Or, “ You Think You're a Big Boy, That's So Cute”
Many people have congratulated me on recently finishing my PhD. I defended my dissertation in January and I walked in May. I really appreciate everyone’s kind words, and I will admit that it was a ridiculous amount of work.
However, there is something that happened in our family a few years ago that really helps me put that in perspective. When my son Luke was still the baby in the family, we told him that he needed to start learning to pull up his own pants “like a big boy.” It worked. This was perfect motivation because, like most little boys with an older brother, he wanted desperately to be a big boy.
We didn’t think much of it until weeks later when Luke came storming into the living room with his fists clenched in anger and his lip quivering. As he stood there crying and huffing, we asked him what in the world was wrong? He stomped, “Eric told me I’m not a big boy!”
This had us perplexed until we remembered that we had told Luke that he needed to pull up his pants like a big boy. He had latched onto that. And now, since he could indeed pull up his pants all by himself, obviously he was a certified big boy. In his mind, he had arrived!
I remember looking down at my son as he stood there arguing in tears that he was a big boy. I smiled and laughed to myself. There he was, knee high to me, barely out of diapers, and crying because someone told him he wasn’t a big boy—which, by the way, is not a very ‘big boy’ thing to do. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, you can pull up your pants and you think that makes you a big boy… That’s so cute.”
That got me thinking about God up in heaven and some of the accomplishments that we have in life. And I knew that eventually I would finish the PhD program and get my doctorate. It is easy for things to go to your head sometimes. But I imagined God looking down on me one day and thinking, “Oh, you got your degree and now you think you’re a big boy… That’s so cute.”
(You can click here for a short video of me telling this story.)