My mother-in-law raised 4 boys…. FOUR. I have TWO. My husband and I often look at each other and say, "Could you imagine having FOUR?!" HAHA!
One of my favorite stories is how my mother-in-law came from a family of four girls and how much of a change of pace it was with all those BOYS! I love and adore her so much; do you know why? Because not only was she not afraid to be tough, but she let the boys be BOYS! While I say that, let me not mislead you into thinking she did not have her home under control. She just knew when to put those boys in their place. She recalls my father-in-law saying to her, “Honey, these are a bunch of German boys. Don’t try to reason with them. Be tough, or they’re gonna run you out of town.” And so she did - she led with love but she got tough.
She allowed them time to release energy after school and shoot some basketball hoops before holding them accountable to daily responsibilities like doing their homework because she knew that’s how her boys were wired.
When they were being ugly to one another, she didn’t try to reason with them. She guided them to other choices. She would tell them to "rephrase" their words or set them on the couch to "hug it out."
She nurtured them, taught them how to treat women with respect, and lead their homes just like their dad -- with honor, integrity, and a strong faith.
When I think about the world our boys are growing up in, and how I want to raise them, I think about the challenges they will face. How will I prepare them to be strong and brave; to stand up for who they are no matter what? To treat women with respect, but also receive respect as the heads of their home.
You see, I am raising sons and a daughter. I want them all to know that when they grow up and get married, it is equal. You walk ALONGSIDE your spouse, TOGETHER. But we do have roles, clearly defined in scripture.
Another gift I will implement from my mother-in-law: praying now for my sons' future wives. She shared with us that she prayed that each one of her sons would find Christian women who would love and honor her boys. There is no greater gift.
Genesis 2: 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Ephesians 5:25-29 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.
I want my boys specifically to be strong and courageous. I want them to know that they are the spiritual leaders of their homes, the head of their household, to honor their elders, grow in wisdom, and have discernment in all situations.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
These biblical truths are so powerful because no matter what they are facing in life, if they are anchored in the word of God, it will navigate them where they need to go. And I don’t care who you are or where you come from, these truths apply to all of us.
So my dear sons, go play in the dirt, throw a football, get your anger out, then use your words, be helpful not hurtful, stand up for what you believe in, and stay true to who God made you to be. Be like these men; strong, courageous, and a bit messy.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Please tell me if you are a mom of boys and what your best advice is! I would love to hear from you!
Great message Mandy! I knew your mother-in-law many years ago and always admired her for the way she raised her boys. She was a great example for others. We had only two little ones under age of two at that time. We ended up with two boys and five girls, and they definitely need to be raised differently. Keep up your good work encouraging others.