I get it. I understand (having been a preschool teacher for children with communication disorders…I really do understand). You’re trying to lead your class and teach children things like the color of an apple, what sound “B” makes & how to count to 10.
Then you have this little boy who disrupts that.
And so you handle it the best way you know how…you ask him to stop. And he says, “no.” You put him in time-out and he starts laughing and sticks his tongue out at you. He throws over a chair.
You send him to the director’s office in a justified response.
I get frustrated too. Sometimes I don’t know what to do either.
When you look at me, my insecurities assume your “concerned look” implies bad parenting.
But this isn’t my first rodeo.
I’ve seen some kind of behavior challenge with each of my boys around this age. With my first son it was an inability to control his emotions and with my second it was an impulse control issue. Now with my third it’s a problem with disrespect and stubbornness.
I don’t want to take your concern lightly, but…
There’s this part of me that says, “Yep. Yeah he is stubborn. And yes, we should give him boundaries of expectation and consequences for his behavior. But ultimately? The rest is up to him. “
I am confident he will change. There is no reason to spend much time or angst or energy on the “why”.
Because the “why” is…he’s sinful.
And the “why” is…that one?
That one hasn’t asked Jesus in his heart. He still hasn’t told us he believes in God or even cares that God can save him from all of these bad choices. And he’s hard-hearted.
So we have to love him.
I can’t expect him to have the spirit-filled fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control” when he doesn’t have the Holy Spirit.
His heart is not curbed. He’s acting from a childish self-centeredness (aren’t we all?)
Again, I don’t want to dismiss your concerns.
But I also don’t want to take your words as a personal assault against my ability to parent and I don’t want to paint him as so far gone, he can’t be redeemed.
Because I’ve seen how this turns out.
I’ve seen a boy who, at 4 years old, was described by a teacher as completely out-of-control be chosen at age seven, out of all the first graders, to quote Scripture in front of a thousand people.
I’ve seen another boy who, at 4 years old, a teacher suggested he should be observed by a psychologist, end up serving others with such a pure and sweet heart, you can’t deny there is something special God is doing with this one.
So I understand your concern.
Believe me. We want to pull our hair out at times, too.
But I’m not going to give up and I’m not taking it personally.
Because he’s just three. He’s learning.
And I’m learning. You’re learning.
None of us has arrived.
I understand if he acts out again. You’re going to have to call me. I’m going to have to pick him up.
And I really, really hope he doesn’t get kicked out of preschool.
But I know how things turn out if we keep loving, training, and guiding. It’s going to be okay.
The mom who just left your classroom with tear-filled eyes, but a hopeful heart
For moms who need more help in this area, Heather wrote a post on her on blog today called, “5 tips for when you learn your child isn’t perfect”. Click here.
Heather has been married for fourteen years and is the mother of four young boys (born exactly, to the day, within 6 1/2 years . . . just like she’d always planned). Heather writes about motherhood and chronicles the messy journey of “relentlessly replacing ‘me’ with ‘He’ — sharing the daily struggle of remaining God-centered while mothering four wild-at-heart, energetic, and often stubborn boys.
I opened the can of formula and looked around my house. Toys were strewn everywhere. Last night’s dinner dishes stared back at me from the sink and of course, my toddler was hungry. Three babies in four years had taken a toll, not to mention that we had moved to a new community just ten days before our second child was born. His brother would follow just a mere fifteen months later.
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mom. I’m beyond thankful to be be entrusted with three little hearts to help mold and grow and I would choose to do so again and again. I won’t ever regret becoming a mother.
I didn’t expect motherhood to be easy, but I also didn’t know it would be this hard.
I was lonely. I missed my friends from home. And while I love my husband, I needed girlfriends. Girlfriends who would “get” me because we both were rowing the same boat.
It’s so easy to quickly discount our friendships when life gets hectic. We tend to shove our friendships aside when our work schedule gets too busy or the demands at home keep us from even getting a shower or when there’s a family crisis. It’s our authentic friendships, though, that will help us stand after we’ve fallen. Heart sisters pull us up even when we don’t know we’ve fallen.
