Today we celebrate our first-born.
It’s been eight years of learning how to be a mama.
Of learning how to cope, deal, escape, and ultimately sometimes enjoy the noise and chaos that comes from hours upon hours of sport activities in our house.
The sound of the over-the-door basketball rim waking us at 6am.
Stepping on those blessed legos for the 500th time at night.
Footballs breaking and hitting multiple pictures on the walls over the years.
It’s often noted that raising girls in today’s culture is really hard, and as a girl mom, I would agree. But I would also argue that is equally as hard raising boys. Mainly because I am on a mission to teach my boys that machismo and bravado is not the path to purpose. Achievement and accomplishment will not lead to fulfillment.
I always envisioned myself as a boy mom. He was the typical rough and tumble boy when he was little. Multiple sets of stitches, urgent care visits, ear infections, staples, glue – all of the expected ‘boy mom’ adventures.
But as he’s grown, I’ve watched him clam up emotionally. Similar to a hard-shelled tortoise, he’s tucked all of that goodness in his heart deep down with a giant protective shell over the top. He loves everything to do with sports, and with that, a constant world of celebrated bravado. He revels in his accomplishments and spends hours narrating championship scenarios that he’s a part of. And I love it.
As much as I want him to lean into these God-given passions for competition and athletics, I also want him to be kind, to be empathetic towards others and be humble. These things are so much harder for me to teach than how to throw a ball. I can play catch with him in the backyard no problem (like I said, born to be a boy mom), but breaking through that tough exterior he’s already adapted has been a much harder task.
Breaking through the tough exterior that the world celebrates in the world of boys.
Football, basketball, baseball, golf – this is what masculinity looks like.
Mud, noise, wrestling, burping, countless amounts of pizza – check.
Teaching faith, tenderness, kindness and humility are all coming at a much steeper learning curve. Teaching him that despite what the world tells him, he is not what he does. He is not what he can accomplish. Culture wants to tell him that to be a man, is to achieve greatness. And I want to teach him that greatness comes from leading with your heart.
Respect and gratitude will go farther than any ball that he can throw.
Cultivating potential and calling it out in our kids is one of the hardest jobs we have as mamas. I don’t have the answers, I’m on the same journey that you are. Some days I get it right, but most I don’t. I end my day asking him for forgiveness and praying that God will fill in the gaps. This is the best that I can do.
How do you teach your boys the importance of gentleness, kindness, humility, peace and joy?