An Easy Activity That Stops Whiny Boys in Their Tracks

The boys were unusually tired and whiny as the afternoon seemed as chaotic and tumultuous as the morning.

Naturally, this made me unusually tired and whiny; not a good combination.

Do you ever have days like that?

Tired and whiny turned into outright complaining.

My kids started saying things like, “I was sitting there-that’s MY SPOT!” and “I don’t want a sandwich!” and “I was playing with the dump truck first!”

Ugh. What’s a mom to do? How do I turn the tide of ungrateful hearts around when my own heart is being sucked dry by all the bickering and fussing?


One of my favorite ways to get out of a funk and refocus our hearts back on track is through music and singing. I recently read this verse from Psalm 95:2:

Let us come to him with thanksgiving. 

Let us sing psalms of praise to him.

I knew that going before God for help was the answer, but not just in prayer this time. I wanted my sons to get their joy back! In our home, singing and dancing together always does the trick.

I asked the boys to choose a favorite song they like to sing and then tell me two things they are thankful to God for. Oliver, my 7-year-old, chose “toys” and “the sky.” Then he selected the song, Mr. Golden Sun for the tune of his original song. Next, we sang the song through together, changing the lyrics to fit his theme of thankfulness. This was the result:

And you know what? No more tired and whiny kids. No more complaining. Each of the boys took turns talking through their two things they were thankful for and the song they wanted to sing. When Daddy came home, we set up a little performance!

Now when the complaining creeps in, we remind each other about our “Gratitude Song” and sing it to remind each other that we have so much to thank God for in our lives. God is pleased when we acknowledge Him for His goodness to us and I want that to be a natural part of my sons’ daily life.

Give this simple, but fun activity a try with your kids and pray that the song of their hearts will always be one of gratitude and praise.

Let’s pray for hearts of gratitude in our sons:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help us be creative moms when it comes to pointing our children to You, Lord! Give us hearts of praise and thanksgiving so that we can model that for our sons and give our boys attitudes of contentment and gratitude that honors You!

In Jesus Name, Amen!


  1. This activity isn’t just for kids! What song would you choose to sing and what two things are you grateful for today?
  2. What’s one of your all time favorite praise songs of thanksgiving and why is it so meaningful to you?

Goodness (21 Days of Prayer for Sons)

Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you.

How I despaired that my sons would ever be good to each other. Jaden’s severe developmental delay and special needs kept him from understanding the damage his ten year-old body was capable of inflicting on three year-old Brendan. Let’s just say he yanked him off a top bunk leaving him with a massive black eye. How my husband and I have worked and prayed for change.

Goodness — 21 Days of Prayer for Sons Challenge via The MOB Society


I doubted I’d ever see the day my fiery last-born would forgive his older brother’s offenses, but the Holy Spirit has worked faithfully. With a fuller understanding of his own blessings has come a burden to do good to Jaden — so much so that Brendan approached me solemnly a few days ago…

“Mom,” my eight year-old said, “I love Jaden just the way he is. And I want you to know that someday if you and Dad can’t take care of him, I want him to live with me.” I had flashbacks of Brendan’s rage… the days he asked, “why did you even adopt Jaden?” And tears pricked my eyes as I saw God’s goodness taking root in my son’s soul.


“Goodness” is impossible to find within the hearts of our sons or within our own hearts. Our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). And we see that even in the precious sons we’ve birthed or chosen. When our sons find Jesus, the beauty of His goodness is freed in their lives. No longer slaves to their sin nature, the fruit of goodness is actually possible. It’s our job to teach this — that goodness is found in Christ, not ourselves, that we are conduits of His goodness.

We can’t force true goodness. Mothering is never about controlling. It’s about living out what we long for in our sons, training and teaching from God’s Word (<<<–Tweet That!).

Ultimately it’s about praying our guts out and trusting God’s Spirit to work. Our prayers are going to be desperate. I know mine have been. When we see the selfishness and sinfulness is our son’s hearts, we find ourselves begging God to teach them goodness. Since goodness isn’t a celebrated quality in society today, we’re up against three formidable enemies — the sinful human nature, the devil himself, and a world full of evil.