And let me tell you, as the mother of two little boys (and a spunky daughter), I am so thankful to have friends who help me to know what’s normal and what isn’t. Friends who say “Me too,” or “You’ll get through it.”
Friends who “get” me.
So if you’re wondering why you even need to have friends, here are five good reasons, boy mama:
1. Friendships aren’t just good for your mental health – they’re good for your physical health, too.According to Harvard University’s popular Nurses’ Study, women who do not have a strong network of female relationships pose the same risk to their health as habitual smoking and being overweight. Those with strong friendships have lower cholesterol and lower resting heart rates, too. We don’t just want friends – we need them.
2. Our girlfriends help us know we aren’t alone. C. S. Lewis once said “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another ‘What?! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Isn’t it refreshing to know that other women have lived through toddler tantrums or the angst-filled teenage years? Doesn’t it make you exhale just a bit to know your marriage isn’t the only one that struggles now and then? Aren’t you thankful to know your child isn’t the only one who’s ever battled anxiety? When we know we aren’t alone, we see that we can do this.
3. Friends help us understand our boys. Whoever said it takes a village to raise our children is correct. I am so thankful for my heart sisters who have sons because I can ask them if it’s normal for my sons to not ever want to take a shower or for them to despise having to write a story for homework or should they really be this loud? Boy stereotypes? Maybe. But it’s truth in our house. And since I am not of the male species and I don’t have a brother, boy behavior sometimes baffles me.
4. Our husbands won’t always understand where we’re coming from. Yes, some men are better at this than others. But let’s just be honest and admit . . . there are some things they just aren’t going to understand because they don’t think from the perspective of a woman – just like we don’t think from a perspective of a man.
5. We need to replace competition with camaraderie. It seems like our culture loves to glamorize catty behavior through television programs like “The Housewives of Wherever” and the reality show of the day. When we watch shows like this and read books and magazines with the same message, we start to subconsciously accept this kind of behavior and eventually, we expect this kind of behavior. If we truly want to change the culture of women, then we will need to replace competition with camaraderie. Don’t we want our boys to see women coming alongside one another instead of tearing each other apart?
I would love to share my new book, Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to Have, with you. I’m giving away five copies to M.O.B. readers . . . Just tell us in the comment section why you need girlfriends and you’ll be registered to win. Winners will be announced in two days on our Facebook page!
Natalie Chambers Snapp is first and foremost a follower of Jesus, then wife to Jason, and mom to one spunky daughter and two spirited sons that keep her young on a daily basis. She is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of Jesus and encouraging women to be free. Natalie lives in the Midwest with her crew and tries to channel her inner Brother Lawrence when she writes about finding faith in the everyday moments. She blogs at www.nataliesnapp.com in the free moments between shuttling children and writing the outpourings of her heart.
We all sat gathered around the table to celebrate my parents’ 45th wedding anniversary, and it was going quite well until my husband brought up the almost perfect game our nephew pitched the week before in his little league game.
My son’s eyes hit the floor, and his shoulders slumped, and I knew, that I knew, that I knew, what the problem was. In my best super amazing mom voice, I said…
“Son, I know what you’re thinking. You wish you were as good a pitcher as your cousin, but God made you you for a reason. You don’t have to be anyone else. Just be you.”
It was just the right blend of practical wisdom and spiritual truth, and I was proud of myself for thinking of it on the fly.
Unfortunately, that’s NOT what my son was thinking about. His reply?
“Mom, you don’t know what I was thinking about. I was thinking about girls in bikinis on beaches.”
Well, there you go. Clearly, I’m the best mom in the world. I was trying to speak godly wisdom into my nine year old’s heart and all the while he was thinking about itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis. Fabulous.
I was equal parts mortified and grateful. Mortified that he’d spoken the words out loud, and grateful because this kid just always tells it like it is. I never have to wonder too long about what’s happening in his heart.
