My son came up to me and gave me a big hug, “Boy man style.” In other words, he leaned towards me and put his head on my chest as his arms dangled to his side.
I desire so many good thingd for my son. In my eyes, I still see him as that sweet little, roly-poly baby who I would rock to and sing to for hours. That sweet, little toddler who would dance with me in the kitchen and follow me everywhere I went.
Our first and foremost desire is to love our Boy-men so that they will become men who love like Jesus. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put the ways of childhood behind me” 1 Corinthians 13: 11 NIV.
It’s difficult to think he is on his way to Manhood.
As mothers, it is sometimes hard to remember that this boy-man wants and needs to be treated like a man. Boys are naturally inclined to be aggressive, adventurous and competitive. They are prewired to think differently, love differently and see the world differently.
Personally, this is the one of the more difficult parts of being a boy mom.
The way my son responds, acts and feels to how I react to his natural behavior is sometimes very unnatural to me. Learning how to love my son well, despite his sometimes passive, sometime stubborn, sometime sensitive behavior can be quiet a challenge.
Yet, no matter the personalities of our sons, most importantly, as mothers, we are called to love our boy-men well and to be intentional about expressing our love to them.
It is our love that will tenderly and effectively pierce their hearts and determine the kind of men they will grow up to be.
16 Ways to Love your Boy-Men Well
1. Love them with Honor and Respect
The first thing you hear in most marriage classes is that your husband needs honor and respect. Well…so do your sons.
You sons need to be treated as important and should be recognized for the good they do.
Honor them with your words.
Recognize them when they succeed.
Praise them for who they are and who they are becoming.
Boy-Men need to be honored too.
2. Love them with Your Words
DO NOT belittle your boys, especially with sarcasm.
Moms, sarcasm is a cruel way to speak to your children. Many times children do not understand sarcasm and when you speak with sarcasm you speak with contempt and ill will. Sarcasm is defined at ” a sharp…utterance designed to cut or give pain” (Merriam-Webster).
Death and life are in the power of our tongues and to speak sarcastically is to speak death.
When you speak harshly to your boys, you are piercing their hearts in shame, not in love.
Boy-Men should be spoken to with words of truth and life.
3. Love them with Your Ways
Do not yell, walk away or roll your eyes at your boy-men.
This one is hard for me. So many times I get frustrated with my son and I will yell in frustration or worse, walk off annoyed. If I did this to my husband, he would feel completely rejected and hurt and angry at my rude behavior; so, why do I think it’s OK to act this way towards my son?
Boy-Men should be respected.
4. Love them with Encouragement
Speak words that encourage his heart and uplift him.
If you speak to the little boy in your son, he will act like that little boy.
If you speak to the man in your son, he will rise up and act like a man.
God has great plans for you.
I know you can do this.
I can’t wait to see how God uses you.
I believe in you.
God gave you amazing gifts.
You are so strong.
You are such a great brother.
You are such a good man.
You are a leader.
I am so thankful that you are my helper.
I know I can always depend on you.
God is going to use you for great things.
5. Love them and Serve them with Food
They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
My son is a very picky eater, but he still enjoys when I make his favorite meals.
Feeding your boy is an act of service and eating is a sweet pleasure! Serving your son food he enjoys is a special memory that he will always hold dear.
Serving and loving your sons with food can become a sort of peace offering.
Many times when I want my boy to open up to me, I will serve him some toast and coffee and we will sit, and he will almost always starts to talk!
Or, when he is angry or has just been punished or sad, I will take him a popsicle or fizzy drink.
To a Boy-man, this simple act of love can soften his heart.
6. Love them with your Time
Spend quality, one on one time together doing something that your son enjoys. Fill his tank with what He loves.
Play that video game, take him out for ice cream, go bowling, go fishing, go for a walk or run, take him shopping…Spend time talking and laughing together.
Time is how you build your relationship.
Time is what will connect you.
Time makes memories.
Enjoy your Boy-Man!
7. Love them by Letting Go of the Small Stuff
His room may never be clean. His clothes may never make it into the laundry basket. He may always have to be reminded to feed the dog or take out the trash or do his homework.
Don’t harp on him for every little thing.
Choose two to three things that are important in this season, or that you need to train him in now and let the other things go.
You and your boy-man will be happier!
