Redirecting Your Discontent Son

Wrapped up in half a dozen blankets, with a sippy cup of milk dangling from his teeth and a book in each hand, my child crawled up into my lap.  It was a joy to snuggle close at bedtime, visiting The Hundred Acre Woods and Neverland together.  But as he grew, so did the number of his storybooks and the size of his cup.  Though we set boundaries in our bedtime routines, every night stretched longer than the one before.  Another song, a longer back tickle, a made up story, another Bible story, another visit from Dad and one more prayer…

Amidst his nighttime attempts for more, I discovered two interesting things about my son.  First, my child pushed for more until he got a strong No.  (And even then, heartbroken cries for more would trail after me from behind his closed bedroom door.)  The second thing I realized was that this insatiable appetite began leaking out into our previously contented daytime hours as well.

MOB-ThankfulnessGame

A NATURAL INCLINATION

You too might have a son like mine, whose natural inclination is toward discontentment. It’s a challenging personality to raise; exhausting as they ask for one thing after another. Always consuming though never filled. Never satisfied. But rather than grow weary and get angry, and it’s a temptation, I’m realizing how exhausting it must be for him. Never filled to overflow – ever striving for what’s next.

Here in November at The MOB Society we’re pausing to turn things around and go the direction of Thanksgiving with our sons. Redirecting our own hearts as we redirect theirs. Leading by example and giving them the tools they need to live thankful days.

REDIRECTING HEARTS

Redirection in behavior training is a common parenting tool when raising toddlers.  Instead of turning every poor choice they make into a lecture or a firm time of discipline, sometimes all they need is a gentle redirect.  “Uh-oh,” we say, “Let’s not grab what Brother’s playing with, look at all these dinosaurs!”

Redirection in its simplest form.

We started the practice of redirecting thanksgiving, when he was very young and asked for another cookie, another play-date, another anything on the heels of having had so much GOOD already that day.  I’d get down on his eye-level and ask,  “Can you tell me, Sweetheart, three things we’ve already done this morning? Three gifts you’ve already had?”

Daily, sometimes multiple times, redirecting him back to giving thanks.  Simple things like…

  • Bacon at breakfast
  • A swim in the pool
  • Fluffy white clouds in the sky
  • A card in the mail from Nana
  • Legos with brothers…

CONTINUED EDUCATION

He’s older now, but I see that this personality pull towards more-more-more may be a struggle for him always.  So we keep redirecting; practicing the miracle exercise of Thanksgiving.

It won’t surprise you that this boy of mine loves collecting (hoarding) treasures. And one of the treasures he loves most are journals–leather-bound or brightly colored, lined for words or blank for art. This fall I bought us both our own large sketchbooks and said, “Here’s one for you and one for me, let’s sit together each day and write out our blessings – because we have so much to be thankful for.”

I didn’t tell him why he’s the only boy in our home who got one. He received it as a gift. And wrote it down. “This new journal is a gift.”  It’s my prayer that as my son recounts his gratitude, his heart would fill up to overflowing–satisfied as we redirect him there each morning.

 

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14

 

Dear Lord, please satisfy my son each morning with your unfailing love, that he may sing for joy and be glad (and grateful and all filled up…) all his days. Amen

Question: Do you have a child with a natural bent towards discontentment? Or maybe your own heart is in need of redirecting. How do you actively encourage Thankful Hearts in your home?

 

Headshots - AAPROVED PORT0007Wendy and her sweetheart Matt are raising their three ruddy boys in the foothills of San Diego.  Before her career as a “MOB”, Wendy worked in Hollywood as an actress on shows such as JAG, Star-Trek Voyager, Roswell, and Melrose Place.  But she always longed to tell stories that drove audiences closer to Jesus.  She does that now!  Both on the pages of her blog www.wendyspeake.com, and on stage performing monologues with Biblical teaching applications to women’s ministries.

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?

MOB-StopWhinyBoys

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!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

  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

DOUBT REPLACED

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.

THE ROOT OF GOODNESS

“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.

GREATER IS HE

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).

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

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 jenniferebenhack.com.

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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!

MOB-Logo-Final-Brown

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? http://bit.ly/1sZURU0 #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…

Ministry

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.

MOB-Logo-Final-Brown

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.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ANOTHER MOM’S LIFE BY GIVING TODAY.

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!