Iread a great blog post recently on the words men love to hear and I immediately thought of my boys…
As I was reading through Melanie’s great points on things we need to say to our men, I began thinking of the things my young men needed to hear from their mom.
Because, after all, mama’s, we’re the “woman in their life” for this tiny amount of time.
1. I’M HUMAN TOO…
I believe the tendency when you’re young is to be self-focused. Redirecting our children’s focus to the fact that we have feelings, just as they do, changes their perspective from self-focus to other-focus.
A while back when one of my sons said something hateful to me, my immediate response was anger and wanting to discipline him. But instead, I felt God’s nudging to simply say, “That hurt my feelings. You know, I’m a person too and I get sad when you say things like that to me.” I’ll never forget the change in his face and demeanor.
I think as moms we can tend to hide our emotions from our kids. While sometimes this is necessary for their sake, more often than not I feel it is good for our children to see our emotions and to see that we are very much human.
2. WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THIS VIDEO GAME/SPORT/ACTIVITY?
I hate video games.
My boys love them.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this is a cause of contention in our home. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit nagging my boys about playing video games.
Shockingly, nothing positive has come from my negativity.
So, I decided to occasionally sit with them while they’re playing and ask questions.
And you know what? They LOVE this.
Their absolute favorite thing is when I try to play one of their games. We giggle and shout and have so much fun while I do nothing but die repeatedly on the screen.
As fun as this is, my favorite thing is how they will take their time and sit with their mama and teach her every little detail so patiently.
I cherish moments like these because I see a softness in them—I see how they will be with their wives or daughters. A gentleness comes over them when they know mom is at their mercy and being taught something she knows nothing about. They teach me for as long as I’m willing to be there with an understanding patience I don’t otherwise get to see in them.
As boys grow into young men we can so easily distance ourselves from their lives and their interests, however, this is when they need us the most. No matter what the thing is, or how much you don’t care for it, show some interest in something they enjoy—I promise—they’ll love it!
3. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU?
I nag, I correct, I over correct some more and then I nag some more. That’s what moms do, right?
I know how the enemy loves to try to convince us of lies so this question is vital. I ask my boys these 8 words almost every time we’ve had to correct them or when they think they’ve failed in some way.
Most often they’ll say, “Yes!” But there have been times where they reply with, “I think so…”
This always makes me so sad because it’s an indicator to me that I’ve been focusing too much on the “do’s” instead of just loving them.
I first make sure to tell them then how very much I love them and then I say:
4. I’M SORRY…
Which brings me to #4. When moments arise where I know I haven’t been showing enough love and too much hard direction, I have to humbly say, “I’m sorry.” Our sons desperately need to hear us say we’re sorry when we’ve been wrong.
It’s not easy to apologize to our children. However, I believe this is one of the most important things that our children will hear come out of our mouths.
Just as I spoke about last week, we are all sinners in need of grace, God’s forgiveness and kindness. Yes, we are in charge of our children, but that certainly doesn’t mean we never make mistakes.
I think parenting creates a beautiful opportunity for humility and saying I’m sorry to the least of these is an act of humility, kindness, and repentance.
If our children observe this behavior from us they will be quick to model this in their own life.
5. I’M PROUD OF YOU…
My son is an athlete, a musician and a gregarious, funny and likable young man. He truly is friends to everyone in his class and is liked by just about everyone that meets him.
And while it may sound as though I’m bragging, I intentionally left something off that list of qualities.
You see, my son deals with anxiety and panic.
People would never know this because of the confidence he exudes on the outside, but it’s always there.
I am enormously proud of his accomplishments and personality but I’m even more proud of how he faces his struggles.
Because of him, I see how easy it is to just have pride in our children’s wonderful achievements and forget to praise them for the struggles they fight well.
My son feels shame and discouragement for the anxiety he fights, and yet, I see a soft soul and a resilient young man.
I’m sure to tell him how proud I am of his perseverance and how he doesn’t let his struggles get the best of him.
6. GIVE THEM A HUG…
No, this isn’t something you say but rather do, and I believe it’s so very important.
Like all men, even our young men still need our physical touch.
I think as moms we easily forget this because there is a natural distance that happens when our boys grow up. I still snuggle easily with my nine-year-old but can go a week without even touching my sixteen or fourteen-year-old sons.
While my middle son will still come up to me and just say, “Mom, I need a hug,” my oldest rarely does, but I know there are times he needs one.
Yesterday was one of those days. He was having a stressful day with homework and I could tell he was grumpy and flustered. When he came up to the surface for a break from work, I walked up to him and gave him a hug.
Without hesitation, he wrapped his arms around his mama with a big old bear hug and a smile.
Even though our young men won’t always ask for it, they still need their mama’s love. They are at a crossroads and an in-between of no longer being a small child, but this certainly doesn’t mean we stop giving them love the way we always have.