Once again the 5-year-old has almost stumped me.
It started last night at bedtime. We have a bedtime ritual that includes singing, praying, and a specific regimen of kisses. We sang the songs specifically selected by Squib and then he fell into silence. After this pause, he said, "We need to pray for Daddy."
My first thought was, "No joke."
I curbed my sarcasm and asked him why. His furtive reply was, "Because he needs it."
Don't misunderstand me. I pray for both the fathers of my children. A lot. I have seen some of those prayers answered in dramatic ways, so I have no doubt that the prayer works. I pray for lots of things. In the case of Squib's father, his salvation is foremost on my mind. His satisfaction with his life is second-most, I think. This isn't really anything I would share with a young one yet. Perhaps, though, Squib has some sense that there is something missing in his father that would, in someways, complete him? I don't know. But, he was urgent about it. "We have to pray for Daddy." So I did.
And evening and morning...the second day.
Upon which Squib asked about the meaning of "love" and "family." What are they? Do I have them?
On love: I said that a lot of people confuse love with the emotions and feelings they have when they are "in love." And, to be sure, love is accompanied by many emotions and feelings. But, I was taught a simple truth early on: "God is love." And then there is the Walker Moore version: "Love is not a feeling or emotion, but a person, Jesus Christ, who came as love incarnate and sacrificed himself for us on the cross." That's a little over Squib's head, so I saved that one. I did say, though, that love is better expressed as a verb (an action word) than a noun (a person, place, or thing). Rather than having it or giving it, doing it seems to make a bigger and more lasting impression. If I have love for you, showing it lets you know the true depths of my love for you.
Dictionary.com says this about love:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would
you like to see a movie, love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. ( initial capital letter ) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor.
10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.
12. the benevolent affection of god for His creatures, or the reverent affection due
from them to God.
13. Chiefly Tennis . a score of zero; nothing.
14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.
That should show you what I mean about the things that we often associate with love. But know this, if your love doesn't originate from the Father, it has no firm foundation. It is a house built upon the sand and will not be able to stand firm during the storms of life.
"Family" was actually a little harder to explain if you can believe that. This was probably true because we have "family" that aren't actually blood relatives. I stuck to blood relatives when explaining to Squib, but nevertheless I explained it something like this: "Family is a group of people bound closely by ties such as love, marriage, blood, and commitment. We celebrate the good times together. We help each other through the bad times. No matter what, we are always available to one another--ready to walk through fire and various other tortures."
I felt that description was lame. So, once again, here's what dictionary.com has to say on "family."
1. a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a
group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.
b. a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care
for: a single-parent family.
2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family.
3. the spouse and children of one person: We're taking the family on vacation next
4. any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles,
aunts, and cousins: to marry into a socially prominent family.
5. all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor.
6. Chiefly British . approved lineage, esp. noble, titled, famous, or wealthy ancestry:
young men of family.
7. a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents,
children, and servants.
8. the staff, or body of assistants, of an official: the office family.
9. a group of related things or people: the family of romantic poets; the halogen
family of elements.
10. a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common
attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together: Many hippie communes
of the sixties regarded themselves as families.
11. a group of products or product models made by the same manufacturer or
12. Biology . the usual major subdivision of an order or suborder in the classification
of plants, animals, fungi, etc., usually consisting of several genera.
13. Slang . a unit of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra operating in one area under a local
14. Linguistics . the largest category into which languages related by common
origin can be classified with certainty: Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, and
Austronesian are the most widely spoken families of languages. Compare
stock ( def. 12 ) , subfamily ( def. 2 ) .
15. Mathematics .
a. a given class of solutions of the same basic equation, differing from one another
only by the different values assigned to the constants in the equation.
b. a class of functions or the like defined by an expression containing a parameter.
c. a set.
So bland. Bah.
This helped me nada. Just so many words about something I feel so strongly about. It's more than a blood tie. It's a commitment. If a family member needs something, I'd pretty much drop everything to help them. Why? Well, that goes back to love. It also taps into loyalty, respect, service, and several other things. My love for them bears itself out in the actions I am willing to take on their behalf or in their interest.
The family concept extends to include my church family and certain friends. They may or may not know it, but my love for them is fierce. As it should be. And I would fight for them--I am not a physical fighter, but a spiritual one--as though they were my very own blood. It is who and how I am. I am not willing to settle when it comes to bad circumstances, be it illness, financial woes, job loss, etc. when there is something to be done. When you are still able to pray, there is always still something to be done.
Frankly, I thought sex would be a harder topic, but so far it has not proven to be so. And, yes, he has asked about that, too.