Knowing what to do about it is a whole different story.
That’s why I’m so grateful that God has surrounded me with moms who really get it. Sometimes, you need to hear from other moms who have walked this road before you…or maybe moms who are on the same road as you walking just two or three paces ahead…
That’s why we created The Parenting Playbook for Christian Moms of Boys
Maybe you don’t have that group of moms surrounding you as you raise up godly men.
Maybe you’re walking this road alone, a pioneer among your family as you try to parent differently than you were parented.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit hopeless, or desperate to find godly wisdom from moms who understand what it’s like to raise boys.
As we looked around the internet, in Christian bookstores, libraries, and churches, we saw a distinct lack of information available to the boymom who needed a community to come alongside her, care for her, pray for her, equip her, and give her hope. We also saw moms who felt completely alone, like there was something wrong with them, or worse, something wrong with their boys.
So we asked 30+ of our favorite BoyMoms to share their wit and wisdom for raising boys. What we received from them is some of the funniest, most practical, biblical advice you’ll ever get on the subject.
Advice from moms like:
All of this phenomenal wisdom, gathered together in one place, is yours completely free!
That’s right! You can’t buy The Parenting Playbook for Christian Mothers of Boys. There’s only one way to get it, and that’s by subscribing to our free email newsletter, The BoyRaiser.
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You may not be able to see all the moms who have gone before you, cheering you on. But with The Parenting Playbook in your toolkit, you’ll hear them loud and clear.
Dinner ends and the dishwasher hums. The kids finally sleep and my husband works upstairs while I sink into my favorite living room chair alone.
I yearn to sit with a friend—to rehash my day, laugh about the silly things, and delve into deep connection about the weighty things, but I haven’t had a best friend for a long time and it’s no one’s fault but my own.
When my life fell apart in my late twenties, all my friendships vanished except one. Building new, authentic, and connected relationships over the past fifteen years has proven to be like walking up a descending escalator—climbing toward closeness for awhile, then drifting downward again, as distance and busyness block the way.
I have friends, but not daily ones. There’s a distinct difference between a once-a-month connection and a close friend. Often, I sit alone in that chair at the end of the day and loneliness crushes me like a vice.
Being alone doesn’t cause loneliness, but all lonely people feel alone.
Over the years I’ve pondered how to step onto the ascending escalator which takes me to a close friend. I dream of her finding me, pursuing me, being asked instead of doing the asking. I ache from the loneliness and long for that ache to be caused by a temporary acute virus instead of a chronic illness of my own soul.
In situations of loneliness I’ve heard it said that Jesus is all I need. It’s a tightly packaged response with an over-spiritualized and overly simplistic conclusion.
I already have Jesus in my life every day, and Jesus is not all I need.
Jesus sees me and knows me and loves me no matter what. He is with me always. He’s given me His Word to empower, instruct, and inspire me, to know His character and be reassured of His love, but He’s not here in the flesh. He’s not here to drink hot tea with me on my couch as I fold laundry in the afternoon. He can not physically walk with me in my neighborhood, and he doesn’t meet me at Starbucks for a Trenta-peach-iced-tea to talk through the hopes and dreams and disappointments of my week.
Jesus is Spirit. And He is with us, but He is not all I need.
It’s been a different season for me. I’m homeschooling without the connection of a co-op community this year—serving with my husband at a church too many miles away to be heavily involved. I’m podcasting, talking through mud stories with amazing people every week, but it’s not the same as sitting with them in person face to face as I face a mud story of my own.
There’s just something soothing about the physical presence of a friend—seeing the expressions on their face, feeling their embrace, being seen and knowing we’re not alone.
I miss that.
God made us for one another. His constant presence with us doesn’t replace the craving within us for the companionship of a friend.
It’s His design for us to enjoy relationship—to not only enjoy it, but to thrive because of it—as we listen, hold up, and encourage each other face to face.
