Sunday, July 27, 2008

At the Well Monday/Raising Godly Boys--Yikes!

Lori at I'll Take it Lord, all You Have to Give is the hostess of "At the Well" this week.

I have to tell you, the topic of raising Godly boys has thrown me a bit of a loop. Lori threw out some INcredUlous questions on the subject, however, which are the following:

1.What advice would I give to women to raise Godly boys?

2.If you are raising boys, what areas concern you most?

3.If you don't have or haven't raised boys, what is your concern for boys in today's culture?

Okay, so nobody gets to bow out of this one...she's covered all the bases. So go on over to her place and sign the Mr. Linky, then give us your thoughts on the subject. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, but you know, we're all in this together, and our answers to the questions just might help each other out a bit. If you don't have time to blog about it, just leave your thoughts right here...NEED to hear from you on this one.

So back to why this has thrown me for a loop. A loop-d-loop actually. My firstborn--my baby boy--my Little Sweetness (my name for him in the womb)--is now a thirteen-year-old giant. I'm not kidding you, I was JUST holding him, reading the I'll Love You Forever book to him while rocking back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...NOW I've fallen off my rocker because he came up behind it and pushed me out of it by force of his pinky.

I've been through so much with him the last year...learned a lot...been humbled quite a bit (both of us). And he would be completely humiliated if I publicized to the whole world why and how and what. So I won't. All I can say is that I pray a TON. More than I ever have before. The struggles that a teenage boy has to go through majorly blows me away. Their thought life is so complicated, so foreign to me.

My opinions shared today are those based on being the mom of a new teenager. The way you parent your toddler will be different from the way you raise your son who is growing up in his pre-teen to teenage years. If you're not there yet, hold on to your hat, because fast forward is already in motion.

After praying about this post, the best advice I can give you at my stage of parenting is to pray. Pray that he owns his faith--not you. Pray that when you turn your head, he knows where to turn when temptation strikes. Pray that you will have wisdom to know what freedoms to give and not to give. Pray that you will know how far to let him go before you become Mama Buttinsky. Pray that HE will have wisdom in situations where Mama Buttinsky is not around. Pray, pray pray. And when things seem okay, like he is Godly and rooted and "better behaved" than other boys his age, pray some more. Maybe even more at that moment.

Communicate. Don't ridicule. Don't exasperate. Don't humiliate. Communicate. What are his likes? His dislikes? What in the world does he think about this and that and the other? Be amazed and thrilled at the differences in reasoning and logic, listening more than lecturing.

Learn. Learn from what you learn from your communication with him. Learn from others who have gone before you. Learn from God's Word. Learn from good books. Never stop learning. Learning as you listen.

Stop saying "never." The stuff you said you would "never let your son do." Don't be afraid to pray about that, reevaluate that and be open before God about what is best for the way your son is wired. Make sure you have consulted the One who knows your baby boy better than you do. Be open-minded as you pray, communicate, listen and learn.

Let the ponytail down every now and then. Remember, our boys get to a point where they want adventure, they want action...they want to be busy all the time. Keep reminding them that it's good to be still, and it's great to chillax, but don't forget to be a little crazy with them sometimes too. This is my achilles heel in parenting. I would rather teach him how to behave and journal and pray (which are essentials) than to let him teach me how to have an adventure and do something out of my comfort zone. But nothing brings us closer than when I do some stuff his way every now and then. That leads me back to more prayer...and listening and learning...

Anyway, rambling. Quite honestly, I have never had to exercise more faith than I have to at this stage in my son's life. I know more is to come, but right now, I'm consumed with what I have in front of me: and that is a very very tall, fuzzy-upper lipped, deep-voiced (with a touch of croak), testosterone-filled boy. One who loves Jesus, who wants to live for God, who sets an example for other boys...but is struggling with what it means to do all of the above with genuine faith--not the kind his parents pressure him into, but the kind he desires passionately with his whole heart, soul, mind and strength.

Which leads me back to prayer...

14 friends shared a comment:

Blessed One said...

I don't have boys, but it's a great post!

I'm really excited to have received my first blog award and am blessed to now be passing it on to you. :) I have it at my blog. Please stop by when you get the chance. Blessings!

Denise said...

This was a very nice post, bless you.

lori said...