But, my warrior sister, greater is He that is us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). As we ourselves put on the full armor of God listed in Ephesians 6, and as we pray for our sons to arm themselves with the same, we battle with hope and confidence.

And just as God’s work in Brendan’s heart has surprised me, I believe the work in your son’s heart will surprise you.

It may take years to see this fruit. But let’s “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).


Have you ever told your son, “Just be good”? How might this frustrate them or lead them to misunderstand where true goodness is found? Today, let’s teach our sons about our need for grace and God’s goodness, and let’s get ready to see God work.

Throughout the day, pray the ten scripture prayers found at the end of the Goodness chapter in Praying for Boys!

jen ebenhackJennifer’s eight eventful years as a missionary in Haiti produced a gift of brokenness through which she has discovered the depths of God’s healing grace. She now helps others live boldly in this broken world through her blog, life coaching, speaking, and her ebook Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear (free to newsletter subscribers). She is currently writing a memoir of her family’s nine-year adoption process and gripping experiences in Haiti. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and

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Raising Boys Ministries Needs Your Help TODAY!

Thank you SO much, friends, for celebrating our big announcement yesterday and starting our fundraiser with a bang! We went to bed with our goal 20% funded! That is amazing!


If you haven’t heard the news, MOB Society is becoming a nonprofit ministry! But we can’t do it without you. Here’s a message from Brooke:

We need your help TODAY!

Today is a special day in regards to our fundraiser and we need it to be BIG. Fundly, the company we are using to manage our fundraiser, has reduced their processing fees for TODAY ONLY as part of their #FundlyGivesBack campaign! That means we receive more of the donations made today than on any other day! It is a great day to give if you are going to donate to our nonprofit ministry process!

Fundly is our main fundraising source, but if you do not want to use a credit card to donate, you may donate through PayPal with the email address themobsociety at gmail dot com OR by check. Please contact us by email if you would like to donate by check!

If you already gave or are not able to at this time, we would love your help is SHARING this campaign because the fundraiser with the most social media shares will win $100! Please share our Fundly campaign page with all your friends and family and use the #FundlyGivesBack hashtag whenever possible! The more shares of our fundraiser with that hashtag, the better our chances of winning $100 to go towards our campaign!

For Twitter:   helps  find delight in the chaos of raising boys. Help fund this ministry!#FundlyGivesBack (<<–Click to Tweet)

For Facebook: Do you have boys? The #mobsociety helps moms find delight in the chaos of raising boys and shape a generation of men to love the Lord. I want to help fund this vital ministry. Would you help? #FundlyGivesBack”

Thank you again! We love this community so much and are grateful for the ways God is knitting us together as we raise our sons to love the Lord!

A New Direction and Season for the MOB Society

We’ve been around almost five years.

That’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Nearly five years ago, God planted a dream in our hearts for a place to provide encouragement and hope for moms of boys. We had four of them between us then, and desperately needed the encouragement ourselves. We had only met on Twitter about a month before opening this site, and met in person for the first time about five months later.

You’ve walked with us through births, miscarriages, deaths, moves, crazy wild attempts to find hope in the mess of motherhood, first books, and so much more. Through it all, you’ve become a powerhouse of praying boymoms who are willing to fight for their sons no matter what.

Erin and I stood back to take a good look at you recently and realized that you just sparkle on the internet. You shine. You provide a beacon of hope to hurting moms, and we couldn’t be more proud of all God is doing in your lives.

Here’s what you have to say about how the MOB Society has been there for you…

It really helps me to know there is a community of people who really, truly “get” the ups and downs of life with multiple boys. I feel much encouraged and far less alone.Jennifer

I feel like you get me. Like you understand my goals and my challenges. Your encouragement and positivity means so much to me. Thank you.Leslee

I feel so blessed to have found MOB Society right at the start to have as a resource every step of the way. Thank you for all you do.Crystal

This information has changed the way I interact with my son and has given me information for the future.Jennifer

The resources, questions, prayer of the day, devotional opportunities just fortify and uplift especially on days where it feels like I’m failing at every turn. To read that other moms are going through some of the same things helps me not only to handle similar situations in a Godly way from some of the guidance, but I also know it’s not just me or my son. Thank you!Cin

But we sense Him asking for more…

About six months ago, we started having some serious discussions about the future of MOB. Clearly, God has His hand on this community. In the last two or three months, the number of visitors we get to this site has almost quadrupled. God is doing something here, and we believe it’s because you’re so close to His heart.

