Sunday, November 11, 2007

Raising boys

Everywhere I go, people say to me, "Wow, those boys must keep you busy, huh?" It is so true. You need only watch them for a minute or so, and it's obvious. They are boys in every sense of the word. They are noisy, they are messy, and they love to play rough.

Part of me still wonders why the Lord chose me to be the mom of boys. I have to be honest, the pounding footsteps, the constant motion, and the wrestling matches are already way beyond my idea of a peaceful home. Did you know that 1 1/2 year olds know how to wrestle? Yeah, apparently they are born with the gene. I read the writings of other moms of boys, and I know I'm not alone.

All joking aside, I do trust the sovereignty of the Lord in choosing me to raise the 2 (so far) that He has entrusted into our care
I may sigh a lot - and pray even more - but I do trust Him. He is able to teach me what I need to know to pass on to them, and to help me survive the process.

The more I pray about it though, the more I am convinced that the raising of boys should be very intentional in the age we live in. The distinction between the design of men and women has been visibly blurred in our culture, so much so that some people say now that children should have a choice about which gender they will embrace as they grow up. Granted, this is a very worldly view, but if we are not careful, this message can still creep unnoticed into our homes and influence our boys. Rather than growing up with the firm belief that the God of the universe chose them to be male for a purpose, and learning to be the kind of men He wants them to be.

When I blogged about Ethan's first bike, my mom jokingly asked if we would have let him choose a pink bike if he wanted to, mostly just teasing me because I tend to be a bit of a control freak. :) But to answer everyone's questions about that, if Ethan wanted a pink bike, we would NOT say okay. Dave says, "Absolutely not!" He wants his boys to tend toward masculine things, and for me to train them that way. And I see his wisdom in that.

Would it really matter all that much if Ethan had a pink bike when he was 3 or 4? Probably not. But why allow things now that we will never allow in a few years?

Now, as for who determined that pink was a girly color, I have no idea. But it is a long-established, culturally accepted thing, that pink belongs on girl clothes and toys, so rather than attempt to change the norm (because what is the point????), we plan to encourage our boys to make choices that reflect the men that God designed them to be.

And yes, we say, "Pink is for girls, honey," as politically incorrect as that may sound. We want the boys to know that there is a difference, and the pink issue is just the beginning, you know? :)


Eryn said...

this is a tough subject in todays world and should be decided upon(as you rightfully have) in the family. but i would like to raise a couple of points.
when patrick was little (up to about 4) he hung around all girls all day and occasionally wanted me to make his blanket into a "pretty dress". so i would. now, as a 6 year old , he would NEVER ask that but he will still comment on my dress. i believe this gave him an appreciation for modes of dress. and he still has a very masculine daddy he looks up to for the way he dresses now.
he would also want nail polish on when he saw it on my nails. so i would do his toes or something. we dont see anything wrong with this.(although james wasnt thrilled with it). the was young and figuring things out. if he likes "pink", he is allowed to like pink. he started on his own to not want "pink" things and shy away from girl things as he grew and spend more time with his dad, realizing the difference beween boys and girls.i dont want him feeling ashamed or that there is something wrong with him that he likes a "girl" color. i dont think God had gender in mind when making colors and i would like all of my children to appreciate all colors. also, on the opposite color spector, blue is considered a "boy" color, but i dont think anyone would not let their girl buy something because it was blue. now that he is older, he is more inclined to ask questions about such things and we answer them honestly and when applicable, scriptually.
in saying this, i dont think i would want or would buy my boy pink bike either, but i dont think it is wrong for them to like pink. and i dont want him to link the color pink with only girlie things. this can create a big chasm between boys and girls (ewwwww, you like pink! or to another boy, thats for girls, gross!)
i hope i am saying this in a spirit of love and am not coming across too critically. i dont mean to criticize. you and dave have every right to teach your children as you see fit and biblically. i hope i brought another view, though. i also hope i was clear and not too confusing. its hard to put thoughts into words sometimes (espially when you are nervous about sensitive subjects)

Jessie said...

I agree that boys are quite challenging, but I am enjoying it so much. I grew up with only sisters so some of this is very new to me-granted we were all tom-boy so I can relate. I can also say that a lot of prayers are sent up to the Lord from me asking for help and wisdom for my two little men.
Thanks for your thoughts, Joe leans more twords no pink as well. But, he did say he would teach the boys ballet if they wanted :) cuz he did ballet for 8 years growing up-great for posture and balance he says, but no tutu's!

dave & rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy & Jenica said...

I've never worry too much when Caden chooses a "girl" color, etc. I never suggest it, but I think it's very natural and not a social issue at this point in the game.

However, as they get older and are in out in the world more he will be faced with the gender smudging so he needs to have a good foundation.

