Friday night was cold and clear with cars streaming to local stadiums. Late news featured 17-year old heroes, praised for speed and measured in pounds starting with “2,” but my boy stayed home, glad for a night without homework and a novel thick as an oatmeal box. He took breaks to strum out tunes in the stadium of his room. He’d rather be quiet than be a quarterback. Can our sons excel if they’re not sports stars? How’s a mom to raise a son if he isn’t shaped outside or inside to tackle traditional ideas of strength?
Boys and men come in all varieties, but people often prefer one type over another. We cheer for boys in uniforms, not boys in their own worlds. Bold personality, large stature, loud volume, and force of presence win over the more reserved, quiet, and less assertive combinations. Physical giants score multi-million dollar sports contracts and immortality on Wheaties boxes, while libraries, labs and cubicles fill with inquisitive, creative minds tackling the problems of mankind.
Academic and artistic often leads to treatment as less masculine, adding fuel to the flames of gender uncertainty in our already confused world. From a boy’s earliest days, he’s conditioned to long to be big, strong, tough and a winner. Even Christian circles can confuse the essence of manliness. Can we empower our sons to be gentle and strong at the same time?
Boys need moms who parent from God’s playbook.
What Boys Need to Know About Success
“… great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 32:19 – NIV)
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b – NIV)
Your purpose is designed by God.
A mom has the privilege of helping her boy uncover his one-of-a-kind design. Has the Creator suited him to be a scientist? Coach? Missionary? Artist? Writer? Soldier? Banker? There is not one kind of amazing boy. His unique design will unfold over time.
Your value is assigned by God. God’s ways aren’t the world’s ways. His open eyes watch the conduct of ALL boys, and He values what may be missed by people.
Your growth is seen by God. Appreciate the differences in others, while appreciating your own shape. God’s purposes are at work in your life and in others, to make you each the best man you can be.
Your reward is chosen by God. The world doesn’t reward the same way that God rewards. He knows your deeds and rewards your growth as you change into the man He calls you to be.
Your future is planned by God.
You weren’t created to live anyone else’s life. You will maximize your strength when you maximize your self. Live God’s plan for you.
Sons excel in life when moms are satisfied in their design.
No one wants to see a boy reach his potential and be valued for his uniqueness more than his mom. More than any equipment assigned by a coach or lab instructor, our sons need to know they have our confidence and permission to be the very best man THEY are created to be. Let them hear, “Son, you have amazing gifts! You can become a great, strong man. God has exciting plans for you!”
5 actions to help all sons excel in life
- Ask God to reveal your boy’s unique gifts to you.
- Focus your compliments and feedback on your boy’s character.
- Plan opportunities for your boy to explore his interests and abilities.
- Guard against exalting some popular boyish traits over others.
- Listen to your boy share about his unique dreams for his future.
For more inspiration about helping your boy excel, you might check out this post about A Dozen Ways to Reach Your Son’s Heart and the power of a woman’s choice to Know him: a lesson from a mentor. You can also find more helpful resources on my Pinterest Board: All about BOYS.
Not a day goes by when Julie Sanders is not thankful that “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom. 5:20). She loves to teach God’s word and minister to women, because she was blessed to have seasoned moms walk the motherhood journey with her. The youngest of their two nearly grown kids, son Jacob has made Julie catch her breath, fill with joy, and drop to her knees time and time again. She is the author of Expectant: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms.
This is so beautiful, thank you! One of my sons in particular really moves to the beat of his own drummer, and so far (what I love!) is that he really doesn’t care. 🙂 Homeschooling might help as he doesn’t get caught comparing himself to others, but your post encourages me to keep on (even if it gets harder.) Love all of the links too–found some great posts I had missed! 🙂 Much aloha-
It’s not easy to be the boy who marches to the different beat, but you are so right to keep on encouraging him to find the cadence he’s made for! Glad the links were helpful 🙂
Love your point about his not caring. It is a beautiful thing. Mine is the same way. People actually point out how self- assured my unique child is. I’m challenged to join the party he’s throwing for himself.
That’s a great way to put it Wendy 🙂 There’s such a balance to helping our boys be aware of “what other people think” and being controlled by “what other people think.” Oh that they would be self-assured, even God-assured, young men!
This is wonderful. I have three boys and one of them is uniquely wonderful. It’s easy to think of him, in the quiet places of my thought life, as less masculine, but those thoughts eventually make their way out of my mind and into my behavior. What do my behaviors say to this son of mine. I want each look, each word, each action to say, “I respect the man of God that He is growing you up and into.” I have some praying and considering to do today. Thank you.
I’m so glad it was encouraging Wendy. I do wonder how our inner thoughts, even the ones we are unaware of, might make their way into our words and ways with our boys. I love how you said you want every loo, word, and action to speak into you boy. Oh, I need help with that daily too. I’m asking the Lord to help me listen to myself!
I was greatly encouraged by this post … my little boy is also not a rough-tough-sporty-type of boy, and while I see his unique value and the overwhelming potential that God has placed in his life, I can already see (at Grade 1 age), how the measuring of “manliness” starts. I pray for him often, that he will stay strong and true to who God made him to be, no matter what the world tries to tell him he should be like.A friend and I were chatting a while ago, around this issue, and she said something which struck me – the very things that make these boys feel “less-than” during their school years (their sensitivity, their kindness, their generosity, their thoughtfulness, etc), are the very things that make them into amazing husbands and men of stature in later life! It’s such a pity that these attributes aren’t valued as highly in the young boy!