Monday, February 18, 2008
ARE WE FOSTERING WHAT WE WANT OR EXPECT FROM BOYS AND MEN?
I hear moms and dads say, "I sure wish that the kids these days would be more curteous and polite, like we were, just like we were taught." The operative phrase here is "...just like we were taught. Are we fostering what we want or expect from boys and men?
Let's look at what it is we do want and expect from them. Parents and grandparents want their boys to be respectful of girls, chivalrous, kindhearted, strong, courageous, have leadership abilities, and the list can go on and on. Wives and women expect that grown men already know these things, or should, so there is disappointment when he doesn't show these characteristics, or she somehow feels the need to make him out to be this kind of man, or she just simply does things herself. After all, we know everything, and we can certainly do it better and a lot faster than they can, right girls?! Ahhh, don't fool yourselves!! We're more likely handicapping our boys and men or exasperating them. They won't or can't find the God-given strength, ability, freedom, or opportunity to do what it is that we're expecting and need this way. They probably WANT to do a whole lot more for us than we give credit for. Who knows what goes on inside their heads? But we can be assured that we do or can know how God has wired them. Again, the Word has the answers.
So let's examine or think about what WE CAN DO to foster what we're looking for and the environment to do those things in, for our males, boys and men alike. WE CAN: teach our boys to open doors for ladies (chivalry isn't (or shouldn't be) dead and it's not just for men and boys in the South), stop taking out the trash for our 15 year olds that are taller and bigger than we are (and are getting what they want while paying us back with laziness), encourage them as they go along (in their sports, school work, church activities, good choices, etc.), make them feel special and tell them so often (boys and men like to feel like you notice them and notice their manliness), teach them to be responsible with themselves, their belongings, and their pets, teach them how to handle their money as early as possible, talk to them about proper (Godly) dating, tell them that it is not okay to listen to music that degrades women, tell them and show them that following God and His mandates is COOL and that his life will better because of it, and the list can go on and on. For our men, WE CAN: ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE, girls and moms-tell your adult brothers and sons how proud of them you are, how they're doing good on the job, how you can see how much they've grown, or what you saw them do to correct a mistake they made, wives-prove to your husbands how you respect him and his position by your actions and your prayers for him, women-learn not to exasperate your boys and men, wives-encourage your husband's good deeds, and where he falls short, encourage him to get up and try again because "you're confident in him and you know he'll get it right the next time," let him open the door, let him pull out your seat, gently remind or hint to him of things he'd like for you to tell him that he may not know (but remember, you're not his mother-he's asking and timidly waiting on an answer because he wants to discover something he didn't know or be given a clue or gentle reminder of something he did, but forgot about or can't quite do too well), let him work and take care of the bills and ask for your help with the budget (ohhh, I can hear it now from some of you, "But what if he doesn't want to work or pay bills, etc.? The Word says, "The man that doesn't want to work, doesn't want to eat:)!! He probably won't starve himself, and when it comes down to it, he won't stay long in a cold, dark house! Let him do it. Most men really want to.), let him help you out around the house when or if he asks; this list can go on and on too.
THE BOTTOM LINE: We're not teaching important lessons and giving freedom for independence (from our skirt tails or pant legs as parents), manhood, and growth when our boys are young, and we're not giving the freedom, prayer, and encouragement required that will allow or foster growth and constant maturing in our men. We want things we're not willing to do our part in seeing happen. We want and expect a lot, but we're giving little to nothing ourselves. We should no longer sit around as parents or women and wonder why we're not getting what we want and/or expect from our boys and men. What have we done to drive them to the conditions they're currently in? Even if you end up with a man whose parents and his environment did not teach him how to be a man, EXPECT him to be anyway. PRAY for his transformation. He has what it takes already, and with your prayers and encouragement, his willingness and open heart, and God's intervention, you'll get God's kind of man in the end. WAIT on the Lord and be of good courage, but don't grow weary in well-doing. These are God's words so they can't be wrong. EXPECT, PRAY, WAIT--something is bound to happen!!
WHAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT fosters this kind of positive, Godly behavior in boys and men? Teach your boys the virtues of manhood in a loving (I didn't say "perfect."), encouraging, intentional, peaceful (as much as possible:)), kind, giving, stewardship-friendly, "love God like it's nobody's business" kind of home and he will, more than likely, go on to create a home like this for himself. "Home" is the perfect starter environment and it will end back in the home of a great man. Also, surround your boys with positive and Godly male role-models. I think this is great for boys with no fathers in the home, and it still works well and reinforces the teachings in the home when a father is present. Teach them about Godly role-models in the Bible. Make these men your sons heroes. Play them up to him. He's going to follow somebody's lead. You better make it a good one.
For all of us parents, mentors, and wives, there is no time like the present. Let's start encouraging what we expect and talking to the Lord rather than complaining. Because I love the Lord and want to do what pleases Him, and I love my boys and my husband (and I expect what I'm willing to teach and/or pray about and encourage), this post was as much encouragement for me as I hope and pray it is to whomever I'm sharing with. Have a great Monday!!