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Wrestling with My Kids

May 27, 2010

My kids love to wrestle with me. Whether we wrestle for an hour or for five minutes…we usually have to wrestle at least once a day. Sometimes they want to get chased and then wrestle once I catch them and other times they just want to get launched into the big LoveSac (weird name, I know…but there’s nothing better to relax in, watch a movie or the game or take a nap in) furniture we have in our basement. Either way, we always have a blast and it’s a time I’ve really come to treasure with them.

If any of you have read John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart or he and his wife, Stasi’s co-authored book, Captivating, you’ll certainly see some parrallels in what’s driving this post and I’d really recommend checking both of those books out as they’ve been a great resource for me, Ingrid and a good number of our friends and family!

Anyway, I’ve noticed over the last couple of years and so much more recently that our little boy and our little girl get very different things out of wrestling with dad.

My son loves to wrestle. He could do it for hours and never get sick of it. He doesn’t like to hurt anyone and is extremely sweet when it comes to making sure that people are “ok” if he’s hurt them on accident. As he’s grown, I’ve seen more and more his desire to test his strength against me. He puffs out his chest and gets this look of a conquering gladiator when he deals me a blow that gives me a fat lip or clearly causes me a bit of physical pain. He loves to rescue his sister as a fire fighter or a downed climber (me) as a mountain rescue climber. He wants to know that he’s powerful and can rise to face challenges. When he was little, he just liked rolling around and getting hugged and tickled — He wanted to know he was loved and YES that’s so critical too. He still wants to know those things now but as a result of him becoming more secure in the fact that my love for him is unconditional, his actions show that he’s shifting his question from less of the, “Do you love me?”  to more of the, “How does my strength stack up against your’s, Dad?” and “Do you think I have what it takes?” . Oh my goodness does he ever! He is a young warrior with a tender heart; the best combination in my experience. He is powerful.

My daughter is absolutely captivating. She loves to wrestle too but clearly views the fun through different eyes than her brother. She’s not at all concerned with testing her strength against me. In fact, It’s pretty obvious that she likes to know that I’m much stronger than her. When we wrestle, she wants more to be held and carried and to ride on my back and shoulders. She wants to be engaged and noticed. As quickly as she and I are rolling around, she’s back up and then does a couple twirles with some jumps as she giggles and yells, “Watch me, Dad!” And that’s so core to who she is! She constantly wants to be seen; to be adored. She always asks me, “Do you think I’m beautiful like Mommy” or “Dad, look at my dress; isn’t it pretty?” She wants me to affirm that she’s lovely. She wants to be held and twirled and carried. And a few more things — When we’re rough housing and wrestling, chasing and tickling, she loves to be rescued and she loves to team up with either her brother or with me against someone else. She gets such a charge out of adventuring alongside me and her brother or simply out of being the sweet beauty that get’s rescued by one of the men in her life.

I could go on for days about these beautiful differences. Differences that could have only come to be via the hand of an all-powerful, creative and artistic, playful, warrior and relationally tender hearted God. So that’s why I love wrestling with my kids. I love to see the heart of the unerring Creator manifested in their own hearts. They are and He is both warrior and beauty; both strong and captivating to behold.

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