06 November 2008
How quickly they go feral on us
As I was flipping through my copy of The Writing Life looking for the other anecdote, I noticed another section ripe for Mad Libbing. I will change but two words (“[written] work” to “child” in two places):
A child in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. As the child grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, ‘Simba!’
Skip but a day, and nature has its way. The Old Adam rises kicking and sputtering to the surface, ornerier than ever for realizing that we’ve attempted murder, biting back hard on the hand that seeks to hold it under. We choose our parenting battles carefully because we know that, although the war for our children (which sometimes feels like a war against our children) is long and fought on many fronts, we can ill afford to lose so much as a skirmish. The same, of course, is true of the battle in our own hearts.
Thank God that His grace is lavishly sufficient. And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long, Steals on the ear the distant triumph song…
Time to step back into the next room. SIMBA!!!