This was first published in my column in this month's The Courier.
I recently read an article about “what moms of boys need to know.” It had some good points, but an overall feel of “get used to gross and just let it happen because there is nothing you can do.” As a mother of boys myself, I had to disagree.
With our oldest son’s birthday approaching, I realized we have nine years of experience raising boys. We have five sons now and I see more and more how necessary my feminine influence is for them.
It is true that “boys will be boys.” Boyhood is a glorious gift! They are so adventurous and daring. They destroy and build and destroy and build and destroy and build again. They climb and jump and scream and shout and laugh. Oh! that all houses could be filled with their laughter!
Of course they also have difficulty keeping the bathroom even in the neighborhood of slightly clean, will probably break everything in your house, and think flatulence are hysterical. And while I realize these are also very “boy” things to do, should a mother really just let it go and let them be gross?
Mothers are a gift to their sons. Their femininity brings beauty into their little boy-worlds. A mother can bring civility to his wild world – not to crush it or break him, no! – but to teach him to temper it in the appropriate situations.
Related to this, the father’s love for the son’s mother is vitally important as well. The son learns how to treat a woman by watching how his father treats and loves his mother.
Not at all suppressing their boyhood, a mother’s love and feminine influence heightens it. It’s the mother’s presence, the beauty of her womanhood, that beckons the son to stop the mud pies and spitting contests for a moment and gather up wild flowers to adorn her. In between the pirate battles and saving the world from an alien invasion, he stops to yell over to her “I love you, mom! You look beautiful!”
After a rowdy day, the sweaty darling warriors need a touch of womanhood! They might grumble at having to wash their hands, but they long for the peace that a mother’s comfort brings – even if they never admit it.
With five boys slowly taking over my home, I have felt a need to bring that feminine beauty into their lives – as if this was a piece of my duty as their mother. You can bring beauty and civility in many small ways. Lately, I have been using our dinner time to bring it out a little more. Setting the table beautifully with extra little touches, and combining that feeling of beauty with food they love creates the perfect moment! (The phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is never more clear than when you have growing boys!) It doesn’t take much to add your feminine touch to their lives in whatever way you choose to do so, but it is so important.
Does this mean they won’t ever have base humor anymore? Heavens, no! (Though I wish it did at times!) I know that even my nice tablecloths will get stained, vases broken, and wine spilt. Their Church clothes will get dirty, their jeans will always have holes and their hair a mind of its own. Yet, just because it is difficult, does not mean we give up bringing that beauty into their lives. We don’t just leave them there in the mess, because “boys will be boys.” Instead, we call them to the highest form of themselves, rejoicing and celebrating the greatness of their God-given boyhood, their wonderful masculinity.