Boys who are secure and loved by 2 parents that portray God's given roles clearly in the home is the best way to equipt a boy to be a man.

A father who takes his son alongside him in whatever he is doing (yard work, working on the car, hunting/fishing). He's building their relationship and giving him practical skills.

That being said, just a few thoughts that are an extention of this subject:
I know a very manly, athletic, leader guy who also plays the piano beautifully and knows how to sew and knit. I do want my boys to appreciate art and beauty that can sometimes be called "girly". (I also think what is considered "girly" has been ever changing with past eras.) I don't think Andy would disagree with this. He loves going to art museums.

Mostly, we want to point our boy towards manliness, and develop his talents and interest that would glorify God. I think father's have to be willing to support/guide a boy who may not be just like him...

A boy with many feminine tendancies would be challenging I'm sure...

Ok! That was WAY too much rambling! Especially for someone who's hardly experienced. This is a very interesting subject. Thanks for bringing it up!

dave & rachel said...

Thanks, girls, for your thoughts! It is so interesting to hear others' perspectives...and good, I think, too.

I really appreciated Jenica's thought:
"Boys who are secure and loved by 2 parents that portray God's given roles clearly in the home is the best way to equip a boy to be a man."

What is my part in that? How do I portray my God given role clearly to my boys? These are the thoughts in my head...

I guess I have never thought about music and art as being conceived as girly...since I grew up with that kind of dad. :) And Dave is very inclined that way too...(and he LOVES art museums - I'm not a big fan, go figure! :).

So anyway, lots to think about...thanks for your input!

Andy & Jenica said...

You're right Rachel. Maybe, most ppl. don't consider music and art as girly. But, a guy who only likes those things and doesn't like sports, outdoors, rough housing, etc. would be considered more feminine right? As long as they are inteseted in both, they are considered "ok" socially.

Maybe that whole aspect is off the subject.

dave & rachel said...


I don't think our minds have even gone there yet. :)

All we know is that somehow or other we want our boys to appreciate that they are growing up to be men...and to learn how they can bring glory to the Lord in that, like you said so well. It will be interesting to see them grow up and learn these things. My boys are obviously very young right now, so we are keeping things very basic. :) And we're not throwing away all the pink crayons in the house or anything (hahaha! that makes me laugh to think about!), but with big purchases, like a bike, Dave definitely wants to steer Ethan in the right direction. It has just given us new info to think about!

Sarah said...

I really appreciate all that is being said here. I have a 1 year old boy and none of this is an issue yet, but it is so nice to hear from other mothers how they handle situations.

I found your blog through Eryn Bloom's. You may or may not remember me from staff at camp (maiden name Traxler). Anyway I just wanted to thank you for brooching a subject that is difficult and giving an outlet for other mothers to sound off.

dave & rachel said...

Hi Sarah! Of course I remember you! It's fun to hear from you, and to hear that you have a little boy too!

I'm glad you're enjoying this subject. :) I had no idea anyone would even be's just something Dave and I have been discussing recently. It has brought up a lot to think about, for sure. We were really only thinking about whether or not you let your 3 year old pick a pink bike! But apparently there is lots more to consider. :)

I like the idea of encouraging our boys to want to be like their dads. To build them up to our sons, to talk about all the things they do, as a man. And they definitely need that time with their dads too. Dave is very good about that, taking Ethan or Si along as he does something. Those times are so precious and valuable.

I have so many more thoughts rolling around in my head...about the balance...raising boys who are confident and strong leaders, yet gentle and thoughtful too. I guess I am thinking in terms of the way they relate to people, rather than activities they're involved in (like sports, music, etc...) although I know those ARE social factors. I would love to talk about all this more! Everyone's thoughts have been so interesting.

dave & rachel said...

My sister-in-law Cindy said:

I just had a rare spare moment and was looking at your blog. I love doing that by the way!
It reminds me so much of all the "growing up" we all do as mother and wives. Your comments are inspiring. Really!
And I really appreciate reading all the comments from your friends. I suppose I could have added this there myself...

I've been meaning to email you about a song I heard last week on Sara Groves new album. The song is called
"Song for my Sons," ( written before she just had her daughter.) You really should track this one down. I think you'll love it!
It's about raising her boys to love God no matter what. (I suppose this applies to raising girls too, but was written from her heart for her sons.)

Being a mother of FOUR girls, I LOVE to hear moms of boys talking about how they're going to raise their sons to be godly
men. I hope and pray that my girls can find those boys when the time comes. I just keep raising my girls to be godly women and to make choices that are pleasing to Him...every day in every circumstance. Lauren has a favorite quote on her Facebook that I love. I can't remember it exactly, but the jist of it is that a young woman should be so lost in Jesus that a young man would have to seek Him to find her. Seeing that kind of quote on your daughter's site does a mom's heart good!