Just recently, I made my 6 year old promise that he'd be my baby boy forever. His response was, "Yes, great!Thats what I wanted. I didn't want to get married and leave you." While I wish I could keep them small forever, the reality is baby boys will grow to become men! These men can and will shape and grow the culture of which they are a part. Raising good men does not just happen.
"Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are older they won't depart from it." Proverbs 22:6.
There is a rearing--I hate that word, it sound like a lot of work--involved. There is an aspect of investment: physically, emotionally, and spiritually that comes with parenting. Though tiring at times, the inheritance we gain and joy we experience through it will be well worth it, in this life and through eternity.
A wise woman watches over the affairs of her house and does not eat the bread of idleness."- Proverbs 31:27.
A mother's role is to watch over the affairs of her house. What does this mean? You are the gatekeeper of the home. As gatekeeper, you watch over and are responsible for what comes into your home through social media, tv, books, relationships, etc. Your role is to guard and filter.
When we first bought our farmhouse, the kids were excited to have a place to play and run, then something happened. As we were driving to the house, my twelve and fifteen year old boys realized there was no wi-fi or cell phone reception in the area. The excitement soon turned to panic, as one of them said, "Mom if we are turning amish, tell me now!" It was all fun and games until they lost cell phone reception! I actually enjoyed an "unplugged" life for the brief moment it lasted! Enjoy one another.
Make an effort to engage with sons as a mom! Develop habits and hobbies that you can enjoy together. Your relationships are so important to continually cultivate. As the saying goes, "rules without relationship lead to rebellion." When you have relationship, its easier to enforce rules and set boundaries. I don't always "feel" like going for a run with my 15 year old son or playing soccer or football, but I'm always so glad I did! These are investments into my sons that I will yield return throughout their lives!
As gatekeeper of your home, what are the things you want to let in? Just as diligent as we have to be to filter out the bad, we must cultivate the good.
It's important to me that my sons have their own relationship with God.
" How can a young man keep his way pure, by guarding it according to your word." Psalm 119:9
I make it a priority to get my boys in church services where their hearts can encounter God's Spirit and be changed as much as possible! I often ask, " have you been reading your Bible and spending time with the Lord?" If they are not taught to develop their own relationship with God, they will lack the conviction, vision, and the love it will take to lead their homes. Their relationship with God will direct them and keep them from trouble more than my parenting alone could ever do.
It's important to me that my sons understand forgiveness. Are we a perfect family? NO! Do I make mistakes? YES! Do they make mistakes? YES! One of the most powerful aspects of our family dynamic is found in the words "I'm sorry". We sow mercy, mainly because we all need to reap it from one another often. I have gone to my children many times out of a humble and transparent heart and told them I was wrong for handling something in a way that I knew was wrong. In return, they too come to us when they were wrong, and they go to one another when they have been fighting-- or they wrestle it out...and then apologize! Never leave family disagreements unresolved; never let the sun go down on your anger (Ephesians 4:26) . The natural response is to never bring it up again or to just forget about it, but the right response is to deal with the issues and come to a resolve!
It's important to me that my sons understand authority. I am old fashion in some regards. I desire my sons to be respectful on all occasions. Manners matter to me not because of social status or pleasing man, but because manners show attributes of respect and integrity. Respect towards authority is a big deal! A man who understands authority is a man who can operate in authority. My boys would not think to talk back to or roll their eyes at an adult simply because that's never been tolerated in our home. I do my best not to disrespect my husband, and he does his best to show nothing other than love and respect towards me. In this, the children show us respect. A huge mistake we make as parents is disrespecting one another. Not only is this a bad habit to start, but it strips your authority from the child's perspective. If you get this principle right, the teenage years are enjoyable rather than dreaded! Raise men who understand authority!
It's important to me that my sons fulfill their destinies: Raising sons is a serious task. Each of my sons are different. As a parent, I take the responsibility of recognizing their giftings and helping them to develop their strengths and callings. I have one son who is athletic, while another that is musical, and that's ok! Sometimes that means making them go to music lessons when they want to quit or making sure they are staying motivated in their studies. Its more than about just teaching them commitment which is important, or just keeping them busy. It's about cultivating the gifts the Lord has given them.
"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in on's youth". Psalm 127:4
When we recognize and work with the Lord to draw out and develop the giftings and callings in our children, we are launching them farther than we will ever go to do greater things than we have ever done!
Raising sons is a blast! Our home is filled with so much joy and laughter due to these three young men. With all the boy talk, I haven't forgotten about the sugar, spice, and everything nice...stayed tuned in two weeks as we revisit the aspect of Raising Daughters!
Join me next Friday for our Thanksgiving edition of Farmhouse Friday!