When I first found out I was going to have a boy, I wasn't quite sure if I was happy about that. I had a beautiful, happy, quiet, sweet little girl. She liked to play by herself, color, read, and all the things I enjoyed. I understood girls. I did not understand boys. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I started my journey with Matthew. Almost seven years later, I became the mother of another son.
But you know what? I have come to love boys. There are times when I could do without the battle noises, the running and jumping off furniture, and the toilet seat left up, but I know I wouldn't trade my boys for a million girls. I love the way boys take risks (though it can be scary at times). I love how they don't play those games that girls do---you know, the "You're not my friend anymore" kind of comments. (I think a girl said that to Matthew once, and he just shrugged his shoulders.) I love their inquisitiveness and curiosity and sense of adventure. Yes, I really do!
If you've got boys, or even if you don't, I would highly recommend Dr. James Dobson's book, Bringing Up Boys. In it, he combines research with practical applications that have really challenged me to look at raising boys differently. Instead of trying to make them into civilized girls, I have felt encouraged to appreciate the unique gifts that boys can bring into this world and help them to nurture them.
We live in a world where if the feminists had their way, there would be only be one gender: female. But that is not the way God created humanity. Both men and women have a valuable contribution to make. As a mom, it is easy to try to raise boys in my bent. And yet that cannot be done. I need to raise them and train them to be what God has created them to be...and that is different than me.
Some of the research presented in the book can be discouraging or downright frightening. But that is more a picture of the world we live in, not what is guaranteed to happen to every boy. There are options, and even if boys will be boys, we still have an opportunity to help shape them into godly men.
The one thing that Dr. Dobson says in this book, and he also mentions it in Bringing Up Girls as well, is that parenting requires sacrifice. I cannot hold on to my comforts, my preferences, at the expense of my children. It's not just about giving up material things or time. It's about being willing to step out of my comfort zone. It is about being willing to take the hard road that no one else takes, if it is going to benefit my son. It's about talking about uncomfortable topics, setting boundaries even though he won't like it, and believing in him when the odds seem against you. It's about doing things you thought you'd never do, things that are against your personal bents. That is a hard message to hear.
Our world needs godly young men who will boldly lead and sacrificially love. And those things are not going to just happen. God has placed us as mothers (and fathers) into the lives of our sons, that we may be able to help guide them, encourage them, protect them, and train them so they can take their place in this rapidly decaying world.
Are you up for the challenge? Then check this book out!