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

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

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

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

Once Upon A Time Kids Were Kids

kids-8Back before there were drugs to calm little ones down, before recess became extinct, when organized sports were few and far between, when it was OK to play outside and you were not required to follow your kid around to “redirect” them – way, way, way back – kids were allowed and expected to be kids!

I remember my teacher education classes talking about how to handle squirmy boys and there was no mention of drugs. I remember a discussion as to how long a 3rd grader could sit. My professor basically told us we were idiots if we thought they could sit for more than 25 minutes. In today’s 3rd grade classroom I would guess 25 minutes is the shortest stretch they have to subdue their naturally wiggly bodies. Continue reading

Why Boys Need To Move

I know some of you are saying “is he ever going to stop preaching about this?”

The answer is “Once people start listening, I will stop preaching!”

Here is a TedX KC lecture. It is 10 minutes long, but well worth it for parents of boys. Especially if you are being pressured to place your child on medication for depression, anxiety, or ADD. Before placing your child on meds, first, watch this video, then make adjustments to your family and son and only after you have successfully made adjustments should you consider medications. Continue reading

Your son does not have to fall victim to a system that prefers girls. Follow these suggestions to help your son thrive in school.

How Boys Can Thrive in School

proof-2In my last article about boys and schools (See here: Are Schools Failing Our Boys?) you may have gotten the idea that I think all boys in our educational system are doomed. I don’t! Just because the system is stacked against them does not mean boys are automatically doomed. But it does mean parents will have to be on their guard and involved in ways you may not have expected to be involved. Here is how I think boys can thrive in our schools today. Continue reading

The Magic of Star Wars, Review of Star Wars POE’s X-Wing Fighter Build N Play Set

Boys and Star Wars

star wars the force awakens

Excitement builds for the new Star Wars movie – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

poe's x-wing fighterI watched a Fireman’s Parade a few weeks back hoping to take some fun photographs. Apparently the parade got started late so while sitting for an hour near two grandparents and an early elementary boy, I heard all about Star Wars. This little guy could tell me anything I wanted to know about the movies, the TV programs and more – and he did, for 40 minutes! Today on facebook a friend stated he had just purchased 65 tickets to the opening night of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. He was getting ready to make a great memory. His wife teasingly asked “Do you even have 65 friends?”

So what is it about Star Wars and boys – young and old? What is the magic which attracts them to this story?

The Star Wars movies have several components that draw boys and men into the story.

First, it is about self sacrifice and fighting for something bigger than yourself. Next it holds family and friendship very strongly. The movie presents tension with good and evil clearly on opposite sides. The characters are flawed, but heroic. Finally, there is lots of adventure and action and a few pretty girls (for the older boys.) What more can any male want?

I know many boys love to “play” Star Wars, especially the battle scenes. So it would be great if your son could feed his creative imagination and even be tested with some intellectual skill, fine motor practice and even patience, just like we used to get from making model kits back in the day – right? Well, maybe he can. Continue reading