[Since I am sitting on hold with a company, I figured now was a good time to attempt to blog.]
A few observations I have made in regards to boys and men I thought I would share. This might be helpful to those who are currently mothering boys or for those who have or at some point will be working with boys. I am not an expert, but as a mother of three sons, I have definitely learned a few things.
I believe that boys are often misunderstood and unappreciated for the very traits that distinguish them from the female gender and are part of their nature.
I have observed that a father can read 1,000 books to his son, but love is communicated and understood in a greater capacity between a father and son when sharing something more physical together. For example, a simple wrestling or tussle on the floor will speak greater volumes of love to a son. It can be fishing together, building forts together, or even working together, but sons need that physical interaction with their fathers.
Show me a son/man lacking confidence and leadership, and I will describe to you a home lacking in love and positive interaction. Love builds confidence and courage. It takes courage to properly lead.
A mother is needed for her love and praise, but a son ultimately needs the affirmation and investment of a father. A mother can’t replace that. It’s not to say that God can’t heal and help where a proper father-figure is lacking. He certainly can! Yet, this lack will require God’s healing and help. Healing speaks of pain, injury, and sorrow.
Mothers sometimes misunderstand a son’s need for exercise and competition as a negative issue. Our schools often misdiagnose active boys as ADHD and prescribe medication. Sometimes, this is an accurate diagnosis, but often the problem is not with the boy. It is with the system. We tell boys that they need to be like girls in essence: sit still for long periods, be quiet, be compliant and complacent. (Obedience is definitely unarguably important and must be taught to sons as well as daughters. This is not the issue I am describing.)
Boys do need to curb their actions at times and learn self-control. Yet, it is necessary for a boy to have the opportunity to run, explore, and practice his leadership skills in play.
Show me a leader and CEO of a company, and I will tell you that he was not a boy who mostly sat in a corner reading books or coloring. Natural leaders are those who know how to be heard, who know how to conquer, who know how to challenge, who know how to explore. The best leaders also know how to win and keep the respect of those whom they lead.
In order to have strong men, you need strong boys. This does not have to do with meanness. There is also the error of thinking that masculinity means meanness, or that strength is demonstrated through unkindness. It’s not “just being boys” in that case; it’s being sinners.
As a mom, I want to differentiate between fallacies of thinking that my boys can be mean and cruel to be men or that my boys are misbehaving when they are making more noise than frail nerves can handle. I can teach my boys to be thoughtful and to learn self-control, but I need to also give them the freedom to develop into true specimens of masculinity — not my feminine version.
The very qualities that wives often complain that their husbands don’t demonstrate enough are often the very qualities that they discourage in their sons. I am referring to husbands who don’t take spiritual leadership and who haven’t established a good relationship with their sons. I am talking about husbands who don’t take responsibility or have a good work ethic. That’s why we have Hallmark cards that poke fun at the “couch potato” dads and husbands. Yet, if we raise our sons to be fearful, too dependent upon ourselves to meet their needs or force them to meet deadlines, have we not encouraged these very deficiencies? If we discourage boys from exploring and exercising their physical muscles through play, are we not encouraging such weaknesses? If we compliment quiet boys over boys that aren’t afraid to voice their own thoughts and opinions (within reasonable and respectful guidelines) have we not taught our men that we prefer for them to be quiet and to keep their opinions to themselves?
I say let the boys be boys — not bullies — but boys! Train them to excel, to serve, to explore, to exercise, to create, to dream, to learn. I want to raise men — men of character, men of moral fiber, men of strength, men of courage, men of responsibility, men of faith! Lord, so help me — help me to be the wise mother who leans on You and looks to You to raise true men.