3 – Share your story. Let him see your humanity.
I recently wrote a Not A Male Fail blog post about men and worship. I concluded: “We should not exclude emotion, tenderness, and vulnerability from our definition of masculinity any more than we should exclude strength, leadership, and rationality from our definition of femininity. There is room for all in Christ.”
“This is my challenge to men. Be what God wants you to be. Drop the ‘I’m a guy, so I don’t’ clichés and excuses and fully embrace who you are in Christ. Don’t let gendered expectations stand in the way of the vibrant life you’ve been given. Worship God beyond the stereotypes!” from Men, Worship and Church: No Excuses – Read More Here.
As parents, how do we help our young men live a life of confident vulnerability and healthy emotion? We let them see our humanity. When we truly see ourselves as God sees us – as unique masterpieces created to be co-creators and make a difference in the world, we will learn from and embrace every part of our story. That means the messy parts – even our weaknesses and mistakes.
Our sons’ personal identities should come from God first. They need to understand that God created them in His Image and that their uniqueness matters. Remember lesson one? But, they also find identity in their parents. They learn from us. They need to see us living the life we were created to live and not the propagated lies we’ve been told to live.
Learn to admit your faults. Apologize when it’s appropriate. Ask for forgiveness. Never think it’s a sign of weakness to say, “I’m wrong” or “I’m sorry.” All of these shine brightly and tell your son that you’re human, that you’re not perfect, that you learn from your mistakes, and that you are secure in who you are through Christ. What a great lesson for them to learn about their own self, yes!?
Because we are all accountable to each other, let them ask about your walk with Christ. When you allow them to ask the hard questions about your spiritual walk, they will be more open about their own. It’s a beautiful thing when you let them learn from your experiences. Talk openly about your life choices and what the consequences were. Lessons like these teach so much more than a list of things they should and should not do.
Your boys also need to learn that their emotions are natural and okay. They motivate us to live passionately and love others. You have the opportunity to model healthy emotional expression for your children. After you have found consolation in Christ and others, share your struggles and let them know when you’re sad or afraid. Being vulnerable with your boys lets them know it’s safe to share. Your authenticity will become a motivating factor in their deciding wisely and the basis for their trust.
You are about to read my “bite sized” answers to your questions. If they leave you feeling empty or wanting more, make sure to connect with me on our MOMS to the MAX Facebook Insiders Group. That’s when the answers can change from “bite sized” to “buffet!”
CAN I BE HIS FRIEND?
“Can you really be mom AND friend without blurring the lines of discipline?”
Discipline — it’s really how you see it. There’s two definitions you can cling to. You can define it as training (someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. I prefer choice number two: training (someone) to do something in a controlled and habitual way. I hope I didn’t just lose you there. I am not against punishment or rules. As parents, we’ve instituted our fair share of both. Our discipline should only be one part of the training equation though. Discipline + friendship + vulnerability + accountability + humility + ____________________ = well balanced boys!
MY WORD IS LAW!
“Is there a way to balance ‘My house. My rules.’ without the child feeling resentment later on because of a parent’s control?”
Every home dynamic is different making this is a hard question to properly answer so that it is beneficial to every mom. Here’s the simple answer: to limit the rebellion and resentment, your son MUST feel loved. There must be a balance between well shared “house rules” and caring communication.
If you are early on in your parenting, there are little things you can do that can save you a lot of heartache in the future. The key is to be proactive and limit the misunderstandings. Take for instance, we lovingly communicated our future restrictions (cell phones, dating, etc.) and let our children know why they were set in place before they ever became an issue.
If you are a parent of an older teenager and are asking this question, it’s not too late to change things around BUT it will take you much more time and patience to adapt a new parent and child regime.
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