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.