>I got such a huge blessing tonight and more direction and focus for raising my two boys. I honestly think I thought more about raising girls before I had boys, but when I had boys I realized that there was a huge calling on my life to raise God-fearing men. I have many thoughts, dreams, goals and desires for raising my two boys. Time is going by so much faster than I was prepared for, my oldest will be 5 in about three weeks and that means we’ve definitely got our foundation started, and it’s probably setting up. Maybe we’re even working on walls already, I’m not sure, but I do know that it is important to me to be intentional every day about training them up.
So about today…I got to spend the afternoon with my two boys, and my neighbors’ 4 year old daughter and 9 year old son. Unfortunately my friend injured her ankle severely and needed a ride to the medical clinic, so I drove her, then took the kids to play at a fast food joint with a jungle gym.
I got to watch this 9 year old boy in action, and boy was he good! He noticed right away that they didn’t bring my OJ with our food, so he went up and asked (politely!) for it, without me saying anything. He got ketchup for all of the younger kids. He brought straws. He made sure every body was taken care of, and once we were, he sat down to eat. He chose to sit on a “bar stool” style seat just over from us, because the booth was packed a little tight with 3 little ones and myself, but he turned around and checked on us several times.
I watched. I ate, I kept the little ones in check, and I watched. I thought about our culture, and how it is ever changing and growing. I watched what I considered a “boy” behave like a very mature young man, and I pondered. If, at 9 years old, he was already displaying that sort of protective concern over those he considered “his” at the moment, when did it begin? And does my 4 year old already do it? How about my 3 year old?
Then we went to the play place, and without ever being mean to any of the “other” children, he watched over and protected the three little ones. He also came and checked on me. He sat down beside me several times, made a small comment, asked if I needed anything, and went back to playing and guarding. Still, I watched. It’s no wonder that during the “pioneer days” we put them to work by the time they were 14, and they had a sense of purpose and felt like men; and were honored and respected at a young age for exhibiting such qualities.
I know we can’t go back to “frontier days” and live in homesteads, and send Pa to town for supplies twice a year, therefore giving the oldest a chance to be the man of the house for several days, learning from Pa’s example and Ma’s gentle voice the way to care for and protect those that our young men love. There has to be something we can do though.
I cannot stand to see this world of young adults, boys and girls, young twenty-somethings, who lack direction. Not all of them do, and I know that, but it seems like so many are changing their majors every semester, and just trying to find a sense of purpose. I hate to see men, young and old, cut to the core and torn down, left feeling like less than a man, less than able to provide and protect.
I’ve done it, don’t get me wrong. The time I spent as a wife was not always in perfect harmony, building up the confidence in my man to do the things he was called to do. I was down right harsh and cold at times. Shame on me. As I look at my young sons, my heart breaks at the thought of them being robbed of their passion for providing and protecting. I pray that God would give me the right words to lead them, guide them, shape them. I pray that God would lead and guide their Dad so that they have an earthly example to look up to. I pray for other wise, Godly men for them to look up to. I pray that they would see the example Jesus set, and how relevant it is to us still, and that they would walk down the narrow path.
I can’t do this alone, and as a Mom there is only so much I can teach them. Thankfully their Dad is involved, but let me tell you something, it is hard to let their Dad be a Dad sometimes. Sometimes I think he is doing it just plain wrong, and I want to remind him that scripture tells us not to exasperate our children: NIV: Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
In the KJV it says to not provoke them to wrath: KJV: Ephesians 6:4 – And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Sometimes I want to shut him down and shut him up. But you know what? Their Dad goes to work, so that he can provide, and he is trying. I would like to see him live into what God has for him, in a more complete way, with more purpose and intention. But you know what? Bickering is not going to bring about those changes. Prayer will. It was doing just that when I prayed for him more regularly, more intentionally. You know what though? I haven’t met a perfect Dad out there, aside from our Father in heaven… so why do I expect that from my sons’ Dad? Human Error. Forgive me.
So, as I’m thinking tonight, and seeking further direction, I know that I must make scripture a more integral part of their lives. We are reading through Proverbs currently. Then we will work on the gospels. I want them to have a passion for the words and the life of Christ. I will pray over them. I will pray for wisdom and guidance. I will exhibit patience. I will not give in to whining. I will require a respectful tone and attitude, while demonstrating one to the people I talk to, on the phone and in person. People I am closely acquainted with, and people I am only crossing paths with briefly. I will be intentional about learning creative methods for correction, and I will be just as intentional about noticing good behavior and praising it. I will give them choices so they can learn to make decisions.
I will fail. But I will not stop trying. I won’t always fail, and I won’t always succeed, but I will accept this, and I will admit this. I will ask them to forgive me when I miss it, and go overboard. Or under-board. I will respond when they request my attention. I will give them responsibilities and I will expect things of them. I will try to make my expectations clear and easy to understand.
They will fail. But I will not stop encouraging them to try. And I will not stop expecting things of them. I also will not brow-beat them for the failures. I will correct them, as gently as possible, and we will move on, and I will praise the successes.
We will pray. We will pray that the days lessons be taken to heart and that the Word of God will take root. We will pray that they understand the calling on their lives to serve God, and that they will live into it from a very early age. We will pray for wisdom and understanding.
And again, I will point out that we will fail. We won’t get it right every day or every time. But we won’t stop trying, because raising men that chase after the heart of God and live into what He has to offer is something I am passionate about.
Joshua 24:15 (King James Version)
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.