“He will have to wrestle with all of the definitions that the world uses to confine and limit our potential, but that is for later in life.”
I walk in and feel the energy in the room. He lights up everyone around him, this small child, a boy still so small and yet he is wise enough to effectively communicate his needs to his family. I love him, the sight of his blond hair, his smiles, and even his cries. He is so full of life. A little man.
He is full of vitality, strength, curiosity and courage. Even at this age, before he’s talking, he can command a room. Before he can walk, he can move forcefully to achieve his desires. He is fascinated by the world around him, the toys, the books, and the people. He takes it all in, learning from everything. He is a little man.
I don’t call him a little man to deny his childhood.
Childhood will both delight and scar him, shaping him into a future person who I hope will be nothing less than his authentic self. Maybe he chooses a wife, a husband, to be single—none of that matters. Maybe he identifies as a male, or female, or even flows between the two—it doesn’t matter. He’s a little man.
I see in him the unpolished gem of a human being already shining brightly in the world. In his heart, there is the spark of a person that is slowly learning how to express itself. By calling him a little man, I am celebrating that spark. I am looking past the drool and poopy diapers, past the tantrums and the 3am wake up calls.
To describe a child as a baby often implies an emptiness of personality that we can fill with our own image. Why else would there be a thriving business of fashion onesies with everything from images of Dr. Who to statements like “Future Rock Star”? This child I see is not just the spitting image of their parents, something to be adorned with their passions and philosophies, but is a unique person who will grow into something even greater than I can envision.
I don’t know exactly who this child will be when he grows up.
He is born a boy, but that is no more of a limitation on who he can be any more than being born a girl would be. He is what he is, and I celebrate it, because I celebrate him: the little spark that is glowing brightly in the eyes of all who see him, a spark that I want to protect as much as his parents do. He will have to wrestle with all of the definitions that the world uses to confine and limit our potential, but that is for later in life.
His fire isn’t big enough for much more than kindling. And the best kindling I can offer is encouragement to experience the power he has, the power that all children are born with—a power to passionately express their hearts desires, desires that spread love and light in the world. Isn’t that what we want for all men?
He has a million paths that he can follow in his life’s journey.
It is up to him to decide how he wants to live it. But for now, he is a small child spreading love and light in his world. I’m am grateful to know and love a child so full of energy, vitality, curiosity and love. He is a little man.