Love, Honor, and Cherish: Teaching Boys How to Treat a Woman

Love, Honor, and Cherish: Teaching Boys How to Treat a Woman via The MOB Society

Remember that Bryan Adams song, How You Really Love a Woman?

It was popular when I was in high school (revealing my age, here…) and I loved it. I dreamed of a man who would treat me with respect,make me feel wanted, safe, and secure. But really, knowing how to treat a women starts way before romance ever becomes a part of the equation.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our boys to love, honor, and cherish women starting in our own homes. So in the month of February, the MOB Society will be exploring this topic more fully, giving you practical tips for leading the boys in your life.

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Even When A Mom Messes Up

It all began with the child at my breast, choking on the too-heavy flow of milk. My let-down came over and over again in quick succession, and he simply wailed between the sputtering attempts to drink. Amidst all the lactation consults and tearful nights, online searches, and heartfelt prayers, I simply couldn’t breastfeed my son. I was broken to pieces, and felt like such a failure.

“I should have tried harder, done a better job on the day of his birth with those first few latches…” My mind was racing, my heart was aching, fearing the health problems and attachment issues my child would surely have if he couldn’t nurse.

Even When A Mom Messes Up via The MOB Society

Then The Lord, in His kindness, whispered these words: “You can’t thwart the plans I have for your son.”

Nine years later, and that child of mine is the most attached of all three brothers, and he’s only had 1 ear infection his entire life due to swimmer’s ear! Though my nursing problems were not a result of my own sin, I’ve thought of God’s comforting promise each time I do screw-up royally as a mom, “You can’t thwart the plans I have for your son.”

Don’t get me wrong, we may send them sideways in their search for God, mislead and confuse their young hearts about His extravagant love for them when we act in less-than-loving ways, but we will not, CAN NOT thwart God’s powerful purposes for our children’s lives.

“… if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”(2 Timothy 2:13)

It’s amazing to me that God is King over even our screw-ups as parents. Our mistakes do not take Him by surprise.

Look at Samson in his direct disobedience to the Lord, giving up the secret source of his strength to Delilah. Yes, even Samson in his mighty folly could not bring down the plans of a sovereign God! God’s plan had always been for Samson to use his heavenly might to free Israel from the oppressive rule of the Philistines. Later, on the other side of Samson’s sin, blinded, lame and ashamed, God gave him all that was needed to finish the good work he was made for.

Though Samson sinned, still God accomplished His purpose and plan for the children of Israel.

Though we sin, though we may have failed even today, rest assured that God can and will still accomplish His good plans in and through our life and the lives of our children.

Dear Lord, You know the plans You have for our sons, and the good works you’ve prepared for them from the foundation of the world. We thank You for being faithful to your purposes even when we mess up. You are sovereign and we are grateful. Amen

Wendy SpeakeWhether she’s with loved ones in her actual Living Room, alone in God’s Living Word, or speaking to a room full of women, Wendy Speake is inspired to share life and faith with others in creative ways. As Jeremiah had fire in his bones, she too feels compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus – she just does it with stories that probe the glorious and hurting places of life, pictures of faith lived out in her home, and recipes purposed to inspire hospitality. You can connect with her in her virtual living room — WendySpeake.com

 

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When Evil is Repaid With Evil

One of the earliest verses my firstborn and I memorized together was Romans 12:21 which says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Over and over again we’d quote it when someone did wrong.  When a child dumped sand on my son’s head at the park, I’d remind my three year old, “What are we to do when someone does evil toward us?” His sweet brown eyes would soften as his high-pitched toddler voice sang out, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

When Evil is Repaid With Evil via The MOB Society

Here at THE MOB Society this month we are reading through the book of Judges and finding new ways to apply God’s Word to our lives. Today we’re looking at chapter 16, where Samson takes revenge upon the Philistines, not for righteous reasons this time, but out of pure, evil spite.

Samson had been wronged by his father-in-law who was a Philistine. In return, Samson burned down the wheat harvest.  To get back at him, the Philistines killed Samson’s father-in-law along with their entire family, then they marched into the land of Judah to hunt down Samson…

Where does revenge stop?

Years have passed since my toddler memorized that verse, but it’s gotten harder to practice.  He has a couple of little brothers now.  Recently, the boys were trying to outdo one another with angry words and evil looks, nasty name calling and muscular punches.  It was the end of Christmas break and the boys were ready for routine to give order to our days.

