“Go to your room and think about what you just did! I am so tired of repeating myself. When are you going to realize, you will not achieve anything in life if you cannot follow simple instructions?”
My halls probably still echo this phrase. It was a rough day, and I had had enough of my (back then) seven-year-old son’s stubbornness. His confidence level proceeded his ability to control his pride. And my compassion for his overly zealous attitude grew thin. Raising godly boys has been a power struggle since day one.
Taming His Pride Without Breaking His Confidence
J is one of those headstrong, I-know-what-I-am-doing sons. He reminds me of Jonah and his misconstrued version of direction. Don’t get me wrong; my kid loves the Lord, and he’s one of the most caring young men. Yet, he is so eager to prove his abilities and sense of right.
His confidence in himself empowers him to be unmovable. If he believes in something, he will not be swayed. He’ll argue his point even when the other end of the argument walks away. It is who God has knitted him to be. I’m never going to hide who he is, and I pray he never does either.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. -Psalm 139:13
However, I was once ashamed of my son’s strong-willed personality. I’d pray it away (well, I tried to, anyway). Anointing his head seemed to be pointless. Until that day I yelled those horrible words…
“You will not achieve anything in life…”
It was in that moment my son lost his motivation to strive. Though it was not my intention to break his confidence, like Jonah’s fish, I had swallowed any aspirations he had.
He looked up at me, tears in his eyes, and mumbled, “Sorry, I am just a bad person, Momma. I don’t want to be a pastor anymore.” My heart sank and I grabbed him in my arms. I asked him if I could pray for us both. He nodded yes. I prayed for guidance on how to discipline without crushing. And for restoration of Jay’s passion.
Whilst praying, the Lord whispered the words “train” and “direct.” Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train (direct NLT) our children on the right path (NLT).
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
Typing in the word “train” into Google’s search bar, you’ll find the word is defined as the act to teach a skill or behavior through routine practices and instructions over time.
Many times, as parents, we expect change the moment we correct. Yet, truth is, the word of God tells us that it takes time. Only constant and consistent correction steers our boys in the direction of the Lord.
According to the definition of “direct,” parents manage and oversee their children. We cannot control their behavior, but we can guide and correct with compassion.
How can they learn to love the Lord, if they do not learn to love the very person God has created them to be?
We, as mothers, do not desire to crush our children. However, sometimes our frustrations speak up for us. Our words can very much build them or break them.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. -Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Gracing my words with compassion has been a learning habit for me. And, maybe for you, too. This doesn’t make us bad moms. It makes us moms who need Jesus a bit more. And, that is okay. I mean, who can get enough of Jesus? Surely, not I.
God loves us, despite our outlashes, and you know what? We love our boys in spite of their strong wills. And because of that love, God has fully equipped us as He trains us in the areas we lack, even if the training lasts our lifetime.
…for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. -Luke 12:12 NIV
Taking shelter in God in every way possible enables us to guide and raise our children with compassion. In the heat of frustration, I learned to breathe and mentally reach for the Spirit to guide my speech.
Raising boys is typically harder (so the world tells us…and maybe my own experience), but I do believe raising godly sons challenges us to take a look at our own stubbornness and allow God to break our will.
It is only through humility, remembering I too need compassion, that I allow the big fish of correction to swallow my children without devouring them. And it is depending on God’s grace that I am able to extend grace upon my children to allow the fish to release them.
As I grow into mothering my children, I reach out for wisdom. I speak to older moms. And moreover, I seek God in finding the compassion I need in raising stubborn godly boys…two stubborn godly boys. It is my desire to encourage them to use their stubbornness to stand firm against the enemy.
I now leave you with words of wisdom from a friend of mine who has raised godly boys who are now raising their own…
“My husband and I raised three boys and briefly a teen foster son. Our home ran through the full spectrum of fiercely independent and rebellious to compliant and obedient. Sometimes daily! Parenting four completely different people, we had to learn how to keep the principles consistent and uncompromised, yet apply effective consequences and blessings according to the specific character and maturity of each son.
We had to allow our boys to make choices and experience the results. Because we weren’t just raising our beloved children, but MEN who would fulfill a position in the Kingdom of God as lovers of Jesus, husbands, fathers, faithful friends, and employees.
We kept their environment as safe as possible from trauma while we taught them to overcome through difficult opportunities–praying our kids would turn to God, gain wisdom, develop strength and good character, all the while experiencing grace, acceptance, joy of life, and a sense of humor.
All four guys are exactly what we had hoped for! Did it always look so hopeful in the process? NO INDEED! But godly principles consistently put into action (marinated in prayer and obedience to the Spirit’s guidance) will always yield a harvest.”
Hold your hope and ambition high, for one day our boys will be the men we so anxiously desire them to be. Remember no matter how far they stray, they’ll remember their roots and return to them (Proverbs 22:6). Give them the word, and the word of God shall dwell with them forever (1 Peter 1:25).
As a mother of 4 , wife of a wonderful husband, and lover of God, Harmony has endured and conquered many inner struggles with inferiority. She desires to encourage other women who struggles with disappointments (rather it be daily or seasonal). She enjoys sharing what God refreshes her with, hoping that it brings relief to many warrior women out there. May her words bring healing, joy, and relief.