What’s a Boy?

Between the time of innocence – when the male of the species is nothing more than a bundle of wrinkles in diapers and the dignity of manhood, we find a delightful creature called a boy. Each comes into this world in the same way, but in assorted sizes, colors and weights. They even share the same creed . . . to enjoy every second of every minute of every hour of every day and to protest with noise, which is their only weapon, when their last minute is finished and the parents pack them off to bed each night.

Boys are found everywhere . . . on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around, or jumping into. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, sisters tolerate them, big brothers torture them, adults ignore them and heaven protects them. With little boys . . . what you see is most often what you get.

A boy is truth with dirt on his face, beauty with a cut on his finger, wisdom with bubble gum in his hair . . . and hope for the future with a frog in his pocket. He’s capable of leaping tall building blocks in a single bound and always faster than expected. He’s constant persistence in motion.

When parents have company, a boy is an inconsiderate, bothersome, intruding jungle of noise. When you want him to make a good impression, his brain either turns to jelly or he becomes a savage, sadistic jungle creature bent on destroying the world and himself in the process.

A boy is a composite of things . . . he has the appetite of a wrestler making weight for the first time, the digestion of a sword swallower, the energy of an Eveready bunny, the curiosity of a cat, the lungs of a dictator, the imagination of Brothers Grimm, the shyness of a violet, the audacity of a steel trap and the enthusiasm of a firecracker. And invariably, on those rare occasions when he wants to help around the house, he does so with two hands and ten thumbs.

He likes ice cream, knives, saws, Christmas, books with lots of pictures, the boy across the street, trees that are easy to climb, water in its natural habitat, large animals, Dad, noisy video games, Saturday mornings and cars that go fast . . . especially red ones. He’s not much for Sunday school, adult company, classrooms, music lessons, neckties, barbers, bedtime or girls of any size, shape or description.

Nobody else is so early to rise or so late to supper. Nobody else gets so much fun out of trees, dogs and breezes. Nobody else can cram into one pocket a rusty knife, a bag of gummy bears, three feet of string, four broken crayons, a shotgun shell casing, a chunk of unknown substance and a discount coupon for the latest Disney movie.

A boy is a magical creature . . . you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart. You can get him out of your study, but you can’t get him out of your mind. Might as well give up . . . he’s your capture, your jailer, your boss, and your master.

He’s a freckled faced, pint-sized, cat chasing bundle of noise. But when you come home at night from coaching other people’s children – with only shattered pieces of hopes and dreams still intact – he can mend everyone of them with two magical words . . . “Hi Dad!”

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