The MOB Society

Raising Good Men: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in the Hearts of Boys

Raising Good MenBrooke McGlothlinComment
If I could choose only one passage to pray for my boys for the rest of their lives, Galatians 5:22-23, the Fruit of the Spirit, would be near the top of my list, “because having hearts full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (lots and lots of self-control) just about sums up everything I want for” my boys (Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most).

Raising Good Men

Yes, I know raising “good” men isn’t the same as raising “godly” men. It’s important that we get that distinction. But there’s something to be said for the kind of good that comes from a man whose heart is submitted to Jesus (<—-tweet that!).

And isn’t that what we’re all working towards, here?

This month, at The MOB Society, we’re going to be studying what makes a man good, and how to cultivate those attributes in their hearts according to the Bible’s standards. 

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—the Fruit of the Spirit—how do we plant those seeds and help them grow? What work do we need to do in our own hearts so that we’re modeling the Fruit of the Spirit for our boys? 

Our goal this month is to help you dig in to the meaning behind the Fruit of the Spirit, and figure out how to make them grow in your home—whether in your boy’s heart, or yours. You’ll be challenged, poured into, and encouraged to step outside your traditional ways of thinking. 

It’s gonna be good!

If your home could use a bit more fruit and a little less fuss, make sure to get signed up to receive our October posts by entering your email address below. 

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For the Boys,

When You Want To Foster Your Kids' Interests But Don't Want To Become A Taxi Driver

Know Your SonAmber LiaComment

The one thing my sons all have in common is energy and a knack for making more noise than the launch of a space shuttle. When my second son was born on the heels of my first, I expected them to be much alike. And since I didn’t learn that lesson with my second son, I had the same expectation with my third. More than 8 years down the road of motherhood I’m finally getting it: Just because they are all boys, that doesn’t mean they have the same personalities, desires, gifts, or talents. Even so, that also doesn’t mean I want to run around town like a chicken with my head cut off taking one kid to soccer, dashing off to drop another at gymnastics, and then hurling my family into the car to make it to choir practice. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

What’s a mom to do who wants to foster her sons’ individual gifts and interests while still finding balance for life in the home?

Years ago, I heard author and speaker Sally Clarkson share that her family of two sons and two daughters made a choice to do things together as a family, season by season. All of her children had varying interests and talents so they took turns participating in one event or another as a family until they were old enough to become more focused or specialized in a particular interest. If a local theater was putting on a play, then they all took roles in the production. For another season, they fostered musical interests and learned to play an instrument and perform.

Eventually, each of her children grew up with a well-rounded appreciation for the world around them and pursued the interests they loved the most but they also gained a deep appreciation for one another’s gifts at the same time! I love that!

My husband and I made a similar choice for our family early on. We only do activities as a group, not as individuals. So far, gymnastics, AWANA, T-ball, swimming, and choir have all been a part of our kids’ experiences and though some of them excel while others struggle, it’s good to train them to be sacrificial, persevere, and see something through to the end. The Bible puts it like this:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

When my son yields his desire to play a certain sport in order to participate in another for the sake of his brother, he gains the fruit of patience and kindness which are far more important disciplines than perfecting his jump shot.

Recently, we acquired a talent manager for our boys. Although two of them are more interested than their youngest brother at this point, we are all in together as a family to support each other in this new line of work and passion that they want to pursue.

When we do things season by season together, we have more unity as a family and I don’t feel like any one of us is being stretched too thinly. The boys get to try a wide variety of activities and learn to cheer for their brothers who may be advancing more quickly. For us, this is gives us balance that we crave and helps be more "others focused!" This may not work for the family with a future Olympian in the mix, but that’s probably not most of us. In my experience, learning to give and take when it comes to extracurricular interests has allowed me to both foster my kids’ talents while allowing me to be a good steward of our time as a family.

Tell me, what works for your family when it comes to sports, lessons, activities, etc.?
Do you feel like you are taking on too much or not enough?
How might approaching activities season by season as a family improve your lives?



