A man in the making

By Rebecca Hagelin

Deep, rich tones permeate the room and hang in the air like a dense, damp fog. Boom, boom, boom.

The vibrations from my son’s bass guitar seem to actually shake the walls of my home office as they reverberate down the studs and through the framing. I stare intently at the family photograph that hangs across the room – it appears to be moving, perhaps even rattling a bit with every beat. Even though Drew is upstairs in his bedroom, the notes are not merely heard, but are felt throughout our home as if they are living, pulsating creatures boldly oozing through the vents and paneling.

From my vantage point, it is impossible to distinguish one chord from another. Boom, boom, boom – the notes resonate again and again at varying intervals. The sounds created by my son’s youthful touch are very much alive, yet surprisingly smooth.

I imagine what he must look like as his mind and spirit become one with the music. Drew is 15-years old and playing the bass and electric guitars has become his passion. Neither my husband nor I ever have to remind him to practice – to the contrary, there are many days and nights when we must gently point out his other responsibilities. There are times he is so absorbed in his music that the vibrating booms seem to go on for hours. They have come to be among the sounds of life I most enjoy.

As this young lad of mine shuts his door and retreats into his magical musical world, I find great comfort and assurance in the man he is becoming. Drew’s music folder is filled with scores of a style not normally found in a teenager’s portfolio. Worship and praise music is what draws him to his creative place, and it is this music that somehow transforms the business of our home into a tranquil oasis from the clutter and bustle of everyday life. I am amazed as I reflect on the fact that the introduction of even more sound and volume into our lives has the reverse effect of what would normally be expected.

Drew takes three guitar lessons a week and, on a fourth day, wakes on his own long before sunrise to prepare for an early morning chapel service at a local Christian high school. I marvel at his adherence to a commitment he has made to the church music director that requires him to exchange his warm bed for the opportunity to play with the chapel’s praise team. It was, and is, Drew’s choice each week to hold fast to this commitment, or abandon it for a few hours of coveted sleep. Yet, week after week, he quietly dresses, fixes his own breakfast and politely asks his father to drive him to the service.

It is in these moments – of practice, of service, of commitment – that I smile and think we must be doing something right.

Parenting our three children is a pleasure that my husband and I relish. With every passing day it seems as though they are slipping faster and faster through our fingers, not unlike the proverbial sand through an hourglass. We have poured countless hours of love, teaching, patience and education into them, all bathed in fervent prayers.

When unpleasant trials or bad attitudes raise their ugly heads from somewhere within our growing charges, I remind myself that they must be dealt with quickly and firmly. I am painfully aware that this act of parenting is not a dress rehearsal – I have but one chance per child to do it right. There is no giving in, no shrugging of the shoulders, no throwing up of the arms in hopelessness – it is my duty to hold fast, to stand firm, and to never, ever compromise the values and standards I would have my children claim as their own.

As Drew and his brother – both teenagers – begin to stretch their wings and venture further into the world, it intrigues me to watch them mature, develop and experience independent life in small, measurable doses. And when they err, my husband and I are ready to quickly correct misjudgments and set them back on course. Until they are completely grown and leave for college, we view our home as a training ground provided by God to help establish within them the character and qualities that will enrich their lives and make our society and nation a better place.

Someday soon, the music Drew makes will not be within my range of hearing. Until then, I treasure the beautiful sounds of a man in the making.