Two blonde boys, one tall, muscular, and a natural athlete. The other one is younger, skinnier, and also a natural athlete. One of them, however, has the tenacity to go with his talent, and this one factor takes his natural athleticism and punches it up a notch.
On the soccer field or the baseball diamond, our two boys are competitors through and through. Most nights they come home crusted in dirt, sweaty, sometimes teary depending on who won and just how physical the game got in the backyard. They are one another’s greatest rivals when it comes to all things sports related, but I also want them to be each other’s greatest fans.
Brothers have a natural bent toward competition. It is in their little male nature to want to one-up the guy next to them, and the closest guy will most likely be the one living under the same roof.
A little good-natured sibling rivalry isn’t a bad thing. Competition will make all of us try a little harder and want to be a little better, but how do we help the competitive boys in our midst move beyond the playing field, and mold them into not only one another’s greatest challengers, but also each other’s number one cheerleaders?
Here are three ways to encourage your competitive boys to become one another’s greatest fans both on and off the field:
1.) Let Them Play Together as Often as Possible
It isn’t uncommon for the younger of my two boys to be a little better at sports. Spending more time playing with older boys pushes him athletically, and he will either rise to the occasion or quit trying to keep up. This is an opportunity for both boys to enjoy healthy competition together in the safety of your back yard.
This is also the perfect place for them to learn and practice good sportsmanship. I have one child who takes losing very, very personally. I’d rather the meltdowns occur here than on a public field. Every day he’s learning to temper his need to win by congratulating his brother on a good game–even if he has to say congratulations through gritted teeth.
2.) Don’t Overpraise One of the Brothers
Both of our boys are gifted baseball players. One is a great pitcher, the other excels at first base. Pointing out their individual gifts within the same sport keeps some of the jealous competition at bay. This can be challenging, however, when we’re in a group setting and one of the boys is singled out for his ability in front of the other.
As mothers, we often recognize the differences in our children’s abilities before others, and we have the task of not pitting them against one another. It’s best to watch how often you speak of one brother’s talent in front of the other, and to instead, praise and build up both boys for their individual gifts.
3.) Encourage Them to Cheer One Another On
As often as possible, the brothers should attend one another’s games, and it should be expected that they watch and cheer one another on. They should be the first to stand up and give a joyful shout when brother makes a good play. This communicates an I’ve-got-your-back mentality that will give each brother a boost of confidence, and will ignite a special kind of life-long camaraderie.
It’s also wise to keep them from coaching one another from the sidelines. Let them encourage, not instruct, in order to preserve the brotherly bond.
Brothers born with a competitive drive to be the best also have the potential to be the largest influencers for athletic success in one another’s lives. When those athletic, competitive brothers become each other’s super fans, they will not only spur one another on to be better, stronger, tougher, and fiercer, but they will also know that at the end of the day, brotherhood and family supersede sports.
To understand the history of sibling rivalry, head to Genesis and re-read the story of Jacob and Esau. If ever there was a cautionary tale of playing favorites, that was it.
Finally, for those of you raising athletic challenges, here is an old post I wrote on how to keep your children, and yourself, humble in sport.
Kelli Stuart is a writer and a mom of four who spends most of her days shuttling children from one event to another in her smokin’ hot minivan. For years, Kelli perfected the art of the starving artist by ghost writing, editing, and writing newsletters back when newsletters were actually printed on paper. In 2008, Kelli discovered blogging when her then-youngest was a newborn. She launched her first site, Minivans Are Hot, as a way to write about the often baffling and hilarious business of being a mother knowing that if she didn’t laugh at life, she just might cry. She’s recently transitioned to a new space online where she loves connecting with creative-heart moms to encourage them to continue developing and using their creative gifts for God’s glory! You can find her over at KelliStuart.com — Kelli currently lives in Tampa, Florida where she tries hard to concentrate on balancing her love of writing with her desire to sit on the beach and read a good book.
It’s been almost four years since we lost our third baby.
That fact alone absolutely astonishes me. To think that I could have a three-year-old named Alex running around our house right now makes me smile, feel overwhelmed and very sad all at the same time.
During the time directly after our miscarriage I often felt as if God was withholding from me. I knew him to be a big, strong, mighty God. Creator of the Universe, hanger of the stars, mover of mountains. It just seemed like he didn’t want to move any mountains for me.
Have you ever asked yourself that question? God, I know you’re big enough to change the mess I’m in, so what gives? Don’t you love me enough? Do I not matter to you enough for you to do something? Anything?