Stepping Back So They Can Step Up

Know Your SonHeather MacFadyenComment

Y'all have read my posts before. You know my control freak tendencies (if not, here's a sampling: here & here). But, I bet you didn't know I even tried to control my boys' emotions? Yep. True story. If one boy throws a tantrum, I stand over him demanding "Stop. Calm down. You're fine." Or I may take the bear hug approach. As he's kicking and screaming, I hold him super tight thinking my "embrace" will help his body relax. (FYI, this usually ends up as more of a wrestling match than a magic calming formula). These attempts show I believe my boys can't regulate their own emotions—that they need my help.

(As a special education teacher/Speech-Language Pathologist I recognize there are boys who truly can't regulate their own emotions, but since mine have mild sensory integration issues they are—for the most part—physically capable of managing themselves.)

I've been managing their emotions for so long, they don't know how to do it themselves.

I became aware of my mommy "oops" while interviewing behavior therapist, Kirk Martin of He told me:

"You can only control one person in life...that's yourself. Sometimes, when you let children own their mood, then they will change it more quickly."

So I gave it a shot. The next time my seven year old son (you read that right) threw a tantrum I simply told him he was free to be upset. Then I walked over to the kitchen table, a few feet away and starting working on a puzzle. Fifteen minutes later a sniffly young boy plopped down next to me and grabbed a puzzle piece. (As Kirk pointed out, this was not the time to correct his grumpy manner, but to invite him into my calm place.)

Once my son owned his emotions we could talk rationally about what made him upset.

This principal of "stepping back so he can step up" hasn't only been helpful with emotions. I've started applying it to leaving the house. Typically every step in the "getting out the door" process is micromanaged: "Get dressed. Put your dirty clothes away. Comb your hair. Find your shoes. Fill your water bottle." Recently, my guidance sounds more like, "I'm leaving in 10 minutes. Please be ready and out the door at that time," because Kirk reminded me:

"I never give kids control, I give them ownership. When we step back as parents, our kids can step up with responsibility."

On most days, those boys show they are fully capable of remembering every step in leaving the house. (And my blood pressure has dropped significantly.) I don't know about you, but I love a good, responsible man. I'm pretty sure employers do to.

As moms of boys we can choose to micromanage every interaction with our boys and paralyze their ability to take ownership. Or we can take a giant step back, giving them the chance to step up with responsibility.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths,
but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.” ― Anne Frank

What parenting area do you struggle most in letting go and stepping back?

Additional Resources: 


6 Ways to Make Your Home a Place of Possibility

Know Your SonLaura Lee GrovesComment

Little boy dreams can be very big. Sometimes those dreams come true and sometimes they’re stepping stones to other realities. Either way, when our homes are places of possibility, we give our boys room to grow the gifts and interests God has given them.

Our boys don’t come packaged with preconceived notions or burdened with expectations. Joey won’t necessarily be a doctor just because Dad is. You may be surprised by what God has in store!

One way to find our boy’s bent is to let him express his creativity—to follow his dream.

How do you cultivate a home base for growing those dreams?

1. Foster creativity rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

It’s easier to do things Mommy’s way or the way we’ve always done them, but when we open the door to our sons’ creativity, we affirm the gifts God has given them.

2. Reserve judgment on creative endeavors.

Yes, your five-year-old’s masterpiece doesn’t measure up to Michelangelo’s, but with creativity and kids, it’s important to concentrate on the journey, not the destination. Kids need time and room to explore and experiment, both of which nurture creativity.

3. Model kindness, interest, and an adventurous spirit for your sons.

Nothing squelches creativity more quickly than criticism, so be kind with each other’s efforts. If your sons see Mom treating a piece of unsophisticated artwork with kindness and interest, they’ll be more likely to follow suit.

An adventurous spirit—one open to new things and new ways of doing and seeing things—opens up new horizons to creativity. Rather than, “No, that will never work” try saying, “Let’s try that” or “Let’s talk about that.

