One of my favorite activities is wrestling with my boys. In fact, I often write it on my calender to make sure I don't leave it out during the week.
Our wrestling takes one of three forms. First there is the horse / bull ride where the boys hop on my back and hold on for dear life. This always gets the most laughs but trust me, the laughs are not coming from my knees. Second, there is the one-on-one match where I let each boy in turn push me around and then I fling them around. This give and take goes on for some time until I allow them to pin me to the floor. When I sit up after a match, I have to be ready because the next boy is ready to pounce. After wrestling each of the four boys twice, this old man is ready for bed. Third, there is the everyone-against-dad match. I usually prompt this match with a promise of dessert or candy if they can get me down. It's all fun and games and I keep the upper hand, that is, until they decide to work together. It is then that the real struggle begins.
Last week the boys asked if they could wrestle each other. They are too young to pull dirty tricks so the only rule that I made was that they had to start from their knees. I came up with this rule because I know how they can start swinging each other around and I could easily see someone being thrown through a French Door.
The two oldest wrestled first and the younger pinned the older after about 5 minutes of wrestling on the floor. Next the younger two wrestled and the younger one again pinned the older. They all wanted to wrestle one more time and I agreed. This second match with the older two went on for an eternity until finally the younger one once again pinned his older brother. This was more than the older one could take and he exploded all over me with shouts of injustice. "I wasn't down. You weren't watching when I had him down two minutes ago. I'm never doing this again," and on and on. I sent him into the mud room to cool down. After a few minutes I had a good talk with him about controlling himself. That is, after all, why we are wrestling in the first place.
I wrestle with my boys to show them that they have incredible strength and that they must learn to control that strength. I help them to realize that I could easily pummel each and every one of them but I don't. I am in control, at all times, even when they get a shot in that fattens my lip, knocks my glasses off, or draws blood. I control my strength, my body, my temper, my mind, my heart. I have the control. I hope that through wrestling and other activities they will realize that they too have great power, explosive power, but it must be controlled. I hope to teach them that there are times to unleash that power and there are times to suppress that power but each and every time it must be controlled by them. God has given them this gift and it is my job to teach them the proper use of the gift.