There they go again swirling past me, pretending to be warriors of great valor, parading through the house as they play the classic bad guy, good guy scenario. My busy boys play rough, wrestle, can be smelly, messy, loud and boisterous. These are the characteristics of boys as God designed them to be. In our society it is common for people to place a stereotype on boys with a certain image and encourage them to act out with a rough exterior.
We have all heard remarks made to boys like “hey buck up”, “be a big boy”, “boys don’t cry”, “grow up and take it like a man”. These are the common catch phrases that seem to be associated with the image of a boy.
Do you ever think that in the midst of “making them into a man” that we underestimate the tender heart and the softness that is under that tough exterior of our boys?
I know at times I have mistaken my boy’s harsh reactions and outward rough edges, for deep feelings that lie beneath the surface. For some reason we seem to think because they are boys and don’t show as much emotion as girls, that they don’t feel as deeply. The truth is that they do.
I can honestly say that the men in my house–my husband and three boys all have tender hearts that feel deeply at times. This soft side isn’t always obvious, and while they can be stoic in their demeanor, they can still feel within the deepest parts of who they are. I have seen it come out as I have hurt them at times. It breaks my heart to think of the times I have crushed my boy’s spirits, used too harsh of a tone with my voice, and come down on them in a less than graceful way. Again underestimating the hurt I was causing.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Psalm 15:1
I have come to the realization that as a balance to raising boys to be strong men who stand up for themselves, I also need to cultivate a tender heart within them.
I want to teach my boys how to have a gentle spirit, and to care deeply for others. I desire to see past the tough exterior and ask God to show me how to reach to the depths of who they are. Find the spark within them, allow the Lord to reveal how to love them, and emulate the gentle spirit that will take them into manhood.
- Any great leader must learn to be a servant.
- To be a man of God our boys must learn to love others in a real way.
- A man of integrity is one who can cry and empathize with others, who can come along side his brother in need.
That is what a real man is all about. Leading while caring. Don’t we all want men who are tender toward their wives, and children? Men who are aware of the needs around them, and making an impact on others as they reach to the depths of who they are?
I encourage you to look past the exterior of your rough and tumble boys and see the the kind nature that can be masked by sword fights and wrestling matches!
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5: 5
Q: How are you cultivating kindness in your boys?