Monday, July 15, 2013

My Perspective on Teenage Boys

    Teenage boys. It seems the mere thought of our baby's teen years can crumple even the most resolute parent. When my own children were little ones, the thought of those teen years scared me half to death. I have survived, even adapted, once my girls made it there. Now we have a boy smack dab in the middle of his teens- let me just say, it's completely different.
       My heart, as a mother, has been to raise up a young man with a heart for God and a strong sense of accountability. This is not easy, yet, nothing worth doing is. In order for such character qualities to develop, there must be examples before myself and him- this can be difficult to find. We realized early on those models were not to be found in the media, the video games, or popular culture. If we want to raise a young man who is strong, faithful, and determined to respect others we have to buck the system and search long and hard.

        The first place to start is prayer. Many a night on my knees seeking God's discernment and guidance. From there, I had to open my eyes to the role models already in our life. We are blessed with a honorable and faithful husband/father who holds to hard work and respect, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who are close enough to us to be leaders in a young man's life. Here lie primary jewels often neglected in the quest for raising up young men. Our farm boy has spent a great deal of time elbow to elbow with these men in his life gleaning skills, character, and Godly guidance from them,
          Let's expand. Home and family influence can be complemented or contradicted by external influence. Church leaders, sports coaches, and 4H leaders have come in and out of our teenage boy's life offering examples of Godly manhood and respectable behavior. Unfortunately, as a parent, we have to be present and paying attention recognizing when and if and influence lines up with the character we are teaching. It takes a strong parent to recognize and remove the issue if it is detrimental. By God's grace, we have been blessed with Godly men in so many of these areas; backing up the teaching of quality characteristics and masculine respect.
            As for friendships with peers, it seems as healthy influences are present in his life, our farm boy has been able to discern relationships very well on his own. Occasionally we have had conversations about different peers in our social realm only to realize he had already discerned the issue and been working it out on his own.
          All that said, the reality is..the farm boy is with me more often than not, leaving a relationship in itself that must be fostered. I am his biggest fan, his toughest critic, his sounding board, and a huge influence. How we relate will determine how he relates to other women, including his future young woman. My role is not only discipline and nurture, it is to show him how to treat women and how to relate with them without pushing an effeminate or demasculating character over his will.
          I have found it a fine balancing act to respect his role as a young man, yet, reveal and remind him I am a woman, I am his mother, and I am an adult. Daily we are found side by side hauling feed, working gardens, building, repairing, and handling the in and out of homestead life. We train together in martial arts, shooting, fishing, and even 'survival hikes'. A young man must be respected as a young man, yet, reminded that women are not only a complement, but have their strengths as well. When attitude hits our house- and it does- we 'work it out on the mats' or in the fields, getting that tension off our shoulders and reminding each other there is a need for mutual respect.
    Do we have it all figured out? No way. Are we working through it? Absolutely, and learning every step of the way. I did not write this to glorify myself or make my son seem unrealistically ideal. These are difficult, formative years..those of us in the trenches need to stand together and support each other as we rise to the challenge. My heart goes out to parents recognizing the dangerous and devastating reality of our culture and our children's generation. Stay strong and press on. It is so very worth it in the end. 

Remember that prayer and discernment is the key, Seek His help, and you will find a way. My husband and I are here, in the trenches with you. If there is anything we can pray with you about, or if you have an issue you would like to talk over with another parent in the trenches, please email us at God bless!


Jen said...

Great post! I am in the trenches with you. My oldest will be 15 next week and my baby will 13 in September. Both boys. We have good boys that have been raised in church and with a knowledge of the Word of God. But we so live in a world full of bad influences and we have had to put a stop to certain friendships because of this bad influence. Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. Being a parent is not an easy job and it is definitely a learning process. I am glad I have someone in the trenches with me to help encourage. :).

Simply Scaife Family said...

Amen! Let's keep each other encouraged:)