He loves you, and wants to equip you to raise godly men.

This is incredibly exciting news! God is expanding our territory and impacting more lives! Friends, this has been our prayer for this space all along, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Our hearts are to minister to you right where you are…


As we’ve talked and prayed, the word “ministry” has come up over and over, because truly, that’s why we keep this space alive: to help moms find delight in the chaos of raising boys, and shape a generation of men to love the Lord. Our desire is to provide you with care and resources for raising godly sons, so to be a for-profit ministry just no longer makes sense to us.

That’s why, under the Lord’s leading, we’re pursuing non-profit status for The MOB Society.


Our official name will be Raising Boys Ministries, and this blog one of the arms we’ll use to reach mothers of boys with a message of hope. Admittedly, not much will change about this blog—at least not this year. But everything we do, from the top to the bottom, will be designed with ministering to you in mind. 2015 will bring expansions of ministry, new resources, and new ways to reach the hearts of moms with a message of hope.

Here’s the deal…we can’t do this without you.

Erin and I have never made much money from this site—basically just enough to maintain it and keep it growing over the years. To apply for non-profit status and pay our site expenses for the rest of the year (through the end of December 2014), we need to raise $10,000.

  • If you believe in the ministry of the MOB Society…
  • If you believe supporting moms as they shape a generation of godly men is important…
  • If you want to see more moms of boys get the resources they need to truly make a difference in the lives of their sons…

Would you consider helping us reach this goal?

We need our community to come together and rally behind the vision of delight in the chaos, and support for raising godly men like never before. Will you be a part of it?

If 1000 boymoms give $10 each…

If 500 boymoms give $20 each…

If 250 boymoms give $40 each…

If 100 boymoms give $100 each…

If 50 boymoms give $200 each…

If 10 boymoms give $1000 each…

If 2 boymoms give $5000 each…

We’ll reach our goal today.

We want to walk with you on the journey of raising boys to be godly men. We know it’s the hardest job you’ve ever had, but we’re here to offer hope, resources, prayer, laughter, and encouragement for the daily grind of boy mamahood.


Help us spread the word. Let your show of support be a vote of support, not for us, but for the moms out there who need hope as much as they need air to breathe.

*Donations are NOT tax-deductible at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 **If you would prefer to donate an alternate way, you can donate directly to our Paypal account at the email address themobsociety at gmail dot com OR you can email us at that same address to find out how to send a check! Please let us know if you have any questions!



Three Ways to Tune Into Your Teenage Son

Three Ways Tune Into Teenage Son

image source

Dear Mom,

When my son was young, I would think about the future and I often battled the fear of what might happen when he became a teenager. Do you ever feel that way? Knowing our relationship would change as he got older I was fearful of what it would turn into. Change was inevitable, but I didn’t want to lose the sweetness.

Fear not! There is hope!

One of the things I have worked hard to do is to nurture my relationship with him by connecting with him in any way possible.This connecting has looked different in each season, but here are just a few of the ways we’ve kept our relationship strong.

  • Model Humility: Admit When You Are Wrong

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” (Colossians 3:12)

Beginning at a young age, my husband and I would regularly take the time to ask each child if there was anything that we were doing that bothered, hurt, or frustrated them. It often brought to light things that we didn’t realize we were doing. It gave us insight into where they were and how we could best encourage them.

I remember clearly the day I sat with my then elementary school age son and asked him if there was anything I was doing or saying that frustrated him, or anything I needed to work on as a mom. He quietly thought for a few minutes and then said,

“Well, Mom, sometimes at night when I wake up and I’m scared, I call out to you. And sometimes you get irritated. That kind of hurts my feelings.” Grieved by my lack of sensitivity, I asked him to forgive me and told him it was something I would work on. I thanked him for being brave enough to be honest with me. And from that day on I purposed to try to respond better when he woke me up in the middle of the night because he was afraid.

