Last year, there was a J. Crew ad with the company’s president and her little boy. She had painted his toenails pink and stated, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
To some people (like the writer of this article), “it seems innocent — and even cute: a photo of a mom and her young son laughing adorably as she paints his toenails hot pink.” Mainstream media declared “So what? It’s just painting his nails.” I don’t believe it.
Although our two sons are now men and no longer little boys, I want to raise an alert. The world is feminizing our little boys and teaching little girls to be more masculine. Our culture is blurring the lines between genders and showering scorn on those that hold to the way God designed us to be man and woman. Clothing design, mainstream media, campus housing, marriage, and sports are only a few areas in which we see this happening.
Raising our boys is a special job, and we must take it seriously.
I’m so thankful that God has blessed us with two sons to mold and teach to become soldiers for His Namesake. It was obvious that they wanted to be like their Daddy long before they could be encouraged in any one direction by others.
Little boys naturally want to be just like their dad. I would often ask one of them, “Can you please help me carry these grocery bags. I need somebody big and strong to help me.” They would come running to help me, showing me their muscles and telling me how strong they were. Both would say, “I’m big and strong like Daddy.” They wanted to be manly men, just like their father. They saw their dad opening the door for me and so they did, too.
They would be climbing trees or way up into the barn rafters (I do not recommend this!) or trying to fix or figure out something mechanical or making their sticks into weapons with out the help of a TV to give them ideas. We decided early to ditch the TV so we would have time to really ‘do life’.
A boy needs to know how to get dirty and then clean up! I wish I could find the picture of them shoveling manure at my husband’s family’s dairy barn Also, they need to learn to value a good book as much as a romp in the woods!
Boys need to be able to take some risks, to be allowed to get hurt (this took lots of prayer) so they know how to deal with pain and stress, they need to know how to work hard and think critically under the guidance of a manly teacher, they need to be exhorted to holiness in their thought life, and they need to play hard, too. Boys need to be equipped to be fathers of boys someday!
“The mind of a child is naturally active, it develops through exercise. Give a child plenty of exercise, for body and brain. The trouble with our way of educating is that it does not give elasticity to the mind. It casts the brain into a mold. It insists that the child must accept. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning, and it lays more stress on memory than observation.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
It occurred to me to say that we did/are doing this imperfectly. While these photos portray a picture-perfect family, we are not perfect, and I don’t pretend we had/have it all together. It was only achieved through much time spent on our knees seeking the way the LORD would have us live. Also, please do not use this post to beat your husband over the head. It will only do harm.
But what if there is no father in the home?
My heart aches for the mother of boys with no father in the house; please, do not despair! 2 Corinthians 6: 18 says, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” God can and will be a real Father to you and your children! Call on Him for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ~ Romans 10: 13
Pray earnestly for someone to come alongside to be a father figure in their life. Often a grandfather can be that man, provided his input will be edifying.
Further, the Bible has something to say about the role of a mother that is vitally important. Paul, the Apostle, talking to his spiritual son Timothy, said, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. ” ~ 2 Timothy 1:5
Mothers can raise godly, masculine young men without a father with the help of Almighty God. “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~Matthew 19: 26 and “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” ~Genesis 18: 14
In God there is great power! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4: 13
(My friend Ingrid, mother of four active boys, and I are working on a few posts on Raising Sons, so stay tuned for a few ideas for mothers of younger boys.)