Mouse in the House

Meg and I were out on a date – the¬†Everlys were at our house watching the kids – when Tim sent a text:ūüźĀ

A few days later we encountered our house guest. He (she?) zipped across the floor and under the love seat. We started turning over furniture and our pursuit came down to the end table. I had the broom, Meg a nerf sword… we arranged the tipped over furniture into a barricade leading to the front door — which we opened… Then Meg attacked with the sword!

I would like to say I did something. I stood stunned as he raced out the door.

But once a mouse has found a warm house…¬†

The revelation of sexual harassment in Hollywood didn’t really surprise me. Nor the revelations about a politician. It was the mass of revelations that startled. Then the women in my own life began sharing stories. Some big, some small — but all tied to hurt. Amazingly the women speaking felt shame… rather than the men.

Before chasing the mouse out, we set up traps. Child safe versions – honestly dad safe versions. We bought real peanut butter (because of Ezekiel’s allergy we have grainy wow butter but that wouldn’t attract a mouse!). Then we waited to hear the joyful snap.

While we waited for death (which never came – our house provides enough sustenance that even real peanut butter isn’t attractive), I took Ezekiel to the pet store. Staring through the glass at spinning wheels, fluffy beds, food and¬†water bottles; it all made me ponder: who buys and provides a¬†luxury space for mice??¬†

I grew up in a pretty traditional house. In some ways it had the black and white Leave it to Beaver feel. My parents were strict in some ways, less in others. Fighting wasn’t acceptable. There was no place where cursing or porn were tolerated — I was to act the same everywhere. To bully someone was abominable (the only reason I had strength was to defend the weak).

I certainly wasn’t perfect, but I knew what was right. And their was no justification for wrong. My parents never said “boys will be boys”. But I have heard that phrase often as an adult – especially now that I have a little boy.

After the mouse ran out, we worried he would return. And he did, but not for long. The next weekend my parents took the children in our van. As the van backed out and we waved, there was the mouse. Thankfully¬†Meg didn’t have to get the nerf sword. He had hidden behind a tire and was now flattened on the garage floor. So we kept waving goodbye… smiling.

The stories pouring out in the news have added up (while we unfortunately still shame women debating if the reports are true). Nearly everyone wants change. But how do you kill a problem that keeps coming back?

Unintentionally society has created the problem. Not by voting in politicians who commit these acts (which both parties have done since I started paying attention to politics). We should stop! But politicians are not the root. Nor is Hollywood (though I wish they would allow women fuller roles and clothes). Instead we have made space for this problem in our own houses. When we justify the small acts of boys — when we let them slide in certain places — we encourage sin to grow.

When we make porn acceptable (to objectify and control women)… when we allow the locker room to be obscene… when we condone fighting to win (rather than defend)… when we say “boys will be boys” ¬†we are creating a culture where women will be abused.

To change direction we must kill this “boys will be boys” attitude and terminate the idea of “locker room talk”.

My parents didn’t raise me to be a boy. The mark was always higher. It wasn’t to be a man either. Nor was it be like my dad – who is a good man. They raised me to be like Jesus. Who in every moment lived pure and holy. In word and action spoke against the strong, drove out those taking advantage of the weak. Who sacrificed his own life that others would have life… and have not life in shame… but life to the full.

I am not that person. But am striving. And we raise our four children with the same call… to the full life of Christ.

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