8. Love them by Establishing clear Expectations
There are certain standards that will not be lowered. There are rules that will have severe consequences if they are broken. There are expectations that must be met.
Set those expectations clearly and remind them of those things, especially when they will be away from you or in specific settings.
Boy-Men always understand and accept the expectations set before them…it’s a part of manhood.
9. Love them by Giving them Identity
Establish a family identity that proclaims who they are within your family.
If you ask our kids to tell you about who our family is/does and in turn, who they are, you would
hopefully hear them say that we are Christ followers. We are lights in a dark world.
We do not give up. We love and protect each other above everything else.
Set them up to succeed.
Show your sons that they are courageous, heroic and strong; that they are leaders and loyal friends.
A boy-man who has a firm identity in who he is within his family will not only know that he is set apart, but will also take pride in his family and understand what is expected of him within his family identity.
10. Love them by Trusting Them
Say yes often.
If you have set clear boundaries and they understand what is expected of who they are as a man in your family….trust them to walk in those expectations.
Trust their instincts. Trust their obedience. Trust their faith.
A boy-man can’t learn to trust himself if you never give him the chance to test his own standards and walk out his faith alone.
11. Love them by Giving them the Freedom to Make their own Decisions
Let them decide which sport to play, what clothes to wear, what shoes to buy, what meal to eat at a restaurant, what party to go to, what friends to make…
Some of these decisions will not be easy to handle or accept, but if you are raising a Godly man, and you have established your family identity and expectations…they may just make the right decisions.
A man will have to make decisions for his future, his callings and his family.
If you want your boy-men to make good decisions when they are older, you must start allowing them to make decisions at a young age.
12. Love them, Allow them to Fail…and Trust them Anyways
They will mess up. They will fail. They will stumble…hard.
Allow them to fail with grace.
Give them lots of chances.
Sometimes the lesson is in the failing.
Allow your boy men to fail and have the grace to continue to train them and help them to rise up to whatever is challenging them in the season that they are in. Let them know that even when they fail, you will love them and trust them anyways.
Give your boy-men as many chances as your Father has given you.
13. Love them by Allowing them to Suffer Consequences
Don’t bail them out.
Consequences are consequences and every decision has them.
Do not enable your sons to expect that you will save them. You can’t do that, however, you can offer them grace and offer to walk through the consequences with them, if you are able to. Unfortunately, there will always be consequences that they will have to face alone.
Trust them and trust God who created them.
Your boy-men will be able to handle the consequences…it’s a part of manhood.
14. Love them by being Sympathetic and Sensitive
You sons need to know you won’t laugh at them when they are being serious.
They also need to know that they can trust you to not get crazy mad when they are confessing their sins or telling the truth.
Yes, there will be many times when you are angry, and righteously so, but we must always practice being slow to anger.
We must provide an outlet for them to share their secrets, confusions, thoughts and sins. If when they do so you laugh at them or quickly get angry, they will not confide in you.
Above everything else, you have to keep all lines of communication open with your boys, because one day they will have some big fears, hurts, secrets and even sins that they need your help and guidance on.
Boy-Men need a loving confidant, if they can’t trust you, they will find someone else to talk to.
15. Love them by Listening to them Well
When your boy-man has something to say:
stop what you are doing, turn towards him and look at him.
This is so hard to do! Especially when it takes 5 minutes for him to explain or tell a story or when that joke just isn’t funny or when you really don’t care what happened on Jessie!
If you don’t give him your attention in the little things, why would he expect you to give him you attention in the more important things?
Prove to him that what he has to say is important to you.
Your boy-man deserves your full attention.
16. Love them by Praying for your Boy-Men
Daily, hourly, often.
There is a a lion seeking to devour your boy.
There is a lion seeking to break your boys so that they do not have the chance to be men.
Pray for them Mom.
The love of a praying mother will abound over every evil intention that lies in wait to trap her sons.
God has entrusted us with this amazing calling of being a boy mom.
Love your Boy-men well, sweet mama’s.
Be intentional, do your best work and give the rest of it to God.
He will cover everything you can’t and He will equip you to Raise Godly Boy-Men who will advance His kingdom.
Come back next week for Raising Boy-Men Part II- How to Train Them.
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You and your sons are HIS beloved,