The Essence Of A Boy

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27

I’m obviously a female.  So how does a female come to understand a male?  A budding one at that and how do I reconcile that with God’s own image?  How do I instill obedience and still leave room for the spirit of a boy?

I’m reading a great book that is giving me a glimpse of the process of boyhood to manhood, “Wild Things: the Art of Nurturing Boys.”

I’m very passionate about raising Godly boys and not remaking their spirits into something that I’m comfortable with.  Given my own tendencies, I would be telling my boys no all day.  NO, don’t hit your stick on the bricks.  NO, don’t yell.  NO, don’t jab your stick into the bushes.  NO, don’t swipe at your brother’s head.  NO, don’t mess with bugs.  NO, don’t run like a banshee through the house chasing your brother and absolutly NO jumping in mud puddles or throwing things into mud puddles.

These are all very much part of what makes a boy.  Boys have the desire instilled in them to be an explorer, a warrior and a lover.  I love the pictures of my boys running down the sidewalk, yelling, with sticks in their hands and smiling from ear to ear.  It’s the perfect picture of the essence of boys.  The mom in me really wants to say slow down because you are going to fall with a dangerous  stick in your hands.  But by God’s own grace, I am able to let go and enjoy my little boys, running with sticks and all.  It will also be by God’s grace that learn how to discipline those boys and not break their spirit.  The how of doing this is what I’m learning every day and making errors in the practicing of this every day.  While I don’t know exactly how this all plays out in my parenting, I do know what will happen if I don’t plan for and intentionally let my boys be boys.  I’m reminded of my favorite quote, “Hope is not a plan.”   Without a physical outlet to prove their masculinity, they will either withdraw emotionally or become over physical in an unhealthy way.  How can a boy or man represent God and share the power of His love if the boy has shut down emotionally?   If they don’t get that chance to explore now, what will they explore when they are too old to have mom and dad watching out for them?  When the searching has bigger consequences than a skinned knee.  The thought of my boys searching the depths of women or extreme competition in sports makes me take seriously helping my boys become the explorers, warriors and lovers now.  I have a thought that keeps weighing on my mind.  The way I raise my boys now doesn’t just affect how I parent in the future.  It affects my future daughter in law and my future grandchildren.  Will my boys choose to watch sports any chance they get instead of spending some time doing things with their wife?  Will my boys show their boys how to run, swing a sword and camp or will they be off trying to explore what they missed out on during childhood?  They will be dealing with the blessings or deficiencies of my mothering.  I take comfort in the mercy and grace that God has granted parents.   He stands in and covers my mistakes when I fail.  While I trust in that, I know God lets us experience the consequences of our decisions and I do not intend on using that mercy to justify my lack of learning good parenting.

Other women have gone before me raising wonderful, Godly boys into men.  They are the women that I’ll be seeking to show me how to live this out daily in the details.  If you have any good insights on how this is done, please share them with me.  For now, I’ll be embracing the wild abandoned running, with the sticks and the poking of gross bugs and learn to appreciate this side of God’s creation.  This is the easiest age to begin learning to let boys be boys.  I know it only gets tougher as they grow older.  It’s hard to look at my boys and picture God running around just as crazy as they are.  While God may or may not actually run like crazy, He has given them the male characteristics that are in His personality.  May we as moms see past these earthly bodies and get a small glimpse of the God who created us in His image to be male and female.  May we raise a generation of men who have learned how to reflect the male glory of our God.

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Tot School 24.5mo twins – What Can You Do With a Rainbow?

A sweet friend recently gave me some left over fabric to make a felt board.  Our library reading time uses the felt board for so many things that I thought we’d give it a try.  I made a very crude and very easy rainbow so we could work on our colors.  I laid each color on the board and had the twins say the color after me.  Then the boys got carried away and started putting all the colors at different spots on the board.  Not what I would have done, but they were saying the colors as they moved them around so I just went with it.  Learning, however way it comes, is the point that I had to remind myself.  Once the novelty of the rainbow ended, I realized that I could rearrange the pieces to make a face.  So the boys touched each part as I called them out and then I had them touch that same feature on their own faces.  They already know their body parts, but a review done in a fun way goes a long way in taking up time and spreading some giggles around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the color theme was working for us and I just stayed with it for the past two days.  We have these fun, squishy, soft, yellow and blue blocks.  The boys have way to much fun knocking them down.  So I asked them to alternate the yellow and blue color blocks in the stack.  Their personalities really came out during this.  Lance wants to grab a block and slap it up there.  James looks for the right color, holds it with both hands and tries to set it on the stack neatly lined up.  I make the boys go back to the couch and wait until I say go before they come running at the tower.  While James has control over building, he doesn’t have control over his impulse to run ahead of his brother before mom says go.  I’ve learned that I need to stay in front of the tower until I give the go or else someone will inevitably crash into it before it’s time.  It’s especially sad when James has so carefully stacked the blocks to have Lance crash into it and James’ face looks very sad.  At least I’m thankful that they haven’t learned to retaliate, in this specific situation.  I didn’t get any pictures of the tower, but I did get pictures of the blocks laid out in a pattern that I asked them to do and then we counted the blocks as the boys stepped on each one.

