I also believe he was one tough dude.
I don't believe you have to be one and not the other. There's a delicate balance somewhere in there. The problem is, our world is imperfect, and the male gender is taught a lot of messed-up stuff when it comes to how to behave in his environment.
In a couple of months, I will have my first true opportunity to teach a little man how to be a man in his world.
I'm very thankful for my parents; I believe they did a tremendous job of teaching me what was right, wrong and what simply didn't matter. For this conversation, especially my dad. He taught me compassion coupled with a physical and mental toughness. He taught me how to love those around me, though not perfect, and how to stick with the hard things.
Being a "man" in our world isn't real easy. I do some things that I feel are just me being compassionate, or caring, and sometimes encounter ridicule. That's fine. And I know it's not going to stop. I know that I can also be a complete jerk.
My heart's challenge is to convey my (hopefully somewhat correct) view of the world to little Harvey. I know he will be watching my each and every move. And I realize it starts way earlier than I think.
I want to teach him to love the Lord.
I want to teach him to love his mother.
I want to teach him to love his family, and everyone he encounters.
I want to teach him that he is better than no one. Not ever.
I want to teach him to be respectful to all; especially his elders, and to children, and to animals.
I want to teach him balance.
I want to teach him to stick with it. No matter what.
I want to teach him about good music, and how to have a good time.
I want to teach him how to fight, how to live and (sincerely on all accounts) how to love.
There's a song on the upcoming Jars of Clay album called "Boys (Lesson One)." The first time I heard it, I immediately started thinking about all of these things I'm writing.
The first couple of phrases of the song say:
Lesson one, do not hide
Lesson two, there are right ways to fight
And if you have questions, we can talk through the night
And the song really gets me at the end, when Dan sings:
There will be liars, and thieves who take from you
Not to undermine the consequence, but you are not what you do
And when you need it most, I have a hundred reasons why, I love you
I love Harvey, and I want Harvey to be a man truly after the heart of Jesus. One full of compassion, and one not afraid to knock the tables over when things aren't right. One that treats every living thing with tremendous respect, and one that loves the creation he is a part of. One that loves the only one that truly matters.
And I can't do any of this without the sweet, tender and unmistakable influence of his mother, my bride, Sarah.