Just as Jesus had people—his twelve—three of whom he was extremely close to, we need people, too.
If you love Jesus, read His Word, and abide in Him, but still feel the nag of a lonely heart, may you know today you are not alone. God wants to bless each one of us with deep and satisfying friendship and community, but His plan may not materialize in the way we’d imagined.
The only way to the other side of loneliness is through.
God promises to be with us in our loneliness, as we limp through our suffering, no matter how difficult it may seem.
5 Tips to Walking Through Loneliness and Finding a Friend
1. Enjoy the companionship of God in this lonely season. Read your Bible, journal, and pray
2. Embrace the stretching growth God desires to do in you during this season. Ask God to show you areas of your own heart that need His repair. Resist bitterness, resentment and anger. Surrender to change with a humble and teachable spirit.
3. Ask God to show you a potential friend to reach out to right where you are. Open your eyes to see what might be an opportunity you’d never noticed before. Be aware and don’t be afraid to look where you haven’t looked before.
4. Reach out to just one person via text, phone, or email. Take a risk. Be courageous. Go out on a limb. One thing is sure, you’re guaranteed not to find a friend if you do nothing.
5. Become the friend you long to have. Give 100%. Give as you would want given to you. Offer transparency and give it space and time to grow.
Have you been feeling lonely lately?
What tip is your biggest challenge as you pursue finding a friend?
It can paralyze you if you let it. Keep you up at night. Diminish your appetite.
And for good reason.
The world is rife with treacherous opportunities to be afraid. Very afraid. ISIS is hell-bent on beheading Christians. Airplanes vanish out of thin air, only be found in pieces over vast oceans. Terrible diseases like Ebola have no respect for borders. Closer to home, kids shoot kids, drugs are readily available, and car accidents are a daily occurrence.
Fear doesn’t even have to be that dramatic to darken the door of our hearts as moms. We can lay awake at night about that bully at school or over a child’s mysterious illness that simply can’t be diagnosed. A mother’s heart has plenty of room to worry about whether or not they should be homeschooling or how they can afford to buy more organic produce for family meals. It makes a mom want to put her son on her lap and keep him there forever!
Our hearts were created for courage but fear clogs the arteries of hope.
Moms, if you are anxious about the world around you and what that will mean for your sons, take your eyes off of circumstances and headlines and place them onto your Heavenly Creator who holds it all in His careful grip. Jesus came to give us life to the full, but fear will always leave us on empty.
God understands the human tendency towards fear, but He doesn’t want us to be afraid:
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:8
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you. Psalm 55:22-23
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6
Fear not, moms. God’s got it. Trust Him. Trust Him with every aspect of your own life and entrust your children to Him as well. He loves them even more than you do, and not one hair of their heads will fall if it is not ultimately for their good and God’s glory.
Go into today with strength and courage, expecting victory over fear. It is no match for a mom armed with truth and ruled by peace. Don’t allow Satan to rob you of the good all around you, waiting to be noticed and enjoyed. President Roosevelt was right, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
A Prayer For A Mother Who Is Afraid
Dear Heavenly Father,
I know that You are with me and my children wherever we go. But sometimes, I’m afraid for my kids. I need you to remove my fears and replace them with Your peace that passes all understanding. Help me, Lord, to put my trust in You, knowing that You love us and work all thing for our good. Thank You for Your Word which speaks the Truth to my heart and gives me courage. In Jesus Name, Amen!
A former high school English teacher and budding novelist, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 3 little boys under the age of 6. She and her husband Guy answered the calling to start Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach in Santa Monica, CA or baking her famous Triple Layer Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at www.MotherOfKnights.com
Here at The MOB Society we are committed to equipping and encouraging parents to raise godly men. And as a community of BoyMoms, we’re learning to delight in the chaos of raising boys along the way! Click here to read more about our story and the heart behind our ministry. And to meet our co-founders Brooke and Erin and the rest of the team, click here.
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