Are you a boy mom? Do you ever find yourself frazzled between school events, homework, and sporting events? Do you ever watch him sleep and wonder what he’ll be like when he’s a grown man? Such is the life of a boy mom.
From the day I adopted my sons (they were one and three years old), I began to think about their future. I care deeply about their grades, their hobbies, and their world view, but as they age, I find myself far more concerned about how they relate to people. They are first and foremost members of our family, and when they grow up they will add more members to our family. As I look into the future, I wonder what kind of women they will choose, and how many children they will have, but I also wonder if I am doing all I can to prepare them for their future role in their new family.
When my oldest son turned 10, I suddenly realized that in only eight short years he will be leaving my nest. I hope he’ll be attending college. That is our plan, but no matter what he chooses to do after high school, the odds are very high that he will choose to start a family during his 20s, as far away as that sounds, I know, in reality, it’s a mere blink.
As of late, my question to myself has been: Am I preparing my son to be a husband and father? Honestly, I shuddered the first time I thought of my prepubescent boy taking on the responsibilities of a family, but over the last six months, I have thought of it more and more. I have come to realize boys in our society are encouraged to play sports to the exclusion of almost all other social activities. They live for the next movie, video game, or sporting event. Family is often pushed to the side to make room for tournaments, more screen time, or just hang out with friends. So my question to myself is my question to you: Are we as a society preparing our boys to become husbands and fathers . . . because prepared or not, the vast majority of them will get married, and they will create children.
Now, before anyone answers, please hear me out: I love sports. I play videogames with my boys. We have movie night around here, but my concern is that boys tend to communicate less as they age. They tend to drift into their own world, and tend to remove themselves from family events as a result of the aforementioned activities. So while I have no problem with those activities, the concern is that boys must learn to remain connected to family without allowing those activities to separate them from it. It is a balancing act.
Within the last six months, I have begun to have little conversations with my 10 year old about his hopes and dreams. I have been digging in his psyche to find out where he sees himself in 10, 15, and 20 years. Conversations about the future with a 10 year old aren’t serious, quiet chats. They usually end up with both of us laughing and outrageous questions from him about girls, but that’s exactly the goal. I want him to be safe enough with me to be able to blurt out any crazy thing that comes into his head so we can talk about it. I want him to enjoy the moment, so I promote the sillies. During those moments, we talk about deep subjects without being in them, that affords us the freedom to make jokes, and yet somehow before we are done, we get serious and the important issues get fleshed out.
My hope is that when my future daughter-in-law has been married to my son for 10 years she will be thankful that I taught her husband how to communicate with love, respect, and a little humor. I hope that when my son chooses to add his wife to our family he doesn’t feel that he is leaving us to start a new family. I hope he sees her as an addition to our family. I hope that when he becomes a father, he has rich memories of time spent with his father and me that inspire him to be the best parent.
These dreams of mine require that I remain present in the lives of my boys. They require me to be uncomfortable during some of our Q/A sessions, and they remind me that my boys are not completely mine. They are passing through on the way to becoming who God created them to be. My job, my honor, is to help them get there.
Good families don’t happen by accident, they are created from the cradle to the grave.