What defines a wild child? Unruly and out of control? Wide-eyed and adventurous? A little bit of both?
My cousin had a dog once, Brownie. I will never forget his first visit to our house. When mom opened the door Brownie barreled in, jumped over the coffee table, ran on the back of the couch, hopped over the recliner and raced up the stairs.
Several years ago a friend once described her other friend's children. She said, “They're wild. They are always into things and breaking something or fighting with each other.”
Little girls barefoot in long dresses running through the woods and fields behind their home. Boys climbing trees and building stick forts in the back yard.
The 40-something man who works 40 hours a week yet lives for hunting, fishing, and family adventures.
The silver-haired woman who still walks barefoot through the woods picking berries from wild bushes and prefers the farm to the pharmacy.
What is your definition of a wild child?
Over the years I've heard many descriptions and definitions of the wild child. Some were negative and some conjure up feelings of freedom, excitement, and innocence.
I believe all children have a wild side but the wild ones, they stand out. They are often labeled, criticized, or dismissed. And let's not forget the word curses that get spoken over them by well-meaning adults telling them they're “devilish” or “out of control” or worse.
Whose control should they be under? Their parents, the government, the grumpy neighbor, the teacher's, God's?
I'm not suggesting children should be anarchists with disregard for anything or anyone else.
That's not wild. That's hellish.
Parents want a measure of control over their children but the secret no one tells us is that we cannot control another person's thoughts, words, or actions. Even our children's. We can discipline them when they act or say unconstructive things. We can disciple and direct but we can never truly control.
Society's influence (control) is not something to be held under. I don't want my child fitting today's mold of a “normal” kid. I want him to be a godly man, not a confused gender neutral person. My friend has three daughters. She wants them to embrace the adventures God lays out before them while becoming women of integrity, humility, and femininity.
The only control we should strive for our children to be under is God's. As parents, we guide them, correct them, discipline, and disciple them all in an effort to point them to Christ and help them see who they are in Him: Wild and free spirits on a journey with Jesus.
The Definition of A Wild Child
The wild child has little to do with age.
And although my experience and the rest of this post will focus on boys, the wild child has little to do with God-given gender and sexuality.
The wild child embraces life every day and looks for adventures.
The wild child doesn't let the necessary and mundane parts of life keep him down or beat him up beyond recognition.
The wild child runs with God, walks with Jesus, and allows Holy Spirit guide him every day.
The wild child is a blend of carefree and caring.
The wild child doesn't wait to the end of life and say, “I wish I'd have done that.” Instead, they end each day saying, “I'm glad I tried it.”
The wild child is alive, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
One of my favorite quotes from the book Wild at Heart by John Eldridge is this, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, because what the world needs are men who have come alive.”
Children come alive far more than adults. Maybe it is the weight of conforming to the control of others that makes us lose our ability to come alive and be wild. Regardless, we stuff ourselves into man-made boxes conforming to what everyone says we must be and in doing so we lose the God-given gift of being free.
A Real Gender Issue
As both a boy-mom and the parent of a wild one, I see a gender issue. I see boys becoming men without manhood. They are physically and mentally men but they their spirit has been crushed by new societal controls that they have lost the very manhood they were created to express.
God created both male and female as two distinct creations. We are very much the same, yet very much different. God did not create us different so we could conform to one another and become indistinguishable.
The very thing that makes a good man is the ability to remind wild while living in total submission to Christ.
“Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man.”
~John Eldridge, Wild at Heart
I want both my boys, my husband and my son to be real men. Men who rise to the occasion. Men who fight for what's right, just, noble, and honorable. Men who know who they are in Christ. Men who never lose their spark, even at a ripe old age.
I want them to be wild.
The wild spirit is a gift from God as is the wild child.
I'm thankful for the wild ones in my life. They keep my heart racing and my prayers flowing but most of all, they keep me alive.
How Do You Define The Wild Child?