"Communicate. Don't ridicule. Don't exasperate. Don't humiliate. Communicate. What are his likes? His dislikes? What in the world does he think about this and that and the other? Be amazed and thrilled at the differences in reasoning and logic, listening more than lecturing."

You are right in the middle of it...I'm so GLAD you came to the well..PRAYING will get us through it, it has worked well those who have come to the well before us...

You are right, they KNOW what they want to be....Godly guys, getting there in this world of distractions is just tough....they NEED our prayers and our commitments to love them through the tough times....

WONDERFUL, wonderfully wonderful wise advice...

Patty Wysong said...

Excellent post, Laura! I'm finding the same things with my boys (15.5, 10.5 and 7) Pray, pray and pray some more. They are SO different than girls, and they have so much to learn to be men, Godly men!

Thanks for reminding me to have fun with them too--it's always fun to make their eyes pop from shock that MOM would do such a thing. LoL.

Kathy C. said...

Beautifully said. Prayer is always the most important step,isn't it? I have to say, I almost cried when I read about "I'll love you forever". My son is 19, I got that book when he was born and we have read it together intermittently throughout his life.
When he was recently in Air Force Basic Training, I would write lines from the book in my letters and he would complete them in his return letters. It makes me cry just typing this. Oh! A mother's heart for her son...
Have a blessed day!

Laurie Ann said...

Prayer is what it takes, isn't it? God bless you for sharing your heart full of encouragement and inspiration.

Tracy Berta-daughter to the King, wife, mother, speaker, writer said...

Oh, how well said! I am mom to a 12 yr old and I could SO relate to what you wrote. (You can check out my similiar struggles at the well.)

"Communicate. Don't ridicule. Don't exasperate. Don't humiliate." WOW, what wisdom!

Thanks for such wise, awesome, Godly reminders.


a woman found said...

"Pray, pray pray. And when things seem okay, like he is Godly and rooted and "better behaved" than other boys his age, pray some more. Maybe even more at that moment."

Oh LauraLee!!!! This gets a great big AMEN from me, and a lot of, "Yes! Oh Lord, yes, that, what she just said, for me!"

It's my achilles to work on obedience, quiet journaling and prayer, studying the word, etc., too, when, especially my older child, at just 5, would rather learn about Jesus, sing and hear His word spoken while riding his bike on a bmx track.

There's a place for both I'm sure.

Thanks for sharing this. I'm praying like crazy!!

Joanne Sher said...

Laura - this is incredibly insightful, dear. I'm not there yet, but I know I will be. And, of course, prayer is good for EVERY stage, as is communication. Thanks, sweetie.

Natalie @ I AM (not) said...

I so agree about not ridiculing or humiliating out kids. That's the fastest way to shut them down! Excellent point!

The Surrendered Scribe said...

Pray and as Wild At Heart says, affirm your son that he's the man and can get the job done. I already see the wound in my ten year old when I respond any other way.

Thanks for your kind comment, you were on my short list but I saw Blessed One blessed you too!

You bless me, and this was another great post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I, too, had to be very careful about what I said in my post for my son's benefit. We have our struggles. And I agree with you that this stage takes a lot of exercising faith and trust in God because God is in control of all things. Sometimes I find myself totally NOT knowing what to do or what to say or how to respond or how to discipline. It is so hard! Again, thanks for all that you shared!

Take care,

LAURIE said...

loved your post about your son. yes they grow quickly and every stage is an adventure. Take in each moment and cherish...he's 13 today and tomorrow he will be walking down the aisle to meet his bride. PRAYER is the exact thing that will get you thru each stage, each moment, each excitement, each disappointment. Thanks for coming to THE WELL this week. -Blessings, Laurie

Peculiar said...

I needed to read this. It was a great post. I have two teenage boys, and I've got to trust that God knew what He was doing and knew what I could handle when He placed them in my care.

I think I will never feel adequate as a mother raising them "could have done this better," "should have done that," "should have let go on this sooner," "could have understood better," etc. But God, in His infinite wisdom, mercy, and grace has allowed me to STAND, not grow weary, keep foraging ahead, prodding along, loving them, praying for them without ceasing, admonishing them, just sitting back and watching them, and praying some more. That's the biggest and most consistent thing, I think, that we can do for them, besides use every opportunity to model Jesus in front of them.

Thanks for this. We who have teenage boys in this day and age, need all the encouragement and wisdom we can get. We certainly can and should learn from one another. We never stop growing do we? Thank God.