While waiting for a recent meeting to begin a couple co-workers and I began talking about our sons. One explained her theory that every boy is either fascinated with balls, trucks or action figures, and asked which category our boys fell into. Another guy with a son about six months older than mine said that his son is a ball kid. He went on to talk about how much his son loves sports and hockey in particular. They take him to games and are starting to get him on the ice.
My two-year-old son, Caiden, is a truck boy. He loves cars, trucks, trains, and vehicles of all kinds. He can identify and call by name an excavator, bulldozer, backhoe, scraper grader, cherry-picker, forklift and the list goes on and on.
I don’t know what kind of kid I was, but these days I am a ball kid, so I am ashamed to admit that I walked away from this conversation disappointed that Caiden is into trucks and not balls. To be fair, he does line up behind me like a half-pint halfback, take a handoff and run into the kitchen to spike the ball while yelling, “Touchdown!” He’ll also run around with a hockey stick and follow Eddie Olczyk’s advice to keep his stick on the ice, but none of these activities compare to his love of anything with wheels, and as sad is it sounds, this disappointed me.
I want to share my love of sports with Caiden. I believe there are great lessons to learn from playing sports. They teach us the value of teamwork, healthy competition and how to win or lose well, but at this point (excuse me while I vault to a conclusion), Caiden is more likely to be a mechanic than an NHL d-man. If you are judging me and picturing the future destruction of my relationship with Caiden as I force him to play a sport he despises, please know that my response to this conversation made me sick.
In the end, I am grateful that this conversation uncovered my feelings. It has helped me to think through how I want to handle Caiden and his desire to play sports when he gets older. You see, I love Caiden like crazy, and I believe the most loving thing I can do is allow him to decide which sports, if any, he will play. I will allow him to choose his own path even though it may not be what I would desire, and I do this because I love him. Freedom, it turns out, flows from love.
I wonder if there is a parallel here with God’s love. What if God’s great love is the guiding reason for free will? Is it possible that because of his crazy love for us, he allows us to choose whatever path we will, even if it means not following him, rather than force us into a life we did not choose?