Around Lape Haven, we kind of love silly. We thrive on imagination and creativity. We choose birthday party themes based on how costume-friendly they are. (We really do.)
But I have to say, sometimes, I am still amazed at how quirky my kids can be. They provide me with hours of entertainment and laughter, sometimes unintentionally.
For example, last fall Elijah became obsessed with being a ninja, or at least his interpretation of a ninja. (I don’t think he’s ever seen a real ninja, and it definitely shows. For one, his ninja is very noisy. 🙂 )
He insisted on wearing all black, or at least all “dark” and “plain,” when he was playing, so he could look like a ninja, and he was always showing off his “ninja skills.” He would say, “See my ninja skills,” and do some arm flailing and jumps, pretending to fight and do karate. Josiah, our little “monkey see, monkey do-er,” would follow along, echoing, “See my gills.”
One evening while I was working on dinner, the boys came into the kitchen to demonstrate those skills, and Elijah proceeded to give me instructions on how to “jump like a ninja.” Listening to his directions, accompanied by the motions, I felt as though I were in a Will Ferrell skit:
“You turn, then you squat, and then you come up like a flower!”
Yes, he said to be a ninja, “you come up like a flower!” Hahaha.
And it’s not just the ninja thing. Elijah is fascinated with bugs, watching The Weather Channel, and making “crafts” from whatever he can pull from our recycle bin. Josiah is our techie, much to Daddy’s delight and despair, since Josiah can download an app in a heartbeat. He’s also our daredevil who isn’t afraid of heights or falls or going too fast.
The boys will dress up in anything (see Day 1 of the series and the snorkel mask). They truly DO dance like nobody is watching, only they are always hoping that someone is. They don’t care if the clothes they pick match, are fashionable, or even fit them! (Just yesterday, Elijah came downstairs in a 2T-sized Air Force uniform that his cousin gave him when Elijah was 2. Yeah, it’s a bit snug.) They sing loudly, with more enthusiasm than skill, and make up songs that make absolutely no sense whatsoever.
While I do enforce some guidelines when we are going out and about (no snorkel masks in church, for one), I try not to stifle their play time by imposing too many of my “grown up” rules on them. I want them to stay little for as long as they can and to stay confident in who they are and in who God made them to be.
Too many people start out as unique, expressive children, then as they grow, begin to listen to what the world around them says is “cool” or “beautiful.” Some may eventually come back to being comfortable in who they are, but others lose that child-like freedom and spend most of their life trying to be everyone else.
The Bible tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and that God knows the plans that He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). I know that those are probably two of the more quoted verses in Christianity, but do we truly embrace them? Do we trust that God made us with our odd sense of humor or our dramatic flair or our interest in bugs for a reason?
Personally, I like dancing, I like acting, I like reading and writing, I’m often loud, I like to laugh, I can be rather goofy, and I love simple things, such as lightning bugs, fireworks, and dandelion puffs. Growing up, at points, I struggled with allowing all those things to show. Other girls were quiet and dainty, soft-spoken, graceful.
I really wasn’t those things, and I didn’t know why I couldn’t be. I AM stubborn, though, and that part of me refused to be told what I had to be like. I wanted to be uniquely me, but just me. I didn’t want to be so different that people thought I was a freak or trying too hard (some people go to that end of the spectrum, too).
Then one day everything clicked into place, and God’s plan in creating me the way I am, made so much sense, I had to laugh. It was a day in high school when I helped with the children’s outreach from church. That Saturday morning, I was able to sing and dance around, act goofy, laugh loudly, cheer and scream, and wonder at the simple, wonderful things along with the children to whom we were ministering.
I was able to be me, completely me, fearfully and wonderfully made, with a purpose and plan that glorified the One who had created me. My personality and talents are perfect for children’s ministry. My heart sparked to life that day, and I have served, in some way, in children’s ministry, ever since.
So, if you see my kids’ pictures on here, Facebook, or Instagram (you can follow along – hint, hint), and they are being silly and dorky and completely free to be them, if Elijah is talking about the weather or showing off his “shaker” made from a yogurt container and rocks, or if Josiah’s been scaling the counters as Superman (again), just know that we’re busy uncovering the gifts, talents, and purposes that God has in my boys, and we’re encouraging them to be the little men God designed them to be, so they can fulfill to the fullest extent the calling He’s placed on them, whatever it is, whenever it is.
I’m fine with them being little ninjas and practicing those skills. Little ninjas grow up to be mighty warriors.
Just because my kids crack me up, here’s a little video of those awesome ninja skills.
Enjoy! (Note: If you’re wondering what Josiah has on at the end, he’s wearing his brother’s too-large, red slippers and one volleyball kneepad. Just because.)