 

The last thing with color was a craft.  I know other twin moms will back me up here or moms with several young ones very close together in age.  Crafts are hard.  There are moments when you’re working with one that the other feels the freedom to glue things that shouldn’t be glued, eat things that shouldn’t be eaten or rip a page in to.  It’s a constant reminder that I’m not really in control.  I do wish there was an easier way for God to show me that though.  So we went outside and gathered up fallen leaves.  We brought them back in to the table where I placed them as far away from the boys as possible.  I drew a tree trunk and taped the page in front of the boys.  They each had some time to color the trunk in whatever color they wanted.  I put a small amount of glue on the top of the page and showed the boys how to put the leaves on the glue.  They are two years old.  So it didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted.  I helped James put two leaves on, went over to help Lance and saw that James was having a ball moving the two leaves to a new spot every two seconds.  The glue was getting all over the leaves and James.  So I went to help James quickly finish putting all the leaves on and saw Lance doing exactly what James had been doing.  You would think they were apes with all the copying going around here.  So I finished up with James and promptly removed his paper to dry.  Then repeated with Lance. 

 

After the trees dried, I put them up on the refrigerator.  When we went over to talk about the color of the tree trunks and the leaves, each boy had a big smile on his face.  I’m assuming they liked knowing that their art was on display or maybe they were fondly remembering the mess they had created.  After that we sat at the table and just played with the left over leaves.  What started out was just a rainbow and it led to two fun days discovering colors.  I hope you enjoy all the colors of God’s beautiful creation too.

Tot School 24.5mo twins – Biscuits

The shape of the month is the circle. 

I love cooking.  Biscuit cutters are circles.

We need to make biscuits with the circular biscuit cutter!

A friend came over last Friday and we did some messy baking.  I just love sharing my passion of cooking with little ones.  They don’t quite get the whole idea but every time they make something they understand a little bit more.  So here’s the play by-play of the adventure.

Aprons on & everyone’s clean.

 

I measured out the ingredients, the kids took turns dumping it in. Now they are using the electric mixer to form the dough.

 

It gets a little messy!

 

Spreading flour out on the rolling cloth.

 

Rolling

Rolling

And a little bit of sampling along the way.

I forgot to take pictures when the kids where cutting out the dough.  When all the biscuits were laying on the sheets, we counted them together before I slid them into the oven.  Then off to the bathroom we went for some cleanup of the hands and faces. 

The biscuits didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to.  They tasted fine, but they looked like pancakes.  I talked to my boys about how God doesn’t expect  us to be perfect and neither do mommy & daddy.  It’s the process of doing and learning from our mistakes that counts.  Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out and that is ok.  I pray that these little teaching moments will sink into their little hearts.  I pray that I’ll give them the freedom in other areas to try and be there when they fail, to help heal the hurt, look for the learning and encourage them to try again.

Do you have a passion that you have shared with your kids?  Painting, carpentry, cooking, singing or organizing?  Tell me about your adventure into that passion with your kids.

The Things I Treasure

The boys have been down right cranky the past few days and the tot school activities haven’t gone so well.  For example, we took a box lid, put some orange paint in the lid and rolled two marbles around to make art.  The marbles stuck in the paint and wouldn’t move much, then the boys picked them up and sent the marbles flying, paint and all.  Then they each cried that they had paint on their hands and wanted to wash their hands.

This morning I had the blessing of my mom watching the boys while I cleaned my house upstairs.  Wonderful and glorious was my mood.  So no tot school at all this morning.  While James and Lance are sleeping, I’ve had time to think about all those little things that I treasure about my boys.  So as I listed each one below, I’ve praised God for giving me that little treasure and mercy in my little boys.

