Camden is certain we are stunting his growth.
His argument, he claims, is scientifically valid.
A person can only grow to fit his environment.
It’s been proven.
Camden sleeps on the kitchen table. Kind of. Remember, we live in an RV now. The two booths and the table fold down into a make-shift bed. The length of the “bed” fits Camden’s height perfectly. He is certain he will not grow in stature due to his sleeping confinement.
The night he announced his predicament, I did take him seriously and went to bed concerned. As I pondered the situation, the small voice which speaks so clearly to my conscience arose with a whisper.
Indeed, his growth is being stunted.
The truth of the revelation traveled into my heart where it settled into a gritty soil. I knew the depth of the words reached deeper than the measurement a child’s physical height. And I’d have preferred to nod off into a slumber than have my spirit awakened into action.
Isn’t it easier to ignore the truth when it calls for change?
This child of mine is no longer a child. Close to fifteen, he’s a young man. And, knocking at the door of 5’11’’, he’s taller than his parents.
As the travel of time adds days to his life, there’s an exposure of the heart indicating his physical growth is progressing more rapidly than his spiritual stature.
With a keen eye and a listening ear in tune with God’s Spirit, I detect the hidden reefs lying under a seemingly tranquil lagoon. Outward displays of obedience with impurity brewing beneath the surface.
Can children adopt the family practice of faith as washing the hands before a meal? Pleasing to the parents are the acts of conformity. Especially when displayed publicly.
Will the suds penetrate the surface of the skin and launder the heart? The clean actions have been practiced and honed to perfection. An outward purity and dutiful religion to satisfy onlookers and convince the teen-aged conscience. Playing by the rules and offering a spotless exterior.
Parents seeking surface faith are pleased. The child sparkles clean.
I am seeking more. And I am not satisfied.
Children who grow up in solid Christian homes may master the rules but fail to recognize that conformity and obeying Christian practices are not necessarily indicators of true faith.
I have offered to this first-born a family tradition. Passing down the rhythms of ritual. Handing him habits of homage. Yet, somehow missing the enduring transfer of faith which transcends mere knowledge and finds absorption in his heart.
And, indeed, I have stunted his growth.
The purity of our heart will be revealed only when it is tested.
And it is not likely to be tested when someone else makes the majority of our decisions for us.
Through a gentle hand God guides me back to understanding. These children, the ones who grow into young men, must walk. No longer carried on the caregiver’s hip. Just as Camden asserted, young men cannot grow if they are confined. Mothers must release their young and allow them to explore. And even to fall.
Finding their faith on their own.
Receiving nourishment from Christ needed to grow in spiritual stature.
And as we set our children free to choose, to walk without our continual escort, we learn to trust. A deepening of faith through the constancy of communion is required to believe.
The certainty there is One far more credentialed in raising teenagers.
The only One who is capable of stretching the limbs.
And facilitating growth.