4. Nurture a creative servant spirit.

It’s easy to concentrate on the final product—the artwork, the song, the performance, the winning score. Building toward the culmination can make us lose sight of the everyday wonder of creativity. Instead of nurturing your boy’s gifts with eyes on the prize, encourage everyday use. Who can your family minister to with their creativity?

Draw pictures and send them to someone who needs cheering up. Encourage that son who’s a great kicker to help the younger boys’ team. Practice some songs or skits and visit a hospital or nursing home. Concentrate on giving away the fruits of your boys’ creativity. It gives them a great way to express their creativity while ministering to others.

5. Leave time for creativity to blossom; keep an eye on family over-scheduling.

You can’t schedule creativity to occur from 3 to 4 pm every day. When the day is packed with practice and lessons with no downtime, it’s hard for the creative spirit to push through. Busyness crowds out creativity; downtime invites it. Our kids need time (and lack of electronic devices) so they can exercise their creativity. Quiet plus instruments of creativity—paper, paint, building materials, musical instruments—can yield some rich moments.

6. Acknowledge the Author of your art.

Remind your boys that God made us all individuals, giving us different gifts. Those abilities and interests and talents aren’t of our own making—they come from Him. Our expression of those gifts brings glory to Him. So teach your boys that their expressions of creativity, however big or small, however professional or amateur, are an act of worship.

When we give our abilities and interests to God, He uses the experiences that follow. Give your boys a chance to be all God created them to be by fostering their gifts and interests.

Make your home a place of possibility. Open the door to creativity and watch what happens.

More resources on kids and creativity

Why We Need to Let Kids Be Creative

Education and the Creativity Crisis

Why Art and Creativity Are Important

Dear Mom of a Strong-Willed Son

Know Your SonMonica LeighComment

Dear Mom of a strong-willed son, I too, have a son that falls into the “strong-willed” category. I have felt a twinge of guilt for looking forward to rest time and bedtime, to be able to get a break. While lying in my bed at night, I have cried out to the Lord for help and reprieve. There was even one day that I called my husband in desperation and told him that wanted to quit motherhood. Being a parent is not for the weak, but being a parent of a strong-willed child will take down even the strongest parents. It can seem like everyday is a battle of the wills and he seems to never run out of energy for fighting for what he deems worth fighting for.

Three years ago I was at my wits' end. You know, the day I wanted to quit motherhood (not my best day). For me that day was the day that the Lord changed my perspective when interacting with my strong-willed son. After a hard day that included an epic melt down in the grocery store, lots of discipline, and lots of tears, I finally put him in his room for rest time. I had barely walked into my bedroom when I collapsed in tears on my floor in utter exhaustion. After I called my husband and told him I was quitting motherhood, I felt the Lord telling me to go to my son.

Girl.…I did NOT want to go to my son, but I could not shake the overwhelming feeling that I needed to. I reluctantly went into his room. He was playing so nicely with his trains that he didn’t even look up at me. I didn’t say anything but instead sat on his bed watching him. After a few minutes he came over to me wanting me to hold him. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms like a baby. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I rocked him back and forth and prayed over him. He uncharacteristically fell asleep in my arms. My heart started to soften towards him. It was in that moment that the Lord reminded me that my son’s battle is not with me; it’s a battle within himself and his desires. It was time to stop fighting with my son and start fighting for him.

How do you fight FOR your strong-willed son?

  • You pray for him every single day.
  • Any time he does something well praise him, encourage him!!
  • Find out what his interests are and spend quality time with him doing whatever he loves doing (for us that means going on bug hunts).
  • It is so easy to look back on a day with your strong-willed child and realize how much of your interaction with him was discipline or telling him no. Measure your words and determine to say yes more than no. Determine to speak more encouraging words than words used for discipline.
  • Move toward your son and not away from him. After a long day with this son, I want to retreat any chance I can but when I take the time to instead spend one on one time with him while his brothers are napping I usually see a complete attitude change in him. The Lord doesn’t leave us in our ugliest moments of sin, lets not leave our boys.

Don’t stop believing in them because one day the Lord is going to use their strong-willed personalities to change the world. But for today I am going to be faithful in loving him and encouraging that strong-will for good.