Even as we took down the twinkling Christmas lights and played the last few Christmas carols, a spirit of evil was rising amongst my sons. It all started when one of them did something mildly annoying. A brother pushed back with an elbow, causing the first to scream. My third son then joined the fray, offended by the noise and hollered for his brothers to “Shut Up!!!” Suddenly a mole hill transformed into a mountain.

I came into the room, tangled in tinsel, and sent them each to their corners. ding ding ding. I was going to end this match before it hit round two.

As they cooled off I went to the dry erase board in our kitchen nook and picked up a marker, then I wrote these words in thick bold strokes:

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (Thessalonians 5:15)

A few minutes later all three boys were seated round the table, with angry eyes and feet moving just a smudge too close to one another, ready to go at it again. My oldest read the verse above, then his middle brother took a turn, followed by the six year old. After that I asked them which verse it reminded them of and they all said Romans 12:21. It was hidden in their memories… but hadn’t made it’s way quite to their hearts perhaps.

So I took my fat black marker and made the smallest bump, like a little hill or a “mole hill” below the verse.

“This is how small a little offense can be. A joking insult. A lightsaber fight where someone gets hurt by accident. A heart unwilling to share or include.”

I drew another hill, slightly bigger this time, on top of the first.  “Then guess what happens?  The brother who’d been wronged does evil back…this time it’s a little meaner, a bit nastier… What do you think has to happen next?” I asked simply.

“We find a way to be louder and stronger and hurt the other person more.”

“That’s right” I exclaimed, as I drew a bigger hill over the first two.

My six year old caught on at this point and yelled, “So I came in and shouted SHUT UP!”

I nodded, “Yep, you made a big mountain. And it was ugly and hurtful and I won’t have it in this house. Do you understand?”

He did.

They all did.

And I did too.

Because sometimes I join in the tussle and start paying back evil for evil.

Moms, don’t join the fight. Let’s teach our sons how to overcome evil with our good.

Samson was strong. So are these boys!  Teach them these verses, draw for them this visual, and model goodness yourself.

“Dear Lord, Give us wisdom to see what’s happening when our sons are angry, help us to not march in with our own angry discipline, but slow down to teach them.  Help us to be patient and wise, so that we can overcome their evil with our good – Your good, shining through us each mothering day. Amen.”

Do you ever catch yourself joining in the fight?  Tell me of a time you were able to remain gentle, and overcome their evil with your good, or perhaps a time when you dearly wish you had.

Wendy SpeakeWhether she’s with loved ones in her actual Living Room, alone in God’s Living Word, or speaking to a room full of women, Wendy Speake is inspired to share life and faith with others in creative ways. As Jeremiah had fire in his bones, she too feels compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus – she just does it with stories that probe the glorious and hurting places of life, pictures of faith lived out in her home, and recipes purposed to inspire hospitality. You can connect with her in her virtual living room — WendySpeake.com

Failing to Fit In

He’s trying to fit in and impress his friends. He’s striving to be liked by all…and his antics have become disruptive in class.

As I sunk down in the oh-too-small seat of my son’s fourth grade classroom, this was the news I received at a recent parent/teacher conference…and it hit me like a ton of bricks. This boy she was describing? This unruly kiddo she was speaking of? He didn’t sound like my son. Just as the behavior he was exhibiting at school hadn’t yet presented itself at home. And it left me uneasy.

Failing to Fit In via The MOB Society

At nine years of age, I’m suddenly aware that my guy’s desire for approval is paramount. His frequent joke-telling and humorous nature exist solely in an effort to be well-liked by his friends. He wants to be the kid that others choose to hang around, the boy everyone laughs with…and loves–the center of attention.

He wants the admiration of others–the popularity and approval of his peers. He wants to fit in and belong. I can’t blame him, either. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We understand what that itch to fit in with the crowd is like and we remember how important the affection and adoration of others was to us at that age.

However, I want him to realize this craving he now has—this thirst for attention—is due to an emptiness within–a hollowness–that can only be filled by the relationship he forms with God through the Bible. It isn’t attainable any other way. This young man who’s coming of age, this boy whose smile can light up a room, this kid of mine who has so much potential and so many gifts? I want him to know that the opinion(s) of this world and those of his immediate friends, mean nothing. It’s who he is in Christ that makes all the difference. His relationship with the Lord will set him apart.

