The Importance of Raising Boys with Integrity

“I can’t go to sleep yet mommy.”

It was two in the morning and my oldest son was still wide awake in his bed. I’d gotten up to check on my boys and found him sitting up with his legs dangling over the side of his bed, waiting.

It was a familiar scene. A month earlier my boys had excitedly picked up all their toys and pressed their faces against the window, eagerly awaiting their dad. Nose to the glass they watched for that first glimpse of his car pulling into our driveway. It never did.

On this particular night, my sweet boy was waiting up for a promised phone call that was never made. Around four in the morning I finally convinced him to get some sleep promising that I would wake him up if the phone rang. The next day I held my heartbroken son who just couldn’t understand why someone so important to him didn’t keep their promise.

Integrity: Abimelech's Story via The MOB Society

Integrity is Important

Integrity is a must-have character trait in my home. I want my to understand the importance of being honest and what happens when you choose to be dishonest and I pray for the development of their integrity daily. When one of my boys tells a lie or fails to keep his word I try to talk with him about how his actions (or lack thereof) effects the people around him.

One day my boys will grow up and be on their own. Their boss will expect them to be honest in their work, their employees will expect to be treated honestly and their friends and families will be looking for my boys to keep their word.  This has been a hard lesson for my boys. Their lives have been full of hurts because some key people in their lives failed to keep their word. I don’t want my boys growing up thinking that a lifetime of hurt means that it’s okay to give up on a life of integrity.

So how do we impress upon our boys the importance of being honest?

  1. Praise: Anytime that you catch your boys being honest be sure to praise them!
  2. Role Models: I know that it can be hard to find godly role models for your boys as a single mama but keep looking. Dads, uncles, grandparents, fictional characters and men from history are all great places to look  when you want to show your boys what integrity looks like.
  3. Practice: Talk with your boys about how to deal honestly with others and how to maintain honesty in difficult situations. Taking the time to train them when there’s no risk of discipline on the line will help give them the confidence to make those hard choices when they come up.

The Story of Abimelech

Abimelech told a lie in order to get ahead and ended up paying a high price because of it. You can find the details of the story in Judges 9. This story is a great example of the importance of dealing honestly with other people. Take some time to read this chapter with your boys and talk about the following questions:

  1. What lie did Abimelech tell?
  2. How did that lie effect him?
  3. How did that lie effect others?
  4. What was God’s response to Abimelech’s dishonesty?

LaToya-EdwardsLaToya Edwards has a heart for equipping and inspiring women to find their passion and purpose through life coaching. You can find her blogging about homeschooling,  parenting, faith and learning to find joy in motherhood and  God’s purpose and plan in broken circumstances at www.LaToyaEdwards.net .

From Faithful Choices to Life-Changing Decisions

“I don’t want to.”

I wish I could say that phrase is an anomaly; however, those four words are said more often than not around my house. On this particular occasion I was attempting to rouse my seven year-old son. Recently, it seems like these words bookend my day. From sun-up to bedtime, I’m met with the obstinate declaration, “I don’t want to.”

My son wants to go to wrestling practice, but he doesn’t want to go to school. He balks at a request to clean up a mess on the floor or set the table, but a request to battle his sister on the Wii is met with a smile. Dinner is another struggle in and of itself as he resists to the point of tears, enumerating every reason why he doesn’t want to eat the prepared dinner. “I don’t want to,” is an oft-uttered phrase and with each repetition, my patience wanes. It’s hard to maintain my composure when every fiber inside me wants to list the many things I do every day that I don’t really feel like doing.

A Shared Experience

If I’m honest with myself, there are many things that I don’t feel like doing throughout my day, and I’m sure it’s the same for you. Take a moment and just think of a few. For me, packing lunches, folding laundry (as evidenced by the many bins of clean, yet unfolded laundry scattered about my house), and taking out the trash are a few of my least favorite tasks. I don’t enjoy singing songs at bedtime or giving my children baths, yet I do these and many other tasks faithfully. Our tasks as caregivers are far from glamorous. Rarely are we offered a medal or even a word of appreciation for the work we silently perform, the service we humbly give even when we don’t want to. However, our example is the first and most important part of teaching our boys that faithful choices in the midst of the mundane prepare us for life-changing decisions in the public eye. We model faithfulness to our boys by faithfully choosing to be responsive to God’s call on our lives.

It is quite easy to shame our boys for an unwilling attitude, but if we’re honest with ourselves, how often do we harbor the same spirit? How often do we gripe and complain as we feel God nudging in a direction we hadn’t anticipated. Instead of berating our boys for their attitude, what if we came alongside and shared that we too struggle with choosing to have a willing heart when it comes to remaining faithful to our commitments?