I did a lot during that time. Knowing what God was capable of and watching him withhold it was one of the most difficult issues of faith I’ve ever known. At 37, I still find myself mad at God from time-to-time when he doesn’t do what I think he should. But I’m learning there’s purpose in our pain.
Here are four lessons I learned about God from my miscarriage:
1. God doesn’t withhold.
He doesn’t take just for the sake of taking. He always takes to give. If you’re still in the midst of your mess it’s because he has more of himself to give you that you can only learn inside the mess. That’s a hard lesson, and I don’t profess to understand it completely. Nor do I mean to make healing after such a major loss sound trite, but the truth is that God is a giver…and the thing he most wants to give you is more of himself.
2. God wants you to cry out to him in your pain.
He knows this world stinks. He knows it’s painful to walk through the messes life brings. Some of them come from our sinful choices, and some of them seem to happen no matter how righteous a life we live. Regardless, he wants us to come to him when life hurts. He’s the God who bends down to listen (Psalm 116:2) and he wants to comfort us with his word and his presence.
3. God WILL comfort you.
Can I be honest? There were times after our loss that I didn’t want God to comfort me. I didn’t want to read the Psalms, or listen to how God was faithful because it didn’t FEEL like God was being faithful to me. What I learned is that my feelings don’t always tell the truth. In fact, the times when I’m MOST emotional are the time my feelings lie to me most. Just because I don’t feel like God is listening doesn’t mean he’s not. His word tells me he is. There comes a time when we have to make a choice to believe what the word of God says, despite how we feel. My experience says that when we do that, faith and comfort will follow.
4. God gives us faith.
I can’t count the times I prayed this prayer in the aftermath of my miscarriage (and honestly, I still do…so often): God give me faith to believe you’re here and that you love me enough to get us through this. I’ve learned that if I don’t have enough faith on my own, God can and will give it to me. Mark 9:24 tells a story of a father in desperate need for healing for his son. Jesus told him anything was possible for those who believe. His answer? Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. If you have any amount of faith whatsoever, give it to Jesus, and ask him to give you enough to get through your mess. He wants to give you faith. He wants to see you overcome in his name. He’ll be faithful to give you faith.
If you’ve suffered any kind of pregnancy loss—miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion—would you let us know in the comments? We would love to cover you in prayer today and ask the Lord to help you heal.
My husband and I were both raised in rural towns, went to public schools, and did a variety of team sports throughout the year. I loved the rhythm and routine of the seasons and the regular schedule. I liked the comfort and security of the way I grew up, and I really hoped to one day raise a family the same way.
But something happened when my husband chose to do his medical residency in Hawaii. We fell in love with a new way of life. Before we knew it, we moved to the country. We started homeschooling. And suddenly I found myself living anything but the traditional life I had always imagined. Our boys began to surf and skate, but we don’t have many team sports even available to us. This was all at once lovely and completely uncomfortable to me.
One of my boys is a competitive surfer, so our days revolve around the waves and year-round contests. For him this life is great, but sometimes I worry about the other boys. I imagine that my middle son especially would thrive in a more traditional school setting, doing traditional sports, living more of what I always imagined to be a traditional life. If I start to compare our life to the lives of others, I can get anxious and worried. We simply don’t have all of the options that we would if we lived somewhere different. This leads me to wonder– Am I giving all of my boys enough? Would they be happier in a traditional school setting? Will I ever regret this life we have chosen?
And the truth is, I’m not certain about any of that.
But here’s a few things I have learned:
1. No two families will ever be alike. It is useless to compare your family to your neighbor’s family, your cousin’s family, or the family you were raised in. Comparison is a trap that will only zap your joy.
2. For every opportunity your family experiences, there will be a few downsides. Face these downsides bravely. Challenges will be part of your story and in the end, they will bring God glory.
3. Teaching your family to link arms and walk through life together, despite differences or challenges will be the bond that keeps you all close.
4. Finding something special for each child may take some creativity, but it is absolutely possible, no matter your circumstances.
I often think of Bethany Hamilton’s story in the movie Soul Surfer. Her brothers were her biggest support system, both before and after her shark attack, and they still are to this day. What an amazing role they have played in her life and what a great example they have set for other families.
Today my middle boy is involved in our church youth group, which gives him a healthy social outlet. He is becoming a talented guitar player and he plays in recreational sports when he can. Do I still wish there was more for him? Yes, but we stay connected and as of now, he’s a very happy kid.
All of the brothers are great fans of the competitive surfing brother…who hopes to one day commit a big trophy to his family, who he knows have been the support that has allowed him to achieve his goals.
Regardless of your family’s situation, or circumstances, I encourage you to embrace your story, and create something beautiful with what you have!
