His chocolate brown eyes peeked over my elbow as I typed, attempting to sneak-in a few words during a rare, quiet moment.
“Mom, this girl in my class . . . she won’t stop looking at me. It makes me feel embarrassed,” he confessed.
“Why do you think she’s looking at you?” I asked him, suspecting there might be more to the story since he occasionally plays the role of class clown.
“I think she has a crush on me,” he answered. Ever so casually he added, “And she’s really not my type.” I have to look away, just for a moment.
We don’t stress the boy/girl thing much in our house, but I’m not too shy when it comes to letting my boys know they’re in-training to someday become great husbands. It can be difficult for their six and seven year-old minds to grasp this because according to both of them, they want to live with mom and dad forever. I suspect they’ll change their minds, so I suppress my chuckle and file it away for a cute story to be shared at future graduations and weddings.
While my sons may not have much interest in girls now (thankfully!), someday they will.
Of course, there is so very much I want my boys to know about how to treat the hearts of women, but here are five ways I’m training them now:
1. Refuse to allow your son(s) to speak to you disrespectfully.Just as a father models how his daughter should be treated by her future husband, mothers do the same for their sons. If you allow your son to speak to you with sarcasm, unkindness and general disrespect, it’s possible he will do the same with his future wife.
I once attended a workshop presented by Dr. Kevin Leman and he stressed the following point more than any other:
“Mothers,” he said with the seriousness of a Supreme Court Judge, “DO NOT allow your sons to speak to you disrespectfully.”
Not stopping disrespectful behavior now will result in one sad wife later.
2. Teach your sons this rule: The role of boys is to help and protect girls, not hurt and reject girls.We’ve all read the horrible stories of girls being assaulted by boys after their drinks had been intentionally laced with drugs at a party. As if that weren’t awful enough, there were also boys who watched these assaults happen and never stepped in to help or try to stop them.
We must strive to raise boys who will step-in when help is needed not step-out when things get heated. We must purpose to raise boys who will become men of courage–men willing to speak up even when it’s not popular; boys who will help and protect all women and it starts with their mothers and sisters. In our house, this is practiced by reiterating that my boys are to help and protect their sister no matter what. If you have tween and teen boys, I would suggest having a very frank discussion with them about 1) what an assault actually is and 2) what to do if they ever witness one taking place.
3. Make your sons help you carry-in groceries from the car. Obviously, this isn’t limited to groceries. The point is to teach them to get up and help their future wives when she comes home from the store because this communicates love and appreciation. Every time I have groceries in the trunk, I beckon my boys (and my daughter for that matter!) and ask, “Why does Mommy make you carry-in groceries?” Sometimes they answer with enthusiasm and sometimes not, but they always reply, “Because we’re learning to be good husbands!”
4. Insist your son say thank you for the things you do for him. It’s so easy to take each other for granted in a marriage, isn’t it? I want my boys to be used to saying “thank you” for the acts of service their wives will one day do for them. Teaching our sons to be thankful will not only set them up to clearly communicate their appreciation to their future spouse, but will also make them more joyful. Double bonus!
5. Talk to your son(s) about a girl’s/woman’s heart.I don’t think it’s any secret that God made women to be the more relational gender, do you? Relationships are very important to us and our hearts can be delicate–especially during the middle school and high school years. I want my sons to understand that playing mind games, leading girls on or making fun of them is not okay. This goes back to helping and protecting girls and women. If they see a boy/man making fun of a girl/woman, they’re expected to help and protect.
I’m sure I will add to this list as my boys get older but for now, these are practical ways we can prepare our sons to become good husbands. However, there is one more thing we could add to this list . . .
Pray for his future wife. Without ceasing. Pray for your son’s heart development. And pray for him to become a man of courage and integrity that will help and protect women.
Dear Lord, thank you for entrusting us with our sons. You have made them so uniquely and we know you love them even more than we do. We place the hearts of our boys in your hands and we ask that you show us ways to best encourage their growth so they become men of courage, integrity and love. Amen.
How do you help boys to stand up for others when they are shy? I have two boys who are shy and don’t speak up because they are too timid. I have seen this recently when they have had friends over who break a house rule but they don’t speak up because they are afraid of how the friend will react. I imagine it will only get worse as they get older and the situations become more problematic. How do others handle situations like this when they seem to be “predisposed” to being a follower rather than a leader because of shyness?
Good question, Heather. My daughter is like this as well and she’s working on being bold, too. The story I am using with her, which would be great to use with your sons, would be the relationship between Paul and Timothy. As I’m sure you know, Timothy was very young but very anointed to shared the good news of Jesus. However, he was also believed to be a bit timid and shy at times. Paul wrote this to him in 2 Timothy 1:1-7
“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. ”
Timothy came from a family of strong believers – and notice how Paul mentions only the women of his family as having “sincere faith.” (That’s just an aside to encourage women who might have an unbelieving spouse!)
Anyway, Paul encourages Timothy to speak out even when it’s hard and even when he doesn’t want to do so.
The other day, my daughter was very confused by her math lesson and after working with her, I realized she was scared to raise her hand and ask a question in class. I spoke with her teacher about this and we both encouraged her to speak-up and ask questions – even when she was scared and even when she felt like she just didn’t want to.
Lo and behold, two days later, she did it. Both her teacher and I made a big deal about it then processed with her – how did you feel? What did you learn? etc.
I think just being intentional has been helpful with her, too. Whenever I have to speak up and be bold about anything, I make sure I tell all three of my children about it so they see it in action. Finding stories in the news about people being bold and speaking-up for what’s right is another way to put some skin on the issue, too.
Lastly, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to really build her up confidence-wise so she will feel more confident in speaking up.
If you would like to read more about Paul and Timothy, a great commentary can be found here:
Hope some of these suggestions help, Heather! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your heart!
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