Lighten Up Already

Is making his bed really a big deal? Is character really built by picking up clutter and taking out the trash? Yes, my friend, it is. Faithfully fulfilling mundane responsibilities at young ages lays the foundation for larger responsibilities as our boys age. Do you know what Barack Obama, Thomas Jefferson, Nelson Mandela, Steven Spielberg, Mark Batterson, Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley, Dietrich BonHoeffer, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all have in common? They were all seven at one time. Great men don’t become great by shirking responsibility.

Gideon was once a young boy as well. When the Midianites were attacking and ransacking Israel, Gideon could be found hiding in the wine vat threshing wheat. Even in the midst of a horrible upheaval, Gideon was faithful to his responsibility with the wheat. I wonder if God would have chosen him to judge the Israelites if he had shirked his duties with the excuse of “I don’t want to?” God gifts greater areas of influence to those who are faithful in the unseen, seemingly unimportant daily tasks. That’s why my answer is “yes.” Yes, making his bed is important. Yes, choosing to faithfully pick up his toys when asked is a big deal. Affirmative, serving his mother by carrying his dirty laundry from his bedroom to the laundry room is day-by-day laying the foundation to make tough choices even when he doesn’t feel like it.

From Faithful Choices to Life-Changing Decisions via The MOB Society

Life-Altering Choices Aren’t Made In A Vacuum

I think we can all agree that it’s a scary world out there. Each day we send our sons into the world and pray they make good choices, and that if they do make a bad choice it won’t be a ‘wreck-your-life’ choice. Perhaps it could be a ‘learn-a-good-lesson’ choice, but not a ‘de-rail your life’ kind of choice. Life-altering choices are not made in a vacuum, just as the wherewithal to stand firm in the face of resistance and remain faithful is not built in a day. No, it is firmed up day-by-day, faithful choice-by-faithful choice in preparation for the day when our sons must choose for themselves whom they will serve. A foundation of faithful action begins with us recognizing that even at a young age we can begin to and have the responsibility to cultivate a culture of faithfulness in our homes beginning with giving our sons responsibility.

Action Steps 

1. Present Responsibilities – What responsibilities does your son have at the moment and how does he respond to them? Maybe your son happily completes all of his responsibilities. Great! Now it’s time to add some more.  Perhaps you’ve liked what you’ve read and are just taking the plunge into cultivating faithfulness through responsibility. Good for you! You can find age-appropriate chore/responsibility charts here if you’re unsure of what to add or where to start.

2. Say the Words – If I’m trying to cultivate faithfulness, I want to make sure I’m using those words. Instead of saying, “Thank you for cleaning up your toys,” I’m going to say, “Thank you for faithfully choosing to be responsible,” or “Thank you for making the choice to be faithful to your job even though you didn’t feel like it or it wasn’t fun.” It may seem awkward to use words like “faithful” and “responsible” with your little ones, but let me encourage you, our children are so much more intelligent than we give them credit. As we familiarize them with words like “faithful” and “responsible” they will better recognize when those attributes are discussed in scripture. One of my favorite resources that can expand on this vocabulary-based instruction is the short and sweet book, “Don’t Make Me Count to Three” by Ginger Hubbard.

3. I’m Too Late – Perhaps you feel like you’ve missed the boat. Maybe your boy is older or you feel like it’s too late to start cultivating faithfulness. Don’t listen to that lie, friend. Instead, look inward first. Start by cultivating faithfulness in your own life. It could be as simple as reading one Psalm a day, everyday. Hello Mornings is a phenomenal program to aid you in instilling faithfulness. Kat’s podcast, Inspired To Action is another resource I love to help me make positive changes and inspire me in my personal life which in turn rejuvenates me to better lead my boy. Secondly, pray for your boy and pray for God’s wisdom on how to begin. God promises to give wisdom liberally to all who ask. (James 1:5) There is no such thing as “too late” when God is involved.

Kjtanner headshotKristina never thought that the title ‘single mom’ would follow her name, but now that it does she writes about navigating life in this unexpected season. A native New Yorker who despises precipitation of any kind, she works as an American Sign Language Interpreter and writes about her adventures with her four daughters and one son. Her life is rarely boring.

 

 

Men Are Better Looking When They’re Humble: The Value of Teaching Our Boys Humility

“Somebody call a veterinarian, ‘cuz these puppies are sick.”