Monica and her husband Dave are raising their four sons on the North Shore of Oahu. They home school their boys who are also surfers, skaters and basic beach boys (“groms”). Monica shares the adventure and comedy of their life, and all sorts of other things Hawaii-related at www.thegrommom.com.
All it took was a talent show at family camp to bring up my mommy insecurities. When my oldest son signed up to ‘perform’ with his best friend I’d heard the words, “comedy show” mentioned and I was already scared.
There I sat as precious child after precious child displayed their skills. . .piano playing, guitar performances, even an adorable summary of the book of Exodus. The counselors announced my son’s name and I felt the gut punch of insecurity when the 8 year-olds stood on stage and performed a pretend fist fight to the “Eye of a Tiger”.
My inner monologue went something like this,
“Where have I gone wrong?”
“Why have I never signed him up for piano lessons? We own a piano, for heaven’s sake.”
“Maybe we should sign up for Awanas? Or a dance class? Or…”
In the activity realm, our family has kept things pretty simple, but that plan did not come from my own childhood experience.
My mom drove me to weekly piano lessons (for 13 years!), ballet classes, tennis lessons, play practices, and even synchronized swimming (3x a week).
Doing all. the. things worked back then because my younger brother and I were home-schooled (yes in the ’80s!). With our school work completed by noon, we had margin in our day for loads and loads of extracurricular activities.
But now that I’m the mom to four boys? FOUR. Who all came within 6 1/2 years. There is no way I can keep up the same level of activity my mom did.
With my oldest son I tried to “keep up with the Joneses,”signing him up for all. the. things. . .Kindermusik, gym class, swimming lessons. Part of my reasoning came from my own extroverted needs (must be with other adults!). Another part came from a “not wanting to fail at motherhood.” It seemed like the good moms went to music classes with their toddlers. And the good moms went to library story time. And the good moms . . .
Once my fourth son was born I kinda chucked the “good mom” manual. I stepped out of the game and did what worked best for our schedule and my sanity.
Now I continue to do a basic cost/reward analysis for each “opportunity” which comes my way:
How much money will it actually cost? (just got asked to join a $350 Chamber baseball team from my oldest. . .easy ‘no’)
How much time does it require? (1 practice + 1 game x 4 boys = I don’t think so).
What am I saying ‘no’ to when I say ‘yes’? (more activities = less unstructured play & brother bonding)
How will this affect the pace of our day? (rushing through homework, racing out the door, running back home for dinner)
Will this activity truly promote the concept of teamwork? (or could we learn that within our family of 6?)
Will my son gain much needed social time with his classmates? (or would more play dates help?)
Will my son improve his overall health & fitness? (or would a family bike ride & trip to the park suffice?)
Will this help my son earn a college scholarship? (Ha! Who am I kidding? We tend towards the brain more than braun category)
Will involvement help boost my son’s self esteem?
Will my son enjoy this activity and is he naturally gifted in it?
You may have a lists of questions to consider when options come your way.
The key for me is not saying ‘yes’ because I feel like I ‘should’ or because everyone else is. Or trying to live vicariously through my children’s achievements. Or (even worse) wanting to look like a super mom because of my super performing boys.
If my child is a super star it is because God gave them a gift for His glory, not mine.
You know what? The next year at family camp I came with fresh eyes. Maybe my boys didn’t perform a perfect piano piece or an awesome break dance. But my oldest had a great time with his friend, with a return ‘comedy show’ (more memorable than any formal performance). My second son bravely signed up and sang a solo of the hymn, “Speak O Lord.”
God was glorified. And I was humbled, once again.
Do you struggle wondering if you are a bad mom when you say ‘no’ to activities your friends say ‘yes’ to?
Heather has been married since the turn-of-the-century (which sounds more impressive than it actually is) 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 weekly interviews guests on her podcast. They discuss motherhood and chronicle the messy journey of “relentlessly replacing ‘me’ with ‘He’ — sharing the daily struggle of remaining God-centered.
According to dictionary.com, a tribe is “anyaggregateofpeopleunitedbytiesofdescentfromacommonancestor,communityofcustomsandtraditions, or adherencetothesameleaders…”
Let’s break that down a bit and see what it means for our community, shall we?
“an aggregate of people…”
Yep, that’s us. We MOB’s love to hang out together sharing all the things that make us unique. We get each other on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. We’re each other’s people.
“…united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions…”
That one fits, too! We’re all daughters of the one, true God, with an ancestry of faith filled with rich customs and traditions.
