As my son has gotten older, I have had to be more intentional about connecting with him and engaging for the purposes of discipleship. When he was younger, he was asking questions constantly and his heart was open all the time. Now, he may keep things to himself, stuff as a mom I need to know. If I am not paying close attention, I may even miss the signs that there is a problem. So, I am constantly looking for ways to engage him and get him interested in talking.
Many times, I will be talking to my friends who mostly have girls as their oldest child and they tell stories about how they are engaging with their daughters. I think, Marshall and I would never have that conversation. It has taken me some time to accept the fact that it is not a deficiency I have, but merely the beautiful differences between girls and boys. They aren’t telling me stories about foosball tournaments or games of PIG and HORSE to improve their basketball prowess. These are my stories. When we talk about highs and lows at the dinner table and Marshall mentions his high was playing in a tent he made with his sisters, or running around the house pretending to be a monster and making them squeal in delight, I know his heart.
There is no lack of love or compassion, he is a boy and his heart is beautiful just the way God intended.
We don’t journal with each other, he doesn’t cry when he recounts his first experience with poverty in Kenya, but he wants to go back and he misses the kids there. He loved the country and the people and he wants to hold orphaned babies on his back again.
He wants to adopt Holly and her brother Calvin. He knows what it means to not have a family and for children to be abandoned. These stories are real to him, he has looked into the eyes of a little girl who was left in a ditch just hours after birth and heard the story of her miraculous rescue.
Two days ago we had a conversation about a family home we visited in a Kenyan slum. We went back over the story and why the mom and son weren’t spending time in the home with us, because the husband had just punched his wife in the face minutes before we walked into their home. We talked about how we treat others and the importance of learning self-control while we are younger, before the consequences get complicated.
With Marshall I have realized one of the most important things for him is that I tuck him in bed every night. He doesn’t want dad to tuck him in he wants me e.v.e.r.y. t.i.m.e. Even as he approaches the next season of boyhood, and he is breaking away from me a little more every day, there is a role that only I can play. The tenderness of my voice and touch can not be delegated to dad.
He wants to read the stories of Moses and his courageous leadership with me and he wants to read for a LONG time. One of the best resources I have found to reach his heart is the Action Bible. While many kids his age still connect with the Jesus Storybook Bible, Marshall was bored and disconnected. But, the Action Bible he begs to read every night. This God that we are reading about is fierce and strong and boys connect with the stories he left for us.
I was beginning to think Marshall wouldn’t connect but God’s story compelling. I am so thankful for his beautiful stories and the fact that my son can see in word and picture, why we don’t complain, why we obey immediately and the incredible importance of leadership and not following the crowd. Every night, these truths are dripping into his heart, and I pray that one day he may be a mighty leader, bringing truth and justice to the least and the lost. Hoping and praying without acting, likely won’t lead to this result-Lord willing our faulty leadership and bringing Marshall face to face with the needy will cause him fall in love with what God is doing and his favorite children. But only The Lord can do this, I must open my heart and obey Him and then allow him do the rest.
Are you a boy mom?
Do you relate to this similar struggle and privilege?