Friday, April 15, 2011

Hugs, for Pete's sake.

Having two teenage boys living with you can be challenging.

They lived a whole life before we ever met. And although it's a life I would have changed for them - rescued them from if I could have - it was the life the Lord had for them and it's shaped who they've become.

Kids who've grown up in the inner-city have lots of defenses. Walls they've constructed over time to protect themselves. They can be merciless to one another about clothes, haircuts, and shoes. Mommas, and teeth. And often, innocence is regarded as weakness. Boys especially don't hug or hold hands and Dea and Darius are often at a loss when Graham gives them a big hug when they walk through the door or when he wants to hold their hand walking around Six Flags. Often, they respond with, "Naw, man. That's gay." Or, dude. That's fruity."

So, the other day, when my boys said the same thing to each other, we had a long talk. (the long talk followed me telling them to stop calling each other 'gay' using my outside voice. I may have popped a vessel.)

After I'd calmed down, I explained to both my little boys that brothers hug, and there's nothing sexual about it. It's a hug and it's innocent and it's one of the ways we demonstrate love. So, please, stop classifying innocence as something other than what it is.

That afternoon, Graham, who's my most demonstratively affectionate, went to Dea. "Dea, it's time for your daily hug!" Dea said, "Dude, guys don't hug. That's fruity." Then, Graham did what I should have done long ago. He said just matter of factly, "Dea, your my brother and I'm gonna hug you. It's not fruity, it's just what brothers do."

Hours later, I got a text on my phone, "MaMelissa, tell Graham I'm sorry I called his hugs fruity. They're not fruity."

And Graham's smile could have lit the city.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;"

1 Peter, 1:22-23

25 comments:

All Sufficient Grace said...

Oh Melissa that is precious. So glad God placed you in their lives.

PinkLemonade said...

Crying. (To such an extent that I misspelled my word verifi
cation the first time. Apparently captcha has no mercy for sobbing posters.)

Amy said...

I love this.

Grace McC. said...

Oh, I loved this post--so beautiful and real!

Connie said...

I may or may not need to reapply my mascara. What a lovely post.

lailani said...

Through tears, may I say this is such a WOW post!

Carlee said...

First, I cried. Then I may or may not have shouted Thank You loud enough to scare the dog. My 7 year old son--sandwiched by his two sisters--is a sweet and compassionate boy who loves to hug. We have ended up homeschooling him partly because of the way his sweetness is labeled in many settings. I love your response and will share it with my own son he next time he is teased.

dkt said...

awwww!! That is so great! What a precious mountain top admist many valleys. :D Love it!

pendy said...

Love this and admire your son's sweet spirit...

Kim said...

Beautiful. I love Graham's courageous spirit for following thru on how his head leads!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
Kim

Janet said...

Beautifully stated!! As a mom of boys, I can totally identify...as I wipe tears from my face!

Becca said...

I love this so much. Seriously made my day.

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

This is my new favorite.

emily said...

Graham will love Ethiopia- grown men, carrying AK 47's walking arm in arm or hand in hand. VERY affectionate toward one another, I love it! Nothing fruity about it, just showing some brotherly love. :)

Chrys and Mike said...

loved this.

chrys

Nikki said...

that is really sweet.

Nikki
www.madebynikki.blogspot.com --> now offering the rotating photo design!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

{tears}

xo

Anonymous said...

How beautiful and so real. Thank you for sharing.

Brian Cole said...

love it.

The Rowlands said...

Precious!! Made me tear up, so sweet...

These Three Kings said...

how precious! Boy, the things you grow up not knowing.. I can so relate to them in this, hard lesson to be learned but sooo needed!

Love it! Now the next thing to through in there is how to greet one another with a HoLY kiss! :)

The Pennington Point said...

Now I need a hug. Anyone? Anyone?

TDM Wendy said...

Tears in my eyes. The transforming power of unconditional love. It's a beautiful thing. And it breaks my heart that some kids go through life knowing nothing of it. So glad God brought those boys to you so they can get used to that kind of love.

Sitesx6 said...

Beautiful.....

Changing generations, one hug at a time.

Car Title Loans said...

That just made my day. That is absolutely amazing. It's something what a hug can do, and how persistence really overcomes a lot of obstacles. Good for you for getting the message through :)
Ava