Practicing tuning in over the years has been very eye-opening and humbling, but it has shown our children that we’re people who are in a process of growing  just like they are. It has helped to pull our children closer to our side (even in their teen years!), helped my husband and I become better listeners, and has been used as a tool to help us become even better parents.

If we’re unable to receive input or we make excuses for our behavior such as claiming that we’re “too old to change,” we are the ones who lose! We will lose relationships with our children, opportunities to grow and be humbled, chance to set an example, and lastly, we will lose the respect of our children.

We must admit that we don’t know everything. We must not insist that our way is always the right way. It’s a good thing when our children see that we don’t know it all and that we’re seeking help from the only One who does. If we live humbly before our children, I believe it will be one of the most important things God uses to draw our children to Him.

  • Give Them The Gift of Silence

It’s easy to automatically reflect on our own childhood and want to give our children the “When I was your age . . .” lecture. I’ve found in most cases that this speech only causes frustration. Our children are not us. They’re individuals. They need us to be functioning in the here and now and focus on who they are. As easy as it can be for us to go down memory lane, our parenting should not be based on all that we experienced as children. It’s important that we purpose to seek wisdom from God and study who our children are as individuals.

As my kids approached the teen years, my husband and I found ourselves reflecting back on our own experiences, so we came up with a signal that we call the “You’re Going Down Memory Lane” signal! It’s a gentle reminder that helps us to listen more than we talk.

When I practice listening more than I talk as we are going about our daily lives, my son will often open up about what is on his mind. Many conversations happen when I least expect it–over a meal, in the car, or on the way to a sporting event.  It is easy to get stuck in “parenting mode”, “teaching mode”, or “lecture mode”, when a “be quiet and listen mode” is more appropriate.  This validates what they are thinking and feeling and that you really want to hear what they have to say!

  • Turn Off, But Tune In!

In this age of technology much of what we do is done on the computer or cell phone. It’s easy to be distracted by what is now an ever-present pull, easily accessible, and seemingly urgent. Starting when they were very young, as much as possible, I have made it a policy to turn off all technology when my family enters the room, so that I can focus on them with as little distraction as possible. Of course, at times that may not be possible. I may need to finish up an email or quickly come to a breaking point on a project. There are times when we’re watching a movie as a family or when everyone is busy doing their own thing, so it’s okay to continue working, but as much as I possibly can, my computer closes when my family is home together. It shows them they are what is most important and that I want to focus on them with no distractions.

Modern technology is much more than a distraction, though, and it can be used for good! Because of the technology we do have, there are many creative ways to use it to tune in and communicate with our children. For example, the cell phone can be a wonderful way to keep in touch. As soon as your child gets a cell phone, start texting them regularly!

Messages like,

“Just checking in.”

“I love you.”

“I’m proud of you.”

“I’m thankful for you.”

“When will you be home?” reaffirm your interest in and affection for your teenage son. Cell phones and text messages are just another way I can tune in and connect with them. It’s a great way to take advantage of this age of technology.

Even though my children are now grown, I continue to look for ways to tune in. I don’t think that will ever end no matter what season of life I’m in. Yes, it does take time and creativity and just when we think we have it down, our kids grow and change. Then we have to try new ways to tune in. Our children are worth the effort, don’t you think?

150 150Gina Smith has been married to Brian for 25 years, and has been a mom for 23 years. Her husband and children have been her greatest gifts! Even though she has entered a new season of life, her children do still need her, and she is thrilled about that! Gina has served alongside her husband at a small Christian college right outside of Washington DC for almost 20 years. After homeschooling both of her children, she was able to serve as the Dean of Women at the college. Being a mom has been the most wonderful, terrifying, exciting, challenging, satisfying, exhausting, heart wrenching, and heart warming adventure and calling of her life. Now that her children are both grown, she fully enjoys her calling to mentor young women in person, and on-line with her blog “Real Life Titus Two“.