Daughter #1 (G): Daddy, why did that man say Grenade?
Me: Huh? What?
G: In the song Daddy. Listen. He says Grenade.
Me: Okay... let me turn it up...
I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Throw my hand on a blade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’d jump in front of a train for ya (yeah, yeah , yeah)
You know I'd do anything for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah) Oh, oh
I would go through all this pain, Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for ya baby ; But you won't do the same
(Bruno Mars - http://www.directlyrics.com/bruno-mars-grenade-lyrics.html)
Me: Hmmmm... um, I really don't know baby. It doesn't make much sense does it.
That song got me thinking (a dangerous thing, I know)... how many times in moves or music do we see or hear, these overly romanticized acts of self sacrifice to show our love to someone? And then, in how many of these movies do the people change their minds 1/2 way though and want out of the relationship...
Me: ... well G, its a love song, kind of. The boy in the song is trying to say how much he loves the girl, in that he would catch a grenade for her... to save her...
Son #1 (K): I like grenades! (can you tell he is 12?) I'd catch a grenade!
G: Oh. It still doesn't make any sense.
Me: Yea, I know. I mean, if you are so close to the girl, catching the grenade isn't gonna help. Same thing with the train... If I jump in front of a train, I'm not going to stop the train. The train would just run me over, and then run the girl over. Now, I could PUSH the girl out of the trains path... that would be helpful. And a bullet through the brain?! Really? Nope, thats just foolish. Again, if I know someone is trying to shoot my girl, maybe I should get her the heck out of there. I mean, after I'm shot in the head, I haven't removed the girl from danger... the shooter is still out there...
G: Daddy, you're not making any sense.
Me: Maybe not... but neither is the song.
K: Can I have a grenade?!
K: But I LIKE grenades! (seriously, 12 year olds... ungh...)
She might be little, but shes still not buying what I'm selling...
Love is hard. I mean, it is hard work. Not for my wife though. I'm sure its easy to love me. I'm rough and rugged, and funny and all that... I must be easy to love! But for others, I am sure it is hard work.
I think we often fall into this trap thinking that our children want huge shows of affection, that they want us to break down walls, or jump in front of trains, or even catch grenades for them. But really, what I think they want, is steadfast love.
What is the point of showering our children with lots and lots of affection like toys, gifts and everything they ask for, if we get all angry with them every time they don't behave the way we think they should?
Extravagant shows of affection are easy! Thats why us men will come home with flowers and chocolate when we do something stupid - because it is easier to buy a box of chocolates than to try to string together a thoughtful sentence like "I'm sorry, I'm an idiot for doing _____________." There is a while diamond industry built around extravagant shows of affection... but last time I checked, no amount of diamonds can save a marriage*.
True love is lived out daily, and in the small ways and the small things. Its giving our children the consistent love, patience, genteelness and acceptance that they need.
Reeeeeally not buying it...
This is especially true when Adopting an Older child. They have history. They know love... their knowledge of Love may be skewed and incorrect - but to them it is love. They may not trust love. They may have years of "stuff" they are dealing with. We have to understand how our children process "love".
I like asking fathers some simple questions... questions like...
- where do you want to be in your career 5 years from now?
- what type of car do you want to be driving in 10 years from now?
- where do you want to live when you retire?
What kills me, is that the fathers will have answers for these types of questions. They will say "I want to be into upper management", or "I want to be driving a BMW 350i(?)"...
But ask them questions like...
- what do you want your marriage to look like in 5 years?
- what are you going to do in the next 6 months to be a better father?
- what is the love language of your child?
And all you get are blank stares... Do we honestly believe that we don't need to plan to be better fathers? husbands? How are we going to handle the hard times if we don't have a plan? Do we expect to be able to ride in on a White Horse and save the day like in so many cheesy Hollywood movies? To bring it back to the overly romanticized songs... do we expect to be able to fix all the pain, and past experiences of our children with 1 big act of selfless love - especially one which doesn't address the real love issue (ie: catching that grenade didn't save the girl, you're still standing there beside her, but now with a grenade in your hand)?
No. Not in 1 act. 1 act can start the healing process... or 1 act can begin the love relationship...
This was the 1st step, there are many more to come...
I think often we try to show our adopted children that we love them with the big things...
...when really, what they need are our hearts. Everyday.
* = But apparently there is no harm in trying.