I can’t help but think about the independence he’s seeking, as well as the lengths he’ll go to impress others. As his mom, I worry. I know how impressionable he is at this age (and in the years to come), how firmly the world presses in and how hard the road ahead can be. I am also equally aware that God’s desire for my son—for all of us–is to live for Him and only Him.

But how do we teach that? How do we get the Word of God to drown out the noisy world around our sons? How do we get His message to sink in? To fill their minds, as well as their hearts? How do we reach our sons before this need for approval takes over?

  1. Pray. Take it to prayer. Always. If there is one piece of advice I can share, it would be to pray and pray often over our sons. It’s where we can draw strength…where we can bow low before our Father and request His will for our boys.
  1. Breathe: It’s easy to get anxious and completely overwhelmed as moms, isn’t it? But our boys need a voice of reason and our ears to listen. Be present and take one day (and one instance) at a time. B-R-E-A-T-H-E!

3. Stay Involved: In Judges 14:8-20, we learn about the importance of the company one keeps, and what that looks      like. Stay involved in your sons life, know his friends, and get to the heart of what makes him tick.

 

Jenny-SulpizioJenny 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 and Getting Grace. 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.

 

When Your Boy is Bent on His Own Way

The morning clouds broke into sunshine as the students happily donned their flowing robes and straightened their hats. I took my place among the faculty preparing to watch the senior class earn their diplomas after twelve years of education. I wasn’t a mother at the time, but many of these teens had been in my classroom every year since 10th grade and I felt that maternal instinct kick in as I prepared to say goodbye and send them off to college.

When Your Boy Is Bent On His Own Way via The MOB Society

Thanks to Facebook, I am now connected with many of them and I can see just what became of these young adults that I had poured my heart and soul into for so many years. Most of the time, I am proud. But occasionally, I see the remnants of lives shattered by wrong choices and misplaced values.

That same angst must have been what Samson’s mother and father felt when he decided to marry a woman from the Philistines instead of from among the women of his own people. After all, his mother had been visited by an angel of God twice as a promise that Samson would deliver his people from Philistine bondage:

“You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Judges 13:5

The book of Judges explains that Samson was set apart from birth. His parents did everything in their power to raise him as the angel of God had commanded them, but something went wrong. As an adult, Samson let his eyes lead his heart and he chose a woman that would eventually lead to tragedy upon tragedy.

And their marriage? It never had a chance.

Samson’s parents had warned him; they tried to guide him in this decision, but we wanted what he wanted. Perhaps you’re  raising a boy who seems bent on his own way too. It’s tempting to write a son off after those kinds of poor choices isn’t it?

Questioning  God’s purpose in their lives is only natural and yet, God was Sovereign over Samson’s decision to marry that less-than-ideal bride. In fact, God would eventually use Samson to fulfill exactly what He had promised before his birth. Samson would indeed, be used greatly by God to rule Israel for 20 years and to defeat the Philistines.

It was messy.

And Samson didn’t learn his lustful lesson with his young bride. Yet another woman would cause him to forget his calling and follow his emotions instead. But that’s not the totality of Samson’s story. Samson was filled with the Spirit of God over and over again, despite his failures.

The same is true for our sons too. Our sons are not the sum of their mistakes or bad choices. Time and time again I can look back over my own life and see how God redeemed both my immaturity and my sin. That’s what God does. He takes the weak, the unlovely, the foolish, and He makes them strong, beautiful, and wise.

Are you there, Mom? Wondering if your son will ever fulfill his purpose in life because he doesn’t seem to be following the path that you encouraged him to walk? Do not be discouraged. Remember that God does indeed have a plan for every life He creates and that His plans cannot be thwarted. His arm is not too short to save!

Keep breathing life into your sons with Truth from God’s Word.

Persevere in prayer over their lives.

Be available to offer wisdom when they need it.

Trust in God’s bigger plan for you son’s life and remember that His ways are often not our ways. Hope ever in the beauty of God’s ability to restore and renew, and let your son walk the path that God has laid before him.

Just as Samson’s life was a journey of both pitfalls and profound purpose, so it will be with our boys as they too become men whom God will use greatly for His glory. God’s not done with our sons, moms. Raise them well, and relinquish them to our great God who loves them and Whose purposes will always prevail.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Can you remember a time that you made choices that your parents would not have approved and yet God used your situation for good?
  • Do you worry about the path your son will take when he is older?
  • How has Samson’s example given you food for thought?

Amber-LiaA 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