passed along. Their shoes grow tight and they wish to grow to be big like daddy. Their bodies are getting bigger, and they are getting bigger muscles.
They don’t see what is also growing. Their tiny little patiences, their innocent compassion, their self control, their bravery. A step back, then forward. And one day I hope they may recognize their strength of character to be of much greater importance. But not today. Today they are 2 and 3. And little squeaky muscles are a very big deal.