I grew up in a very female household. I have only one sister and my father was a military officer, away from home a lot. The toilet seats were always down, sports rarely showed up on the television and broken objects in our home most likely got that way by a shoe-kicking dance routine rather than a high-flying soccer ball. So when I got married to a football-crazy hunter, it was a bit of a transition, shall we say? We embraced the differences as lovingly as we could and soon welcomed our first child, a beautiful baby girl to our little family. I thought, “Yeah. I get this. I can do this.”
Then two years later, we were ecstatic by the birth of our son. I was now a mother of two, a little girl and a little boy, exactly like I’d always wanted and I couldn’t have been happier. But we were barely home from the hospital when I realized suddenly: “I have NO IDEA how to a raise a little boy!”
This journey, this being a mother to a boy, is one of the greatest joys of my life. Even as society would like to feminize our boys, I’ve seen the beauty of learning to support, encourage and affirm that my son is a BOY and God created him to be a BOY along with everything that means. We as mothers have been given an amazing opportunity to shape the future. Our world needs many more boys to grow into leaders, heroes for those who can’t fight for themselves, warriors when necessary, peacemakers always and men who love God with all their hearts.
It is a struggle. How do we encourage manliness without bullying, free-thinking and creativity within the structure of learning and allow them time to just be boys without teaching laziness? That’s an overwhelming job, isn’t it?
I wish I had all the answers, but it is a job that I am still learning to do. I pray a lot. We prayed through the potty-training years. We prayed over preschool and playground battles, where I have learned that boys assert themselves in a very different way than girls do. Their fights contain less drama but generally use more fists and elbows. And as we’re moving into the ‘tween years, I’m discovering that how I treat my son, as well as his father, has a huge impact on the way my son will treat the women in his future. And I must pray for him and us now more than ever.
The discovery phase of parenting has never stopped for me. Maybe it never will. I see the world completely differently now that I have the privilege of seeing it through a boy’s eyes. So until the day that I open the door and watch him fly from the nest, I will store up these moments and savor the change in perspective that having a son has given me.
“Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 (NASB)
Maybe she felt exactly the same way.