(This post can be true for girls. I’m raising two myself, but my focus is boys.)
Little boys get a bad rap sometimes. They run too fast, wiggle too much, rough house a lot, and a host of other physical activities that exhaust adults. My motto is, “Everything that makes a great man, makes a difficult boy.” We want men to solve problems and build great cities, creating safe spaces for society to thrive, but when boys create forts in the living room, there is a mess to clean. I think my eleven year old, Carter, creates problems just to solve them!
God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply; fill the whole earth and subdue it. My job is to teach these little guys not to subdue me or anything else that isn’t under their authority. Right now, the only thing under their authority is themselves, a dog, and bearded dragon named Bob. I haven’t quite convinced them that learning to master themselves is currently enough for them. As Proverbs 16:32 says,
Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Sometimes I count the years left to teach and mold. Time slips by too fast! But God is faithful, He helps us in all our troubles!
We live in the perfect blend of suburbia and woods. Our neighborhood is at the base of a huge hill (small mountain or something in between) and the boys have good friends that live in the neighborhood at the top of the hill with just enough woods in between for an adventure. The hideout is down the little creek past the thorn bushes to a clearing in the woods with a bunch of plastic lawn chairs. They spend hours out there alone, doing whatever it is that boys do in the woods. (Don’t tell them I can hear them!)
One day the boys went up the hill to jump on their friend’s trampoline. Because they wanted to stay until the last minute to play, they asked if could pick them up, rather than hike back down the hill. As they got in the car the smell of boy was overpowering, and I couldn’t help but comment, “Wow! You boys need a bath. You
smell like the woods.”
My sweet Caleb responded, “Mom, boys always need a bath. I get sweaty and smelly just playing video games! How come you always smell nice? Girls always smell nice, and boys always stink?”
Controlling my laughter, I said, “Well, I guess that’s just how it is. Why do you think boys stink?”
Christian laughingly said, “It’s because boys like to fart!” One thing you have to get used to about boys is that farts are always funny, and any conversation will eventually come around to farts.
After the laughter died down Caleb said, “Well, I think it’s because Adam was made from the dirt and dirt makes mud and mud stinks! Eve was made from Adam’s rib. And ribs are delicious!”
I have a hard time disagreeing with his logic! What I love about this is that my boys look for answers to life’s problems in scripture.
Lately, the public discourse centers on men and their particular sin patterns, but I want to focus on what Jesus calls them to be.
Meek. Many mistake meekness with weakness, but meekness is strength under control. I want my boys to develop their strength as men knowing that they will always have to seek the Lord to be meek.
Strength. I want my boys to be strong: emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Because if we accept this world as it is not as we would have it to be, many people take advantage of those who are weaker. I want my boys to take up the cause of the widow and the orphan, always using strength to protect. Caleb wants to be a chef. He wants to open a restaurant called the Glass House and serve good food to the homeless. Then he wants to become a police officer, so he can protect people.
Authority. Authority means responsibility. I want my boys to know that their responsibility comes from the Lord and model their lives after Christ, who being the very nature God humbled himself to death on the cross. Jesus served others without lording His power over those in His care.
My boys are these fantastic creatures that bring adventure and laughter to my life. The years of parenting have taught me that parenting is more about learning to be the role model for what I want to develop in my children than disciplining my children. Learning to submit myself to Christ’s care and control is difficult, but when my son says, “I went down front to pray because I knew God was speaking to my heart. And sometimes I’m like Jonah. Like Jonah, I choose death over getting my heart right too. All those people threw their possessions overboard to calm the sea. I choose being lazy over helping Carter clean the bonus room. And loosing our devices is like death.”
How can you argue with that? My heart sings praises to the Lord!