1.  They both love to sing & they do it spontaneously & often.

2.  Lance loves to laugh.

3.  They both end prayers at night with Father Amen.  Very sweet & cute.

4.  They both say I’m sorry & Forgiven to each other.  Sometimes in the reverse order, but their on the right track.

5.  The excitement of finding pennies and putting them in the piggy bank.

6.  Lance doesn’t know a stranger.  He loudly says hi to everyone.

7.  You can’t read too many books to James.

8.  Gentle little kisses on the cheek from Lance.

9.  Popping soap bubbles with sticks.

10.  Impromptu dance parties.

11.  Throwing & rolling balls to each other.

12.  Playing chase with a tambourine.

13.  Building megablock towers and knocking them down.

14.  Splashing through water puddles, mud and all.

15.  Hearing phrases of Bible stories that the boys remember.

These are just a few of my treasures I’ve thought about today.  What are those precious things about your children that make you smile?  Lift them up to God and praise Him from whom all blessings flow.  Feel free to leave a comment telling me a few of your treasures.  I’d love to hear about them.

Tot School 24mo twins – Pumpkins, Socks, Mirrors, Balls

Mondays are usually a bit rough, since we are coming off the weekend.  This morning wasn’t perfect, but it was sure a lot of fun.  While you read this, please remember that I said it wasn’t all perfect.  In between almost activity this morning I had James crying about one thing or another and just being impatient and selfish.  I have days like that too, so I understand.  I kept reminding myself that this too shall pass and during the activities there was lots of laughter.   After breakfast, we got in the stroller and walked over to the neighborhood pumpkin patch.  Cornerstone United Methodist Church puts out the pumpkins and does a fabulous job.  If you’re in the Richardson, TX area, check it out.  It was early enough that we had the place all to ourselves.  We talked about how the pumpkins felt, the color orange, the brown & green stems, the yellow hay on the ground and we talked about shapes.  I don’t mean just the circle either.  They have these terrific tiny pumpkins that are star-shaped and yellow and big oblong, rectangular pumpkins too.  I showed the boys how to thump the pumpkin and we listened to all the different sounds.  That should have been the only senses that we used, but Lance thought they were yummy when he licked and tried to take a bite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got back home, I turned on the radio and we clapped out the beat to a few songs and had a dance moment.  James really gets into the dancing.  Then I grabbed a pair of my small white socks, a pair of Phil’s long white socks, a pair of white/blue kid’s socks and a red pair of kid’s socks.  My intention was to show them the different socks and to have them match them up.  James cried and sat in lap refusing to even look at the socks and Lance was intent on putting dad’s socks on.  While I was starting to get frustrated, I reminded myself that if they don’t have fun, the teaching should stop.  They aren’t at the age yet where any of this learning is mandatory.  So I let them do their own thing and a few minutes later while I was holding dad’s sock in my hand, Lance brought the mate over and he ended up matching all four pair.

 

Next we pulled out the long mirror and laid it flat on the floor.  We looked over and watched our reflections.  It’s funny hearing them try to say reflection.  They walked across the mirror and looked at the reflection of the bottom of their brother’s feet.  They found it to be really fun laying down on the mirror, putting their faces down on the mirror and arching up to a bridge pose all while watching themselves.  It was a big hit.

 

Since we walked all over the mirror, you can imagine that it needed a good cleaning.  So I gave each boy a paper towel, I grabbed one too and I lightly sprayed the mirror with Windex.  I try to get most of the liquid up before the boys start wiping because I never know when one of them will take a bite out their paper towel.  Since they love to clean, we worked on the fireplace and the kitchen windows too.  Nothing like having a few more arms around the house to clean.  The morning went so well that I can’t pinpoint one thing out as the mercy for the day.  This whole morning was a delightful blessing and I’m praising God for it.  I hope you enjoy your Monday too!

Catching Up

Wow, I’ve had a very busy and very hard past two weeks.  Hence the void in my blog.  We’ve been to the state fair, dealt with sickness, doctor visits, near  accidents, two bible studies and the list could go on.  At the top of the list is my twins’ terrible twos disobedience.  By the time I’ve warned, given consequences, followed through only to turn around and do it again for brother countless times during the day, I’ve been too tired to write about it.  So let’s just say, it was bad.  Moms will have times like this and I’m praying my bad attitude about it will disappear too.  What has gone well during this chaos that I credit as God’s mercies?  Let’s talk about that shall we?

