Since we moved to Maryland, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I’ve been raising my boys. Lots of thinking, not lots of “doing” or “changing”. We moved from our home where they had a LOT of people investing in them. People at church, family, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. We truly lived in a community where we were a village raising our children. It was wonderful, blessed, and beautiful.
We’ve tried getting connected at church, but the boys haven’t really made any friends there. We don’t know our neighbors except one person. I never see any kids and that’s probably because we live on a very busy street on the outskirts of the neighborhood. We live two hours from family and only see them every other month or so. The boys, at least Buddy, has one teacher pouring into his life. Needless to say, this has been a hard transition for us. We’re not “surrounded” any more.
I’ve tried to parent my boys in a similar way I did with my girls, at least when it comes to the basics. I think my boys talk to me a lot more than my girls ever did at this age. My girls had great friends they could confide in as well as adults they could turn to if they wanted to talk to someone other than me. I could relate to my girls though. My boys…not so much.
Inside I’ve struggled knowing I don’t know what it’s like to be a boy growing up into a man. I’ve tried to teach them my expectations as a mom on how they should behave, but I don’t know what boys think about or what they struggle with. As we go about our daily lives, I try to pour into them about how they should treat others or what to do in certain circumstances. Basically I’m raising a modern-day knight. At least I’m attempting to. It’s not easy to do in a world that shouts out against that kind of thing. Meh, I don’t take any lip so I’m fine going against the grain of this world.
My boys only get to talk to their dad on the phone since he’s still living in Minnesota. That means he doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to parent them. Now, I will say that about once a year I have to ask him to have a serious talk with the boys about their behavior. It always seems to do the trick. Thank goodness! He and the boys, as well as their grandma (and now Auntie Beryl) have been memorizing Matthew 5. Every week they add a new verse and they each recite how far they’ve memorized. It’s really an amazing thing to listen to!
I’m very thankful to have Fred in the boys’ lives as well. Since we’ve met, he’s shown the boys how to treat a lady and how to take care of her. He is always kissing me and telling me he loves me. He opens my car door every single time (unless I beat him to the punch). He makes us dinner. He goes out with us. I mean, there’s so much he does just living his life that is a great example to his kids and my kids. He showed Jacob how to shave for the first time. Recently he took both boys to a men’s breakfast at church. He’s involving the boys in his life. I hear Buddy saying to me now, “What would Fred think about such and such?” It’s pretty cool and happens on a regular basis.
Now, my son is coming up on his 16th birthday. I can’t really talk about it because I’ll probably burst out crying. How can my little boy be that old? It’s mind boggling to be quite honest. I recently read some really neat ideas on ways to make turning that age more meaningful in Raising Modern-Day Knights. There are different milestones to make those transitions a beautiful gift and experience. Of course, it’s done by dads for their son’s in this book, but as a single mom, the task falls to me.
I took one of the ideas and modified it to make it our own. I took Galatians 5:22-23 and asked 9 men who have had an impact on Jacob’s life as a young boy/teen to write a letter based on the main words in that scripture. So, one will take: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I asked them to write him a letter explaining what that word means to them as men of God and what it should look life in his life as he grows into a man of God. I plan to put them into a book somehow and present it to him on his birthday. I’ve also asked his dad to write him a general letter about what it means to be a man of God. I’m so thankful these men are on board and have found it an honor to be asked. Each man I asked about each of their words were men who I thought exemplified each word. Not that they all don’t live that scripture completely, but I felt like the Lord showed me what each man should write about.
Also, suggested in this book was to give your son a coat of arms like the author’s did for their sons. It was a really neat story, and I thought I’d try to make one online myself. I went to quite a few websites and never found anything that compared to theirs. The other ones were just cheesy. Guess there’s no real reason to reinvent the wheel, eh? This coat of arms is pretty heavy duty and much more than what I expected it to be. I truly can’t wait to share that day with my boy!
Raising boys isn’t an easy task and not for the feint of heart. We have a lot of work ahead of us, especially single moms. I’d encourage you to find men who can pour into the lives of your kids. I know a dear friend of mine got her two boys hooked up with men from the Boys & Girls Club after her husband passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. It’s something I had always wished I’d done, but again, we had a great circle of men in my boys lives from church. Don’t be swayed by what the world says boys and men should do and how they should behave. We should care about what the Lord wants from our boys. What does He want them to grow up to be. My end goal is for my boys to love the Lord with all of their hearts and to be men who love their family. I want them to walk with integrity and know that in the end they will hear from God, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
What’s the most important thing for you to teach your son?