Loud. Silly. Busy. Messy. Four words that undeniably describe a little boy (and also some that are not so little, for that matter). Boys never stop moving. Boys do not understand the phrase “quiet time.” Boys don’t have an issue with messes. Boys have the best imaginations. A boy can be the sweetest, most loving child one second, and burp in your face the next, while laughing about it, of course.
While it should come as no surprise to you that boys are an entirely different creation than girls, I have learned so much more since God gave me my very own boy to raise. (And I know I have lots more to learn!) My baby boy is about to turn 4 in a couple of months and while I have no idea how time has passed so quickly, so much has happened to change me forever. Here are 5 things I’d like to share with other moms of boys.
Boys love their mamas.
You’ve no doubt heard the song “I Loved Her First” by Heartland or “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw (check out the videos for a flashback and/or if you need a good cry), but there isn’t really a song that accurately describes the mother-son relationship. In weddings, the father always walks his daughter down the aisle and gives her away to her husband, but a mama has to give her son away too. Since my son was born, I have a new appreciation for the mother who raised my husband into the man he became and quite gracefully stepped aside when it was my turn. From the first time a mama holds her baby boy in her arms, they are bonded. Not that mamas and their baby girls aren’t also bonded, it’s just so different. When you have a boy, you’re his first love, you’re the one he turns to when he needs help, you’re there to wipe his tears, you’re the first one to hold his trust, and you’re the first one he’ll ever say “I love you” to. His first view of love comes from his mother and how she expresses it to him. He’ll learn to how show love to others and to God from you.
Boys need constant attention and affirmation.
I mentioned that boys don’t ever stop moving or making noises earlier, but you don’t really know what I’m talking about unless you either have a boy, or have spent a considerable amount of time with one. I can’t count the various sound effects my son has come up with completely on his own, or the many times I’ve attempted fruitlessly to snuggle with him. Since their genetic makeup demands busyness, a mama’s day is never dull. Even watching their favorite tv show often can’t hold their busy minds for long. I assume it’s because they are hard-wired to work and to get things done, but a mama is the first one that either will or won’t fill his need for attention and affirmation. All children need to know they are important and their ideas matter.
Boys express their creativity in different and unique ways.
While we females are both familiar with (and are generally good at) “arts and crafts,” boys often express their creativity in different ways. They have very active imaginations and the possibilities are endless. One minute, you’re embarking on a sea voyage, the next you’re sword fighting the “bad guys,” and the next moment the muddy puddle in your backyard has become the lair of a horrible beast. To which he immediately shoots it. Dead. Superheroes and weapons are their forte. Messes and noise are a way to express their originality and defeating the forces of evil is a must. These things don’t come naturally to mamas but our boys need to be able to thrive without being reined in all the time because their behavior isn’t always “polite” or “acceptable” by the world’s standards of civility.
Boys are both strong and sensitive.
The world tells us that men must be the strong ones and that it’s a weakness to show any vulnerability. That viewpoint transcends to our boys as well. There is a popular belief held by many in our culture that boys shouldn’t be sensitive, that they need to hide that part of themselves. But with sensitivity comes kindness and compassion, things I myself learned from Jesus and things I definitely want my little boy to learn. I’m not saying we should turn out a bunch of so-called “mama’s boys” but there is an opportunity for mamas (and daddies) to teach our young men that it’s ok to show the more delicate emotions sometimes (and his future wife will thank you for it).
Boys are growing up to be men.
And lastly, we mamas have an enormous responsibility on our shoulders. The task of raising a boy into a man isn’t an easy one but we don’t have to do it alone. Daddies also play a part in teaching their sons to become respectable, responsible and dependable young men, and God is always there to guide us as well. Your little boy will either decide to become a leader in God’s church one day (Lord-willing) or sadly, he will not. He’ll learn how to serve from you. He’ll learn what it means to put himself last from you. He’ll learn just how important it is to meet together with God’s people and praise and worship God from you.
These are not the only reasons, but 5 of the reasons why I believe raising a boy is going to be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do. Children are only young for a time, they’re only completely under our influence for a few short years. It’s a huge responsibility to “train up a child in the way he should go,” but God has promised He will be with us always. I take comfort in the fact that He thought it was a job you and I could handle.
P.S.- I realize I am mama to a preschool-aged boy, so I’d like to encourage you mamas of older boys to chime in and share your experiences and viewpoints on the importance of raising a Christian man (or any stories you’d like to share!).