My nine year-old son stood before me, flexing one muscle after another. Disbelief crossed my face as he checked out his physique, all whilst channeling his inner Atlas. As if it couldn’t get any more ridiculous, my boy took it one step further–he actually kissed one of his biceps…followed by the other! Oh, friends, it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. I mean, where did he get that from?

And what about those lessons in humility I was trying to teach him? What about all those chats we had about staying humble and what that means–what it looks like–in sports, in school, and in life? But there he was, his dukes stretched out before him and a grin upon his face.

Didn’t any of it sink in?  And where (oh where) did he hear such a lousy pick-up line comparing sick pups, a vet, and one’s biceps? I thought to myself.

I have no clue.

Men Are Better Looking When They're Humble: The Value of Teaching Our Boys Humility via The MOB Society

This concept of humility?  This idea of remaining humble? When it comes to raising our boys, we need to go a bit deeper.

Our culture takes great pride in shining the light upon ourselves…in bragging about our actions, our deeds. Collectively, we desire to see our name in lights, just as we want to be celebrated for our efforts–our athletic ability, our intellect, our acts…our everything. And these boys we’re raising? They’re no different. They can’t help but to thrive on such accolades…to delight in being known and approved by those around them.  I’ll tell you what: As a mom, this is my hardest battle yet: teaching my sons the importance of humility, fueling their passion in serving the Lord, and helping them to realize that this life they lead is ALL and ONLY about Him.

The intrinsic drive for approval is modeled all around them…around us. Our boys can’t help, but see poor examples in the media, hear them on the ball field, and even at school. How do we teach them to shine the light upon Jesus…not themselves? To in fact, remain anonymous in a world desperate for recognition?

Our boys must understand that when it comes to serving God and His kingdom, everything they do is for His glory. Every act we commit, every endeavor we undertake, everything is for Him. And it’s vitally important our sons understand that there is beauty, courage, and even strength in humility.

So, how do we show our sons that the efforts they make and this life they live should be used for His glory?

  1. Open Your Bible: In Judges 4:4-10, we see Deborah telling Barak as she leads him into war, that the honor will not be his but that of the Lord’s. This lesson in humility teaches our young men to work unto the Lord. In all things, in all ways.
  2. Take the Time: I find teachable moments peppered throughout my day, every day. Take the time to chat with your son, when these instances arise (and they will come up). Talk with him about his actions, those of his friends, and what he sees in the media. Get his perspective on things and discuss accordingly.
  3. Choose Your Words Wisely: It’s natural to want to boost our son’s esteem, to tell them they did a great job–especially when they excel in a certain area–but we must be careful with our words. We must choose them wisely, in fact. We need to applaud their gifts while giving proper credit where credit is due…unto the Lord.

Jenny-Sulpizio Jenny Lee Sulpizio is a Christian wife, mother to three, and author of the recently released, For the Love of God: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Faith & Getting Grace, as well as Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time.

Through her personal website, blog, and as a contributing writer for numerous mommy sites, there’s always plenty of information to relate to, encouragement to absorb, and a whole lot of comic relief to go around. Connect with Jenny by visiting www.jennyleesulpizio.com. or by joining the God’s Girl Movement at bit.ly/gods-girl

How You Can Be Brave Enough to Fight For Your Boys

I know raising your hard-to-handle (H2H) boys can feel like an insurmountable task…like some great fire-breathing dragon you’re powerless to control on your own.

But there’s good news. You’re not alone!

How You Can Be Brave Enough to Fight For Your Boys via The MOB Society and  www.fightlikeaboymom.com

Little Pilgrim’s Progress is one of my very favorite books. It’s a story of the pilgrimage of a boy named Little Christian, and is a simplified version of the classic, Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan. When I read this excerpt from it to my boys the other day over lunch, I actually started crying because it felt like such an accurate depiction of my life…

“The servants of the Wicked Prince hated this dragon, but none of them were brave enough to resist it. When they heard its roaring, they fled away and tried to hide themselves, so that the savage creature grew more and more bold in its attacks upon them. But the servants of the King made up their minds to destroy it if they could, and when they heard that Greatheart was staying at the house of Mnason, they determined to ask him to go out with them…”

In this chapter there was a great dragon tormenting the people of God. They knew it had to be stopped, but were too scared of the dragon to stand up and fight alone.

Raising H2H boys can feel like fighting a fire-breathing dragon with only a pile of sticks and some lighter fluid. (<<—Tweet That).

I’ve cowered, collapsed, hidden, and shook in terror over the beastly boys in my home. It feels absolutely crazy to me that two humans could cause me such grief, but then that’s part of the problem, right? Their very nature makes me feel out of control, because they are, in fact, harder to control than most boys.

