In a previous post, I spoke directly to moms to help encourage them in the delicate balance of protecting their sons less, and preparing them more. In this post, I want to address sons, but I know that it’s unlikely that he will ever read the article. My suggestion would be, ask your husband/son’s father or a trusted father figure in his life to have the conversation with him that I will outline in this post. Fathers have the unique role of guiding their sons through the waves and to help them maintain their bearings. My hope is to equip fathers to lead and guide their sons.
Fathers, here is an important conversation to have with your sons: (I have written it as if you were speaking to your son so that you can read it directly to him if he will listen.)
Lead your sons to brave the waves but not lose their bearings
I know you are frustrated and confused! That’s normal. One minute you want your mom to leave you alone and treat you like a man, and the next minute you’re glad she makes you mac and cheese. Think about the ocean and its waves. You have an adventurous spirit in you that was given to you by God. As you play in the waves there is a tendency to be more daring and venture deeper. You have a need to be a man and experience the dangerous and test your strength. That is normal and it is one of the cool things about being a man. But part of being a man is caring for the needs of the people around you – like your mom. You need to begin seeing that you have the awesome privilege and responsibility of caring for some of your mom’s needs. I know, I know, this seems strange because you’re so used to her taking care of yours. But trust, me it’s going to happen, so you might as well make the decision now to begin caring for your mom. I want to emphasize two ways you can do that:
- Using the analogy of the beach and the ocean, as you venture bravely into the waves, look back once in a while at your mom who is on the sand…not for your sake, but for hers. In other words, your mom needs to know that you love her and that you appreciate all of the things she has done and is doing for you. She needs to know that you are OK and that you care enough to tell her that.
- Earn respect by being respectable. This is a pretty basic cause and effect concept. If you want to be treated like a man, act like man. Men take initiative, they don’t whine about their responsibilities, and they remain teachable so they can learn new things.
Teach him to treat her like the woman he’d fight to protect
I’m sure you’ve heard your share of “Your Mama” jokes. Why is it that we can treat our moms like garbage and then get so bent out of shape when someone else disrespects her? As a man, you are made to protect the people in your life. Start by protecting your mom from yourself. Ask yourself, “If someone else were treating my mom the way I’m treating her right now, would I want to fight to protect her?” I’m afraid that too many times we would have to answer that question with a “yes”. The good news is that real men also know how to say sorry and ask for forgiveness when they mess up. There is a reason you stick up for your mom when someone else offends her: you love her and your identity is tied up in hers because you are family. Determine to make deliberate choices to fight for her heart by building her up with your words and actions. These acts of love will go a long way in the way she views and respects you as well.