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Let Them Be Men

Awhile back I wrote a post called, “Let Them be Boys“.   There is plenty of scientific evidence that proves that boys are hard wired very differently than girls*.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.  And we, as moms, know more than anyone that it’s true.  You can take the toy guns away, but boys will figure out that a piece of toast or wood shaped remotely like a gun will suffice.

Our oldest son is 19 and a senior in college.  He has four younger brothers (along with 2 older sisters and a younger one).  Even though I still see the little boy in him and he’s not fully out on his own yet, he is, for all intents and purposes, a man.

Over the last several months we have had a few conversations that have not ended well.  They were about acquiring a motorcycle, going surfing and getting dreadlocks.  By the time we covered the motorcycle and the surfing, I was okay with the dreadlocks.

Nurses in the ICU at the hospital call motorcycles, “donorcycles”.  It’s because most of their good organ donors come from healthy young men who have died in motorcycle accidents.  I made this point clear to our son.  He said I didn’t trust his driving skills.  I told him it wasn’t HIS driving I was worried about, it was everyone else’s.  That and the proximity of his body to the pavement combined with velocity.  He’s done college math, he should get this, right?

He talked of going to California to try surfing.  My question was, “Will you have someone with you who knows what they are doing?”.   A little experienced supervision seemed reasonable to me.  To him, it was another jab at his manhood.

So here we were at a crossroads.  My strong feelings of protection and being “sensible” colliding with his deep, innate need to make strides in his manhood.  You can probably see why the dreadlocks became a non-issue at this point.

I prayed and asked God for wisdom.  I couldn’t let our son make these decisions without clearly stating my concerns, but I realized that I also needed to validate his abilities, his skills, his track record (which is good) and his right, as an adult, more importantly, as a man, to make these decisions.  I just asked that he consider my concerns.  And that was where we left it.  That didn’t stop me from praying, though.

As it turns out, he bought a motorcycle a couple of months later.  The purchasing process was a pain for him.  The bike broke down almost immediately and he hasn’t been able to get it running.  It’s not what he was hoping it would be.   The excitement has diminished and I realize that in those earlier conversations,  I had momentarily forgotten about God’s sovereignty over our son’s life.  A God who loves our son more than I ever could. And who is able to direct his steps.

We were on vacation this week at the beach.  We stopped at a surf shop so he could check on lessons.  I was even the one to encourage him to do so.  He made the arrangements and the next morning he was up bright and early and on his way out the door for his lesson.  I texted several friends to be praying for him.  Because that’s what moms do. Then I grabbed the video camera and headed out to record this adventure.  As we drove on the beach toward where he already was, I had this amazing sense of peace and excitement for him.  I stood with my feet on the sand at the water’s edge that morning, and the next, making sure that he had some good footage to watch later.  And I watched our son conquer the ocean waves.

You see, God knew all along what this boy needed to experience.  And in the process, He also knew what I needed.  He met our son’s desires in ways that only He could.  He also met this mama where she lacked courage to let her son go and be the man that he needs to be. As moms, we love our boys deeply, but we also need to let go. Because somewhere along the way, when we aren’t looking, our boys become capable men.  And it’s usually sooner than we realize.  There comes a time when we need to trust God with our boys and trust our boys with God.  Now if I can just remember this with the next four sons.

I recently wrote a simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling called The Unhurried Homeschooler {aff})

(*A favorite book on the subject and science of boys-“The Minds of Boys” {aff})

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