Being a parent is hard… well harder than I thought. I’m not sure what I was thinking parenting would look like, but this isn’t it.
I remember when the boys were little holding them tight vowing to protect them from EVERYTHING. My job as a mom was to keep them safe… right? It’s really easy to keep them safe INSIDE your house. It’s when you step outside into the real world that it really gets hard.
It’s a full time job… this keeping our kids safe thing. Safe from what you might ask? Well, when I signed up to be a mom I committed to do something. I didn’t just want to raise good little boys; I wanted to raise strong, godly men. This whole raising “men” thing takes a lot of time, commitment, and hard work. It isn’t easy, but it is well worth it!
My husband and I determined when the boys were little that it was
job” to protect their hearts
and minds until they were ur
old enough to do it for their selves.
That would mean we would need to be their filter for what they watched, listened to, who they hung around, and where they would go. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we were determined to take “our job” seriously.
In the process of being their filter, we decided in addition to share with them the “Why’s” of our decisions. Hearing how we came to our decisions, would help them learn how to process things for themselves in the future.
I’m not an overprotective parent as some may think, I just CARE a lot! My boys are precious to me. I want to hold them close and keep them safe... forever! I don’t want them to be hurt in any way ever if I can help it.
I remember when my youngest went to Kindergarten. My oldest was just in first grade. Against my better judgment, the boys rode the bus to school. They actually begged to do so.
We lived in a small town so elementary through high school rode the same bus. I remember that first day of school. My husband and I walked our boys to the bus stop and waited… a ball of raging emotions bursting inside of us. Tears threatened to run free, fear started to bubble, and peace was evaporating at a rapid speed as the bus pulled up.
As they loaded the bus and found their seats, my heart sunk deep into my chest. It was painful. I had flashbacks from "MY" many years on the school bus (Which were horrible!) and I wondered…Will the bus driver drive safely? Will the other kids be nice to my baby boys? Will the older kids bully them? How could I keep them safe when they weren’t with ME? It was scary. I had to trust God and pray. They were out of my hands now and into His.
“I was in a scary place of surrender and I didn’t like it.”
Have you ever been there friend? In that place where you have to trust others with your kids or you have to trust your kids to make right decisions on their own with out YOU? It’s scary…. and painful. I do NOT like it... probably mostly because it’s all out of my control. I can’t protect them the way my heart longs to do so.
For some reason it seems as my boys have grown older, I have had to trust God and others MORE with their care…Teachers, Administration, Coaches, Other Parents, Youth leaders, Church Members, Neighbors, Employers, and Family Members.
Will they love and protect their hearts and minds like we do? Will they build them up, encourage them, and help them feel safe? Will they see potential, speak life, and give courage?
Since I can’t keep them babies forever, this is my open letter to all key influencers in my boys’ lives. Please, please, hear my heart on the matter…
There are a few things I would LOVE for you to do concerning my boys.
1. TAKE NOTICE
Please see them individually for the incredible, awesome young men they are. Don’t lump them in a crowd or expect them to be like everyone else. They aren’t. Don’t ignore them, acknowledge them.
Wherever they are, they draw a crowd… their peers take notice, will YOU?
Trey is a quiet, passionate boy… He is loud in small groups, yet quiet in crowds. He loves deeply and cares more than he lets on. He is competitive and aggressive when it comes to sports and life. He is funny, creative, an amazing artist, and a deep thinker. He has a strong will, yet a tender heart. He is a ball full of energy… hiding secretly inside a quiet young man. He is passionate about God and sports. He has great influence, yet chooses to lead in a quiet way. He loves the Colts, Pacers, and all things basketball. He is an amazing young man of God.
Gavyn is my first born. He is my fearless, bold, radical! He is passionate about everything… especially God. He loves to worship Him in song. I remember when the boys were in elementary school waiting for them to come home from school. No matter what I was doing, I could hear them coming a block away…Gavyn loved to serenade the neighborhood loudly on his walk home.
Gavyn is tenderhearted, giving, sensitive to the needs of others, encouraging, and a natural born leader. He loves deeply and gives everything his all. He has strong convictions and solid character. He is creative, humble, and has a servant’s heart.
He has a care-free spirit and easy going kind of personality. He loves to read, go backpacking, fish, play football, and basketball. He is an amazing young man of God.
When you take time to NOTICE them, you see there is more than meets the eye. They may blend in with the crowd at times, but they stand out with me. I am blessed to be their momma!
2. BUILD THEM UP
Even though they “look” like MEN, my boys are still impressionable. They are young men in the making. Their self-esteems are being shaped and formed by those around them… one of those people being YOU.
They hear enough bad stuff all around them…Whether it’s from the news, people saying negative comments or from their own inner thoughts. Will you look for the good in them and share it? Even if they have done a million things “wrong”, will you find that one good thing they did “right” to encourage them with?
“Negativity deflates the spirit, life giving words ignite it.”
Will you speak life-giving words to my boys?
Will you make an effort to help BUILD their self-esteem (along with me) instead of tear it down? It’s fragile, delicate, a work in progress.
The world is full of nay-sayers… coming up with all kinds of reasons why we CAN’T do things. I want my boys to dream big and be confident that with God all things are possible.
Please don’t squash their dreams. Help give their dreams wings enabling my boys to believe God for impossible things trusting Him with the outcome.
Will you give them courage? Will you build them up and help them dream big?
3. LEAD WELL
As a key influencer in my boys’ lives, please set a good example and lead well. They are watching, listening, and learning from your leadership.
They are following you… as a leader.
I Corinthians 11:1 says… “Follow me as I follow Christ”
If they are following you, I have a question for you. Where are you leading them? I hope to become more like Christ… in words, attitude, and behavior.
Whether we like it or not… when it comes to being a good example things are “caught” more than “taught”. Meaning… those watching our example follow more what we “do” rather than what we “say”. They should both be the same, right? But many of us say one thing and do another.
With that in mind, please model a godly life to my boys. Be a person of character, be honest, have integrity, be respectful, unselfish, and giving. Give grace, speak life giving words, forgive others, and have self-control.
I’m not asking for perfection, just hearts in pursuit of God. As we strive to know Him more each day, He will help us become a better reflection of Himself to others.
A Special Note to…
Sports Coaches- Please teach my boys that winning isn’t everything! In life, they won’t always win. It’s how they respond when they lose that makes all the difference. Teach them to have the right attitude either way. Help them understand the power of working together as a team… being a family and caring for each other. We are better together! Please look for the good they are doing (and compliment them) MORE than pointing out the bad. They are motivated MORE by encouraging words than discouraging.
Teachers- Please help my boys love your class and the subject you teach. Make it fun and memorable. Get to know my boys personally and they will respond better to your leading. Don’t just teach them information, help them experience it. Help them love to learn.
Church Leaders – Please be people of integrity. Do what you say you will do and be who you say that you are. My boys and others are watching. Model a godly life for them. Chase after Jesus and help my boys catch the fire of God from you. Create opportunities for my boys not to just learn ABOUT God, but to experience Him personally. Pray for them, speak wisdom into their lives, and be Jesus with skin on for them to see.
These are simple words from a mom’s heart. They are motivated and inspired from my desire to not just raise good boys; but godly young men. Will you help me?
For other parents reading this and “amen-ing” everything... WE are key influencers as well. People are watching, listening, and learning as we live our lives before them. May we be the kind of people that take notice, build up, and lead well.
With God’s help, this parenting thing is possible and oh, so rewarding!
Living to leave a legacy,