When is it time for a mom to draw back and start treating her son like a man rather than a little snuggle bunny?
I’ve worked in AWANA Cubbies for a few years now, and it’s such a joy to see the 3 and 4 year olds so excited to come to church. One thing I particularly enjoy is how many moms kiss their sons and shout “I love you” when dropping them off for class.
The change happens slowly over time and is different for every family. I think my son was about ten years old when I forced myself to stop calling him “honey” and “sweetie”, even at home. We discussed how much I was able to touch him in public, and especially no more kisses! A friend of mine was informed by her son that after first grade, she wasn’t allowed to touch him at school, and at fourth grade, she wasn’t allowed to even go near the school!
In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge explains how men and women are both made in the image of God, but that males embody His warrior aspect. They are meant to be fierce and protective over those in their care. He writes “Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of a man.” I read this book to better understand my husband, and ended up learning how to better guide my son. I decided early on to let my son take risks, to teach him to “brush it off” when he got hurt, to call him “Tiger” rather than “sweetie.”
I know a couple women who never let their sons get dirty, but that goes against what God put in their souls. It’s not enough to let boys be boys – we as moms must treat them as such. Do you just want to raise a nice guy, or do you want your son to fully reach his potential and tap into who he really is inside his soul?
The biggest bit of wisdom I gained from this book was to support the men in my life and let them be wild, to let them slay dragons for me in their own way. When I’m busy, my husband often rescues me by stopping by the store or filling my car with gas. Now that my son is older, I’ve started letting him do things that I can do myself, such as take out the trash, put up a tent when camping, handle electronic devices. I want to teach him to take charge, to stand up and be strong, to never give into fear but to conquer new tasks.
Every boy will grow into a man. It’s mom’s (and dad’s) job to give him opportunities to express the wildness in his heart and teach him to tame it in the right moments. What are you doing to shape your little man?
©Jen Cudmore, 2013 ___ Subscribe to my blog or my email newsletter on the right side of the page!