Why is it that boys love combat so much? And why do moms have a fundamental disconnect with their sons about it?
A young mother came up to our table at a conference and asked to speak privately, “I think my son may be…a psychopath!” she blurted out.
“Why in the world do you think that?” I was startled.
“Well, he plays war all the time! And he pretends to kill people! And he pretends to get killed!” she said with horror.
After a little more questioning, we realized this was just a normal boy playing war games. See, when his mother thought of war, she thought of widows and orphans. She pictured her beloved son wounded, perhaps bloodied and beaten. Don’t we all, mothers? But when her son thought of war, he thought of honor and glory, laying down his life for his friend or family, nobility, courage, strength and victory over evil. You see, God made him for combat though he may never use physical force.
God designed our boys to fight, but to fight for right. To stand up for truth. To stand alone for Christ. To battle in the spiritual realm with prayer. The ideal is to be warriors for Christ.
Pin it and link back to this post!
Godly aggression has a purpose in the physical world, too. One mom told us she’d never allow her sons to play with toy guns because “violence is wrong.” Really, is all use of force wrong? If someone is breaking into our house when Melanie is home alone with young children, we want the police to come and use force! In the physical world, our boys may need to protect their families or their country. They will almost certainly need to use moral force and fight with words as they stand for right.
So, our boy’s love of combat shouldn’t frighten us or disgust us. Instead, it should inspire us to direct it in a godly way. “Hey boys, let me tell you about World War II and you guys can pretend to be Allied Forces fighting for the freedom and safety of Europe.” Encourage them to pretend to be the noble, the righteous, not pretend to be robbers or evil. They can be Naval officers fighting the Barbary Pirates, Secret Service agents chasing down counterfeiters, Old West sheriffs hunting down rustlers, or policemen raiding a drug den.
And we should remind them of the most important battle they face – the one with the General that they can not see and an enemy which goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Combat? Yes!
Inspire your boys to fight for right with Hero Tales from American History, written by Theodore Roosevelt to teach virtue through history and now available in an audiobook with sound effects!
Hal & Melanie
Hal & Melanie Young are the authors of Raising Real Men: Surviving , Teaching and Appreciating Boys, Christian Small Publishers 2011 Book of the Year, and parents of six great sons and two delightful daughters. Check out their home blog, Raising Real Men, join them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!