My Boys Are Not My Whole World

My Boys are NOT “my whole world” or “my everything.”  I see many moms posting about their kids being their “main man” or “my whole world.”  Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my boys more than I ever thought I could. My problem with being consumed by my boys is that I am a follower of Christ, and as such, my main priority is to lay my life down and serve Him. As much as I fight it, I am to die to my selfish and sinful desires and serve Him, wholeheartedly. I’ve struggled a lot with this lately. What does it mean to be the one nurturing and raising my kids, hand in hand with my husband, and to put my relationship with Christ first? It is so easy in a Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook world to be obsessed with my kids and my role as mom. Who doesn’t want to look good? Who doesn’t feel great when our kids are cute, have honorable accomplishments, etc.? But know your main priority. I’ve seen so many women who are struggling with their marriage, their identity and their purpose in life because their priorities are skewed. Continue reading

How to play Mumblety-peg Pocket Knife Game

Source of Photograph: Library of Congress. Boys playing ‘Mumble-the-Peg’ Peekskill NJ 1917 LOC 24912u

Moms, you want your son off video screens – right? One way is to give him something he can do with his hands. For boys who have learned to be responsible there is nothing like a nice pen knife to spend hours fiddling, making small lashed items and playing Mumblety-peg.

The game Mumblety-peg has nearly been lost. And I don’t mean the modern version which requires throwing a knife as close to his foot as possible, then stretching out his foot to touch the knife until one of the two contestants can’t stand anymore. And I certainly don’t mean the new game where a boy stabs the knife between his fingers, faster and faster until he stabs himself or chickens out or can’t go any faster. Instead, I am talking about the game from the 17th century.

Here is the description from Encyclopedia Britannica: Continue reading

Can a Boy Be Too Wild?


Wild at Heart is a book by John Eldredge in which he began a conversation about the role of masculinity in the Evangelical Church. It was needed in 2001, when the book was first published, and is still needed today.

If you know me or read this blog you know I strongly believe that we need to allow our boys to be “wild” and develop their masculine side. But can boys be too wild? Can wild go from “healthy” to “unhealthy?” Lets rephrase the question.

If you ask “can a boy be too masculine?” I say “no.”

But if you ask “can a boy be too macho?” I say “yes.”

Can a boy be too crude? I say “yes.”

It is time we begin to allow true masculinity to flourish, and separate it from crudeness and foolish macho behavior. I don’t believe for a moment that to be a true gentleman a boy has to give up his masculine side.  He has to be taught when and where certain behaviors are acceptable. He has to learn self control of his masculine side, not total denial. Continue reading

Free Movie Alternatives to Today’s Options

Honestly, some of today’s movies are fun. But others are filled with gratuitous violence, sexual innuendo or worse, and anti-christian themes. So what does a parent do? Believe it or not, there are hundreds of free movies produced over the previous decades that are available free for the viewing on YouTube.

Of course, just because a movie was produced during the last century does not mean it will meet your standards, but many are wholesome, fun and filled with great turns. And, many are adaptations of good “boy literature” such as Old Yeller by Fred Gibson, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls and more. And there are many movies that are not adapted from literature but mimic the types of stories that are found in more traditional boy’s literature. Some of these movies are very juvenile and perhaps not favorites of parents. Yet, these types of movies are the type of books boys have traditionally read for years. Boy books from several decades ago concentrated on typical boys with extraordinary traits which gave these boys an advantage. Rather that extraordinary powers or magic giving boys an advantage. This shift has always bothered me because I believe boys no longer feel that being a hero is attainable. Continue reading

Little League Has Changed

Today I went to photograph a 9 year old neighbor’s Little League Baseball game. I could not help but be nostalgic and see some humor in how things have changed since I was a boy. Here are some observations and some pictures from the day. Continue reading

Surprising Differences In Middle School Boys From 20 Years Ago

I have worked in camps, schools and coached over many, many years. Perhaps because I had a “pause” in working with kids these differences are more obvious to me, but here are some changes I have seen over 20 years.
1. Open Affection: I don’t think this is because I am a grandparent and view the world differently. I have worked with Chinese and American middle schoolers and today it seems to be “OK” to display affection between parent and the middle schooler. And I don’t just mean a quick kiss, which has always been OK. I mean arms wrapped around and holding kids, boys included, in public. Twenty years ago this would have caused great angst for the middle school boy. (Yes, some boys still don’t like it, but affection is far more prevalent today.)

Continue reading

Things I Want My Son to Be

All Boy Life welcomes our newest contributor, Kelly Strohm. Kelly is a mother to 3 boys and, counting her husband and the dog, she is outnumbered 5 to 1! Kelly is daughter-in-law to Mark Strohm and Sister-in-law to Julie Taylor.

Things I want my sons to “be”…

I’m the mommy of 3 wonderful little boys. One is 6, 4, and 3 months old. As I sit and rock my baby and watch my older boys run around the back yard, I can’t help but think about the kinds of things I want them to “be” when they grow up. My oldest says he wants to be an engineer or an architect (and he’s got the LEGO skills to back up that plan for sure)! My 4 year old wants to be a police officer (lord help his momma…one more thing to worry about)! And the 3-month-old just wants to BE held. And I am ok with that! But besides career aspirations, there are so many other things I’m trying to teach my boys to be. My goal is to devote quality time teaching my boys to become the men that God wants them to be. And I pray daily that the Lord will use me to help mold and shape them the way He sees fit. What I’m learning is that God so often uses these lessons to mold and shape me as well! So here some of the things I pray my boys will be: Continue reading

Mommy Guilt

Time to face my mommy guilt

Recently, I was on one of my “Mommy pages” where someone asked about how moms deal with the ever present “mommy guilt.” You know, that nagging feeling of inadequacy at the end of the day convincing you that you aren’t raising your kids the right way. Sometimes it comes out in my compulsive need to follow every health trend or wanting to implement some proclaimed superior way to teach my boys so they have every conceivable “deserved” advantage. It comes out in my fear that I am not doing all I can to keep my boys on top of their game. Seriously, I have worried about accidentally having some brain damaging chemicals in their soap, medicines that will hurt them, why I did not do everything possible to avoid having a C-section and how that may have damaged my boys, and more – much, much more. Don’t even get me started on my Christian responsibility mommy guilt…my boys aren’t memorizing weekly scriptures or singing hymns like champs – oh my heart, I am an utter failure if I let these thoughts sink in and fill my mind.

And honestly, being a “boy mom” can increase the guilt. Our boys generally are less organized, slower to mature, less connected to adults and do not keep pace with many milestones when compared to girls, not to mention they tend to be dirtier and smellier. My boys are 3 and 1 but oh my gracious, I have already felt the crush of mom guilt!

So, here is my plan to avoid the crippling comparisons and subsequent damaging mom guilt. Continue reading

From a Man – What I Want Moms to Know About Boys

As a male, a father and grandfather, who has worked with boys for 30 years, I wish all moms knew the following 11 things about boys.

Despite the beliefs of some in our culture who have allowed crazy cultural ideas to run amok, boys REALLY ARE different than girls. And treating them the same is just wrong. So, from this Male, father of a boy and grandfather to 5 boys, and educator of hundreds of boys, this is what I want Moms to know about their boys. Continue reading