Commentary by Mike Colaw
I have a friend who at first glance most would deem a careless parent. He encourages his kids to ramp four-wheelers, bungee jump, hike dangerous trails and is proud when his kids go on mission trips to very dangerous parts of the world.
His adult children have broken bones, wrecked motorcycles and risked personal safety while standing toe to toe with global evils. I actually once confronted him about his apparent dangerous parenting. Over a cup of coffee, I discovered how amazing it is when you take the time to really listen to someone.
Before I jump into the content, I need to describe him a bit more. At this point you probably have an uneducated, mullet-haired, pick-up-truck-in-the-front-lawn hillbilly in mind. If that’s the case, you couldn’t be more wrong. He is a highly educated, wealthy engineer. Honestly, the man is truly brilliant. As I sat down over a cup of coffee with him to talk parenting, he smiled, leaned back in the chair and just listened.
After I brought up a few examples of his negligent parenting and my concern for his kids, he gently revealed his strategy. That’s right, strategy. He had a very specific plan.
As he leaned forward in his chair he began, “It’s not the body that matters most, though it is important — it’s the heart.” He continued, “I want kids who are courageous, willing to stand for those who can’t stand for themselves, who aren’t afraid of hard things and are even able to handle a little physical pain without emotionally falling apart.” As the conversation continued, I learned he greatly guards against things that damage the heart. Porn, drugs and all other vices — rebellion, quitting and dishonor — he quickly corrects. He sees the helicopter parent who values unscratched elbows and knees more than building courage and steadfastness as true dangerous parenting.
He finished his conversation with me and said something like this: “I want my children to live life well, to the full, more than I want them to live long. Don’t hear me wrong, long is good, but full is better.” In his mind, rearing a selfless heart like Christ who has the capacity to be a courageous, honorable firefighter or missionary who works with HIV patients in a war-torn nation is worth risking a few skinned knees.