The color for the month is orange and the shape is a circle.  We had a friend over last week to do crafts with us.  My favorite was using marshmallows to paint orange circles all over construction paper.  Of course my boys decided to try a few bites, paint and all.

 

There’s a crazy tale to tell about how I got the beads for our stringing activities.  I went to a local craft store and got a bag of wooden beads, but they are way too expensive so I decided to go to a local discount bead place.  Mind you, the boys were still tired from going to the fair the day before so I should have known.  The boys decided it would be fun to yell.  I finally took them outside, let them scream all they wanted, went back inside only to find that they started screaming again and they were laughing about it.  The cashier was giving me looks, I wasn’t concentrating and that was when one of the boys pulled over a loose bead display.  I was horrified.  I couldn’t possibly sort and pickup all the scattered beads while my boys continued to scream.  I quickly purchased what I had in my hands, apologizing as I went, got out the car, looked at my receipt and realized that a few of my beads were more expensive than what I thought they were and ended paying the same amount as the craft store bag, but with far less beads.  We went home with my very expensive collection of beads.  I am so thankful that the boys loved stringing the beads.  We used shoe strings because it has a great stiff end for the initial threading and the thickness keeps the beads from sliding off the other end.

 

I bought two baby pumpkins and we had a ball with them.  They are the perfect color orange and somewhat of a circle.  So we talked about that.  Then I gave the boys a paint brush each with some green washable paint and let them go to it.  Then I showed them how to sprinkle a little glitter onto the wet paint.  I have to say it looks pretty good after it dried.  It’s now sitting in my entryway.  This morning, I didn’t get any pics of doing this, but we took the other pumpkin, a nail and one of dad’s hammers.  I let the boys hold the hammer and I just guided the end so it would hit the nail and not my kitchen floor.  We pounded holes all over that pumpkin.  I’ll be gutting it out tonight and setting a small candle in it so light will pour out of all the holes.  It should be pretty.

 

The best day of the last two weeks was fair day.  Learning was around every corner.  From petting animals, naming them, making their sounds, watching African dancers, seeing quilts, watching puppets and playing in cars.  The fair offers a lot all packaged into fun.  I’m hoping that next week will settle down a bit so I can go back to taking pictures of our tot school and have the time and energy to write about them.  I pray that you will have a good week too.

Tot School 24mo twins – Impromtu Change

Yesterday I got our schedule of things to do in tot school.  I just could not believe that this guide suggested giving my just turned 2yr olds three cards that matched a story and having the boys sequence them in the right order.  That seems to be outside the usual thought process of a 2yr old.  I debated with myself on whether I should just try to coax my boys along in this project or just leave it be.  It made me really think about evaluating  what “the experts” say I need to be doing with my twins.  I know experts do have valid reasons for suggesting what a child should work on, but as a mom I have to use my brain to determine if the concept is really age appropriate and if it is appropriate for my boys’ temperaments.  After some debating with myself, we scratched the project and moved on to an impromptu project.

This isn’t the only time that I’ve had to make a decision to just do something different.  Last week I added and took out some of the things from our unit on Jesus calling the fishermen to be disciples.  On one of those afternoons where we were changing it up I had the thought that we haven’t introduced cooking into our learning yet.  There’s a lot to learn with cooking that can be  fun.  Cooking doesn’t go with the fishing theme and that’s ok.  I set out all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies, since that’s dad’s favorite.  I pulled up two kitchen chairs to the counter and plopped my boys atop of them and began our fun.  I’m amazed at what a 2yr old can do in the kitchen when I let go and not worry about the possible mess.  Lance is great at measuring out the ingredients by himself.  James knows how to hold and move the electric mixer all on his own.  I do have to start and stop it for him though.  They each will hold the spoon upside down so momma could push the dough into the cookie sheets.  I couldn’t believe how much they could do and do it with minimal help.  The ear to ear grins as they accomplished each step was priceless and I could tell it was a great confidence booster.   So as a reminder to moms, you know your kiddos and what they might be able to do.  Leave the hesitation behind of the cleanup, the hassle or the should I and any other thing that is holding you back.   Then watch as your children will amaze you.  Sometimes those impromptu changes can be a mercy in disguise.