But I’ve learned this: Moms are stronger, and better able to fight when we’re in the battle together.

Everything changed for Little Christian and his friends when they knew Greatheart was there to help them. For the first time, they realized they weren’t alone, and that maybe they had the strength to fight the dragon after all.

You and me? We’re each other’s people. Who knows better about the great dragon we call hard-to-handle boys than we do? Who knows about the blood, sweat, and tears we’ve poured into these boys than us? And who needs encouragement to get in the game and stay the course more than you and me?

That’s why I really don’t want you to miss out on my free video series called Fighting for Those Hard-to-Handle Boys.

Learn to Fight for Your Hard-To-Handle Boys, Not Against Them at www.fightlikeaboymom.com

H2HBoys will provide you with a simple, but profound perspective shift that can change the entire tone of your home. Click here to learn more about it, and get started today.

I’m with you. You’re not alone. Let’s fight this battle together.

Brooke McGlothlin

Brooke McGlothlin is co-founder and President of Raising Boys Ministries. She’s a mother of two boys who believes God has chosen her to fight for the hearts of her sons. She can be found most often on her knees in prayer, not because she’s so holy, but because God is. Not because she knows how to raise godly men, but because God knows the plans He has for them.

She’s the author of Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most, and co-author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess.

Learn to Fight FOR Your Sons, Not AGAINST Them

Sometimes I feel like my hard-to-handle boys will kill me.

Whether the end of me comes from getting accidentally kicked in the face, tripped so I fall down the stairs, or simply that I finally go up in flames as they roar past me to their next adventure—some days, I feel like I might literally die from mothering them.

As many of you know by now, I have two of “those boys.” You know, the ones who are 250% boy, can’t sit still to save their lives, wouldn’t dream of thinking to whisper, and don’t slow down until they fall down…in their beds to sleep? Two of them.

For several years, I allowed “those” boys to control my life—staying hidden in my home, medicating with food, and using every ounce of energy I had to just keep up with their apparently bottomless pit of energy. If you could’ve looked into the window of my home and heart, you would’ve seen a woman who was scared to death. Scared of what I saw in my sons, scared of what I saw in my heart, scared of what I had become, and scared of what I thought my sons were becoming.

I actually had nightmares that my sons were in prison because they had a mom who couldn’t control them.

Everything that went wrong in their lives felt like a direct reflection of me, and honestly, the more I tried to be a good mom, the worse things got…until I reached a point of complete and utter brokenness before the Lord.

It was my “mama moment,” as I like to call it. A moment where my utter helplessness and God’s amazing strength met, and birthed something more beautiful than I could ever have imagined—a mama ready to fight (<<— Tweet That).

You might be having your “mama moment” right now. Maybe it happened right before you read this, or maybe it happened last week, but sooner or later it will happen. It’s what you do with your mama moment that makes all the difference.

That’s why I created a series of three free videos designed to teach you how to fight for your hard-to-handle boys.

Learn to Fight FOR Your Sons, Not AGAINST Them via FightLikeABoyMom.com

Watch the short video below to learn all about it.

What To Do Next

1. Now that you’re ready to get in the game for your sons, the next step is to simply click here and enter your name and email in the box that pops up and hit “Get Free Access” button. You’ll receive the first video, all about helping others deal with your H2H boys, immediately (other’s expectations are a killer, aren’t they?). Be sure to follow any directions you might receive in a follow up email. If you don’t, you won’t get the free videos, and we don’t want that to happen!

2. Next, be sure to spread the word about these videos. I know you have boymom friends who need them too, and one person who tweets something they learned from video #1 using the hashtag #H2HBoys will be chosen to participate in my exclusive new program, Fight Like a Boymom, where you’ll get inside the heart and mind of your H2H boy, and learn specific, practical methods for fighting for their hearts! You can also share the page to sign up

Here’s a sneak peak. You can tweet this one to enter if you want:

“Learn to fight FOR your sons, not AGAINST them.” (<<<—- Click here to tweet this, and be entered to win!)

3. Leave a comment below letting me know which video topic you’re most looking forward to—helping others deal with your H2H boys, or learning not to lose it when your boys won’t obey.

I literally can not wait to meet you in the first video. Let’s get in the game, together!

Brooke McGlothlin

Brooke McGlothlin is co-founder and President of Raising Boys Ministries. She’s a mother of two boys who believes God has chosen her to fight for the hearts of her sons. She can be found most often on her knees in prayer, not because she’s so holy, but because God is. Not because she knows how to raise godly men, but because God knows the plans He has for them.

She’s the author of Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most, and co-author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess.