When we brought my newborn son home to his brothers, ages 4 and 2, I was so nervous they would be too rough with him. “Be gentle,” was often spoken at our house in an attempt to try and reign in some of their boy energy so they wouldn’t unintentionally hurt their new baby brother. The words gentle and boy seem to be a bit of an oxymoron, don’t they? At least that’s the case in our house. But more than I desire my boys to be physically gentle with those around them, I desire for their spirit and words to be gentle. Society says that gentleness is a sign of weakness. It’s actually quite the contrary.
Gentleness is strength under control.
Gentleness has the power to defuse a heated situation and the power to communicate love in the most difficult circumstances. Gentleness needs no translation. You just know when someone exudes a gentle spirit regardless of if you speak his or her native tongue. How do we teach these rough-and-tumble boys to display gentleness to the world around them?
Encourage Gentleness When You See It
If you see your son displaying gentleness, point it out and encourage it. “I saw you using gentle words when your brother was choosing to yell at you. What a grown-up young man you are becoming.”
If you have younger boys, it’s sometimes fun to walk them through what to do when faced with a situation that requires a gentle response—for example, a sibling taking away a toy or a friend being mean. Give your boys gentle responses they can practice with you, ones that will hopefully be on the forefront of their minds when faced with those trying situations.
More than anything, our boys learn from watching us. If we live our lives choosing to be careless and rough with our words, our boys will probably struggle too. If we choose to be gentle and measured with our words, our boys will have an easier time displaying gentleness.
Pray each fruit of the spirit over your son, including gentleness.
There are some boys who have more of a bent towards gentleness than others. I have one son who has a very gentle spirit and another one that needs more encouragement in this area. Either way, giving our boys the tools to choose gentleness today will hopefully give them the ability to breathe life by choosing gentleness in any situation they face as men.