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Before I had kids, I never thought of myself as a boy mom. I always assumed I’d have a house full of girls. Mainly, this was because I had very little experience with boys. My brother is 6 1/2 years younger than me and all I learned from him growing up was how annoying boys could be. I also didn’t and still don’t have a great relationship with my Dad. So as a young adult, I was more prone to a hurt you before you hurt me stance towards men, than anything resembling a healthy relationship.
Before you go worrying about my boys now, please don’t. Before I got married and even thought about having kids, I went to counseling and have worked through many of my “Daddy issues.” So though there are still wounds that are healing, I’m no longer prone to take them out on the men around me.
Now that we are having boy number three in the late summer, I’m finally coming to terms with the idea that God has boys in my future and no ribbons and bows. So after reading Kristi Dye’s God’s Story a few months ago, I’m beginning to really look around at where I am and try to become a student of these little boys God has blessed me with.
Some characteristics of boys that many notice right off are that they often born ACTIVE, warriors, explorers, with all that wrapped around tender hearts. I have found that these characteristics cannot, and shouldn’t, be changed. If you try, you’ll quickly go nuts and take your whole house down with you.
Instead, I’m beginning to pray for ways I can channel these God given characteristics towards helping my boys become men of God. This is not easy. I am a girl through and through.Growing up I didn’t like bugs or messes or dirt, and I certainly didn’t appreciate them until I had my boys, but all those things are part of the life of boys and to try to change them or ignore them just causes more stress.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, especially since my oldest son is only 4 1/2 years old, however, I am trying to learn how to use the ways God made these boys to point them back to Him.
For instance, my boys love super heroes and ninjas. They are crazy about them and try out their latest “spin jujitsu” moves from the Lego show, Ninjago, daily. As they bound around being heroes and warriors, I try to remind them that God is a warrior, too. “A mighty warrior who saves…” (Zeph. 3:17). And I tell them that they can be real life warriors for God.
I also try to channel all that active, explorer energy into good pursuits. Sometimes the best I can do is challenge them to run laps around the kitchen/living room circle in our house or look closely at the bugs that have wandered inside. But on days when I’m firing on more cylinders (are you ever firing on all cylinders with toddlers in the house?), we go out side and explore our backyard for all the cool stuff God has hidden there. We find strange bugs and look them up on my phone to learn more about them. We take apart the leaves and bugs we find to discover what’s inside and how God made them. We work in our garden and talk about God as we do so. Nothing deep, they are active boys after all, but a word here or a sentence there goes a long way.
Then there is the dichotomy of boys. They are so tough, and yet so tender hearted and sweet. Becoming a student in this aspect has got to be my biggest challenge. It’s quite the challenge to teach them how to share their emotions in healthy ways and keep that tenderness as they grow up. One of the ways I try to do this is by not belittling their feelings. When they are upset and crying, I may say something like, “It’s okay to be sad, but it’s not okay to throw a fit.” or “It’s okay that you’re angry, but you can’t hurt other people.” In these ways, I try to acknowledge their feelings, while also teaching them healthier ways to express them.
If you too struggle raising boys, especially when they seem so different from you, I challenge you to reread Kristi’s post and discover how she became a student of her children. I also encourage you to slowly become a student of yours, and instead of fighting their God given gifts, pray about ways you can help them channel those gifts to an appreciation and service for God.
If you’re a reader, I’ve also listed several books below that are good reading as you play with your boys and try to learn more about the way God made them. God Bless you on your boy mom journey!