“…adherence to the same leaders…”
This one is best of all. It’s what distinguishes this community from every other community of boy raisers out there—we love and follow Jesus, God’s only son, the way, truth, and life through which everyone must go to get to the Father. Here at The MOB Society, everything we do is designed to lead you to him because he’s the true authority on raising godly men.
That’s why The Tribe is the perfect name for what we’re unveiling!
The Tribe is our newest program for moms raising godly men. It’s a collection of resources designed with your needs and wants in mind.
Whether you’re a new mom, seasoned mom, or somewhere in-between mom…
Whether your boys are little, tweens, teens, or all grown up…
Or whether you find yourself raising a second generation of boys after your own are grown…
…The Tribe has something for you!
For only $5 a month, you’ll receive the following amazing resources:
Praying for Boys Prayer Calendar: This well-loved feature of the MOB Society community is back and better than ever. At the beginning of every month, you’ll receive a color copy of the prayers of the month to print out and an additional design that’s oriented for your desktop background, complete with an organizational bar on the side to place your files and folders.
A beautiful, peace-filled prayer journal based on the prayers of the month: Your monthly prayer journal will be beautifully designed by Finding Eden Media, and can be printed out and kept alongside your Bible. It’s a place for you to take your prayer life deeper with spaces to reflect on the verse you’re praying that day, write out your own prayer, and think practically about how to weave the meaning of that day’s verse into the fabric of your family’s life. We call it the “Think, Pray, Do,” a formula for rooting the verses you’re praying deeply within your heart and day-to-day life.
Organizational Guides Worksheets to help you stay sane and on top of things: If you’re like me, and need a little (OK, a lot!) help getting and staying organized as the seasons change, you’ll love this feature. We’re going to provide you with beautifully designed worksheets each month to help you stay on top of your life. Each worksheet will include 1-2 tips from our team, and then give you space to create your own lists based on your individual needs.
Boy-approved recipes to help make time around the table something special: Is your family always on the go? Finding it harder and harder to sit down together for a good meal and a great conversation? Our friend, Kristin Schell, has put together some amazing, boy-approved recipes AND conversation starting questions for your time with family around the table. We call them Kitchen Table Talk recipes, and we can’t wait to share a new one with you and your family each month!
A lovely printable binder cover: A perfect fit to slide into the front of your 3-ring binder, this beautiful printable makes it easy to keep everything from our exclusive membership program in one place, saving you valuable time and energy.
Additionally, you’ll receive immediate access to our private BoyRaiser Tribe Facebook group for added community and support! We’re also working on several exciting additions for The Tribe and can’t wait to roll them out in the coming months:
A BoyRaiser Printables Library housing all the free downloads we’ve offered over the years and some upcoming exclusives
FREE access to pop-up BoyRaiser University classes and webinars featuring leading experts on raising godly boys
Spotlight Video Reviews on boy-friendly, BoyMom-approved media—books, movies, games, and music
And future plans for planner pages, prayer artwork, lockscreens, and so much more—all suited for your life as a busy BoyMom!
Tribe membership costs just $5 a month!
To save a little bit of money, you can also choose our quarterly ($13/quarter) or yearly ($50/year) options!
You don’t have to wait or pay any shipping costs.
We’ve created a membership portal that houses everything you need—no shipping required! Whenever you want to access or download a particular feature of the monthly Tribe resources, just login and grab what you need! We’ll update all the features at the beginning of each month and send you a reminder when they’re ready to be accessed!
Everything is a click away.
From the comfort of your own home, you can have access to everything the Tribe has to offer, any time you want it.
You can give Tribe membership as a gift to a weary mama with tight finances.
Simply click here to send a 1-month, 3-month, or 12-month gift of The Tribe membership to a BoyMom friend!
Membership is ongoing, but can be cancelled any time.
We trust you’re going to love being a member of The Tribe but in the event that it doesn’t meet your expectations, you can opt out with barely any effort at all.
HOW DOES IT WORK
After purchasing your Tribe membership, simply access the portal by hovering on the “The Tribe” link in the navigation bar on the left-hand side of our site, and then select “Log In.” Once you enter your login credentials, you’ll see all the items included in your BoyRaiser Tribe membership, ready and waiting! Simply click on any item you wish to download, then print it out for personal use. You can print as many or as few of each as you need! If you have any other questions, you can check out our FAQ page, too!
Are you ready to get started?
Awesome! We hoped you’d be as excited as we are! To secure your Tribe membership, click the button below and select your membership option! As soon as you’re registered, you’ll have access to April’s Tribe content. Start downloading and putting it into use right away! Your membership to the Tribe helps support Raising Boys Ministries as a new non-profit ministry. Thank you!