I think this was my favorite session at the convention. It was presented by Shirley Solis, another Charlotte Mason mom out of Florida. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, do. She has this amazing way of making you feel like you are not in a conference hall with 100 strangers, but sitting in her living room, talking out motherhood over a cup of coffee.
The session was called Preparing Sons for Life. It is amazing to me how God used this woman to reach my heart. I don't know anything about a boy's heart. I am a girly-girl. I always have been. My mom nick-named me "miss priss" because I always wore dresses and did my hair. I love painting my nails, scrapbooking, and all things girl. I realized that, I have spent the past 7 years of motherhood trying to change my sons' hearts to be more like my own. That is impossible and certainly even if it were possible I would be less pleased with the outcome than if I let them be boys. After all, only boys can grow up to be men.
This has been a hard fact for me to conclude. For example, I hate guns! People are surprised when they find that out about me. My father was a Gunner's Mate in the Navy. I have fired many guns myself. My 5yo's name, well, if I told you it, you would think I was weapons enthusiast. I am not at all though. The name was chosen to honor my father. To me, the sight of children pointing squirt guns at each other is alarming. I have no idea why it has that effect on me but stranger to me, is why it doesn't seem to bother anyone else.
Sorry, I got on a rant there and almost forgot what I was talking about.
Oh ya, boys hearts and my heart.
We are so different, that I have often asked God, "Why did you give me boys? I don't understand them." I would much rather sit inside and read a book all afternoon than go fishing. I will never find farts and burps funny. What I would give to be able to sit on the floor and play Barbies instead of crashing cars together making engine and squealing tire noises. Of course my husband tells me that if we ever have a daughter she will probably be a tom boy anyway. That's just a mean thing to say to a girly-girl like me. I have been asking God for wisdom and understanding and He has been working on my heart. It all started with Shirley's 12 tips to prepare sons for life.
- "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching." Proverbs 1:8 God wants us to teach our sons.
- Understand the heart of a man. Read books written by male authors. Read books about little boys with your sons. Pinocchio, Little Britches, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer &etc.
- Trust God. Whether your children have an earthly father or not they should know they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and is available to guide them.
- Don't shelter them. Let them dig, play, be adventurous.
- Cover your sons in prayer. That goes along with let them be adventurous. Shirley told a story of seeing her older son up in the top of a tree while looking out of the kitchen window. At that point what are a mother's options? obviously all you can do is bathe them in prayer right then,
and call the fire department to get them down.
- Learn to be a strong woman.
- Be willing to get dirty. Let them have pets. Read Proverbs 14:4 for a good laugh and then try to tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor.
- Teach them manners. They will always like a good fart joke but Mother's job is to teach them when it is appropriate. Right now my boys are working on, anytime Mom is not in earshot.
- Be diligent and industrious.
- Be cheerful and show them the beauty of life. Shirley said, "put a smile on your face. His wife will be like you." :-D
- Have a general vision of who you want them to grow up to be. I am not talking about choosing careers. But decide what kind of man you want him to be. If you want him in church, take him to church. If you want him to love than love him.
- Help and encourage them towards God's vision.
To get some more encouraging words on raising boys, read Shirley's blog.
BTW, My 7yo won a squirt gun when he visited his friends church for VBS. I have allowed him to keep it. My rule is that he can not shoot people, only lizards, ants, and other helpless creatures. I still don't like guns but I understand that his heart desires them. And today, he and I went grocery shopping. When we left the store he carried the bags to the car and then from the car to the house. I realized that God gave me boys because I am such a girly-girl. I need them to take care of me.
Sorry this is so long. If you made it down to the end, thanks for reading. You must be a mom of boys too. ;-)