It was three years ago that I realized raising three boys was going to be harder than I expected. It was January 21, 2017, and my three boys had had surgeries, hospitalizations, had visited ERs for doing stupid things. We’d traveled across the country by car multiple times. We’d been swimming in the ocean, rode roller coasters, climbed trees, rode bikes, and I never really felt they were in danger.
But on January 21, 2017, I realized that who my boys were–who God had made them at their most basic level–would be under attack. Their manhood. Their masculinity. The parts of them that made them different from me.
On that day in January, women around the country and the globe made history by participating in the largest single-day protest in United States history. Though the Women’s March has an admirable mission and principle, the event itself and the loud message of the participants was divisive. I felt torn in half on that day, wishing to support the women marching and fighting for important change, but standing with my boys all the while–boys who seemed to be the enemy of all things feminine just by being male.
Is the feminist message anti-man?
The world has caught on to the idea of misogyny. The hatred, contempt for, and prejudice against girls and women are swiftly called out and dealt with in today’s culture and society. Misandry, however, the hatred for men, seems to be threatening society, acceptable in society and raging on unnoticed. My boys may be young, they may be good (so far, so good anyway), and they may be raised in a Christian home, but they also may be judged, mistreated, and punished for being male. This is because even as I raise them to be strong in character, the characteristics that make them men are under attack. So where does that leave me?
#boymom in a #girlpower world
If you are raising a boy or boys, I hope you will hear this. I hope you will take this in and chew on it. I hope you will believe me when I say to you that God made him in His own perfect image and although Christian masculinity is in crisis, our boys do not have to be.
I invite you to take these simple steps to cultivate Godly masculinity and power in your son’s growing heart as he becomes a man in today’s culture.
- Model empathy for your boys. It is not enough to tell your boys to be compassionate. You must show them through your own behavior. A compassionate heart will become a servant’s heart. Consider Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
- Encourage your boys to feel, to talk about what they feel, and appropriately act on what they feel. Historically boys’ more tender emotions (sadness, hurt) are squelched while others (anger, jealousy) are applauded and directed. Allowing boys’ to accept all of their emotions and handle them in real-time will help them be well-rounded and emotionally stable young men. Consider Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
- Celebrate both the feminine and masculine characteristics in your son(s). They are both placed there by the One who created him. God Himself placed in each other us both tender “feminine” qualities and strong and boisterous “masculine” qualities. When a girl is adventurous, outspoken, and rough-and-tumble, she is admired by mother and father. Boys, on the other hand, are critiqued and judged when they show their nurturing side. Consider 1 Corinthians 16:13-14: Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
- Celebrate the masculine qualities of your boys. Harness the God-given power that ignites their hearts, excites their bodies and minds, and comes to the defense of the weak. Model Christ to your boys–not a weak sacrificial lamb but an army of light, a triumphant conquering King and war hero. Show your boys how strong, courageous, and mighty our King is. In this era of superheroes, give your boys a real superhero–The Most Super hero. Consider Revelation 19: 12-16: His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
This is no weak sovereign. The King our boys are likened after is one of epic masculinity. He has more power and strength than Captain America and more wisdom, compassion, and justice than Princess Leia. He created our bodies from dust but gave life to our minds and heart with His breath. It’s not just the mechanism of our body that began with God’s breath, but also the emotions, the characteristics, and traits that make us who we are.