I have boys. Two wonderful, obnoxious, interesting and overwhelming boys. They are 9 and 11. Soon they will be 10 and 12 and after that? Before I know it?
They will be out of my house and into their own lives.
I hope and pray that we will be able to do all we can to teach them to be the godly, hard-working, respectable and honorable men that I see them capable of becoming. These future men, of whom I catch glimpses nearly every day, are my inspiration.
The younger is passionate. He adores me. Hugs me. Kisses me. Compliments me. All. Day. Long. He is, quite simply, engineered to adore. His kitten, his pets, his friends. With all of his heart, from the pinky toe to the birthmark above his left ear. He loves.
That is my boy.
The older boy is thoughtful. Kind. Considerate. Loyal. He will do whatever he sees he can do to make your life more comfortable. He will serve you until he is exhausted and work beyond the exhaustion if he thinks it necessary. He gives. It is his nature.
He worries about me and tears up at arguments. He wants to bring peace in any way he can. Even while I tell him it is not his responsibility to do so and order him to quit worrying.
“But how can I, Mom? I just love you guys so much.”
Huh… How, exactly, does one answer that?
These boys are priceless to us. From the moment they took their first breath we have poured hours, months, days and years into them. We have labored over their education, their instruction, their character and their faith. We have been honest with them and required honesty from them.
I have demanded they treat every human being in their life with respect and dignity. They are challenged to be inclusive and considerate. To offer what they can of themselves and not expect others to serve them. I have seen them work harder and serve more faithfully than most adults I’ve been in contact with.
They open doors for me and offer their arm so I don’t slip on a sidewalk. Even at their young age, they encourage me in my personal endeavors. Even if they don’t understand why.
So, please bear with me if I get a bit Mama Bear on you.
Their father and I are intent on raising gentlemen. Intelligent, well-spoken, godly gentlemen. Please be aware that I will expect the young ladies in their acquaintance to behave with comparable quality.
My children will not be permitted to flaunt their underpants. Teach your daughter to keep hers covered as well. My children are being taught to speak well of their friends in their absence. Especially in their absence. When asked their opinion, these two boys have been encouraged and required to speak the truth. Kindly whenever possible. But the truth even if kindness is not possible.
I would appreciate the friendship of a young lady who does the same. Please be aware that their father and I will do our best to expose to them behaviors we personally find repulsive, explain the destructive nature of whatever it is they might be experiencing and continue to encourage them to keep and maintain a high standard for all of their relationships. I have told them, over and over again, of the amazing and precious gift it is to have a friend and that they should carefully maintain their relationships. People are valuable. People are not commodities and are irreplaceable. Unforgettable.
Just as we see them.
We have not poured, without reserve, our lives into our children to see them hit and decimated by the freight train of an untrained, undisciplined and manipulative little princess. We will be the watchmen on the wall. We will do what we can to teach them to see what their innocence and naiveté would keep from them. We will pray for discernment to grow and be cultivated in their lives.
I believe there are young women out there who will be the friends my sons need to establish a healthy baseline of coed friendship. Such as it is. I pray for those young women. Or rather continue to pray as I have prayed in the past.
A few days ago, we had the opportunity to talk to our sons about the observed behavior of two of their friends. Boy and girl, aged 12 and 14. Sitting in a dark room, holding hands while watching a movie.
End of the world? Cataclysmic?
Actually? It was extremely tame considering the behavior I engaged in at that age.
Did we condemn the two hand holders? Of course not.
We chose, instead, to talk to our children about the measure of respect they should possess for the physical presence of someone else’s daughter. Someone else’s future wife. We told them to respect themselves enough to not offer what they could not promise. A companionship and commitment they couldn’t possibly be capable of following through with.
We didn’t tell them that physical contact was wrong, we stressed inappropriate liberties and the indulgence in a profound dis-respect for the individuality of another person and themselves.
It is not out of shame, guilt or prudishness that we wish our boys to learn self-control. It is so they would learn to honor the gift of another person’s presence and the quality of their character before being captivated and blinded by proximity and physicality.
These are my sons. I will do all I can to train them to be providers, protectors, husbands and fathers. To be men of faith and strong, godly character.
They are my greatest treasure and the most profound offering of my life will be to serve and equip them to serve the Lord.
I’m sure you can understand when I tell you that I will also teach them to not settle for a companion or a mate whose parents have not had a comparable passion for their child. I will warn them of the kind of parents who produce young women solely interested in personal gratification, physical appearances, selfish mind games and manipulation.
I am teaching them to expect intelligent discourse and honesty, cooperative effort, concern for the other and devotion to the Lord. From all their friends. As I expect it from them. As they expect it from me and their father.
It’s not rocket science, folks. Its prayer and conscience, diligence and hard work and I’m no more capable than anyone else. Not by a long shot.
But it does cut into my personal time… Even when I’m tired. It most definitely requires lengthy and lengthier conversations the older they get and the more discerning they become.
It requires prayer and study of the Word. I must make the time for long conversations between their father and myself as we try to form our own thoughtful responses before we give them an off-hand reaction.
I have to say “No” to some things, protect them from others and put them in situations they may not like to broaden their horizons. Even if they don’t understand and often when they complain.
I don’t expect them to like me. That’s not part of the equation every day. It’s lovely when it happens and I am immensely grateful for the prevailing sweetness of our relationship. It’s simply not the case every day. I encourage them to question the decisions, I require them to respect the answer. I discipline rebelliousness. Especially when it is only the small seeds that sprout up and wreak havoc in the little ways throughout the day. .
I will do the best I can so their wives will be blessed by them. I’ll even teach them to cook and do laundry.
I pray every day for women to match them. And as long as they are in my house? I will do what I can to protect them from the women who don’t.