My son is six. He is the oldest. He is soon to have a third little sister. I pray for him. I have been praying for him for a while to be able to identify with his male- ness. In today’s world, I suppose I am out of line to want my boy to be boy-ish, aggressive, competitive, loud, wiggly, adventurous… a warrior. I am supposed to provide him with opportunities to explore both his masculinity and femininity… because…who I am I to tell him that he is supposed to be a boy… shouldn’t he have the right to figure that out on his own?
God made no mistakes when designing my little guy. He put him in the right body. He gave him the right mix of DNA. He didn’t make any mistakes.
So in the last few years, when my son would walk out of his sisters room wearing a princess dress and heels, I did not applaud his enlightened little heart and encourage him to complete the outfit with crown and wand. I also didn’t shame him. I didn’t fuss at him and say “boys don’t wear things like that.” When I would hear him and his sister playing fairies, I didn’t rush in the room and demand that he stop. When he was three and insisted that his favorite color was pink, we didn’t insist back that pink is a “girl” color.
What I have done is encourage him in his masculinity. I’ve asked him questions about why he’d rather pretend he is a princess, a sister, a fairy than be a boy when they play. I have asked him what is so special about pink that he really likes it. His answers are interesting. He didn’t want to play the daddy because the daddy has to leave and go to work (or school) and he wanted to be home… makes sense… it’s only girls at home with him all day. He likes pink because girls like pink and boys like girls… again… completely logical.
My husband is very attentive to our son and makes sure to spend time with him… wrestling, playing cards, throwing darts, playing make believe. He encourages him and prays for and with him.
Most importantly, I have prayed. Prayed that he would identify with his male-ness… that he would be okay with being a boy… that he would delight in who God made him to be.
I don’t think I realized what I was praying for. When we made our most recent move, the boy went from sharing a room with his sister to having his very own room. He has his own space now. I think that may have triggered something in him. Since we have moved, he has become more aggressive, more proud of the fact that he is a boy… more proud of his bodily functions and the sounds they make (much to my chagrin). He has begun to seek out boys at play groups and is fiercely protective 0f his new friend that is a boy. They have a boy’s club and he has even written rules… part of the rules say “if you like girlish stuff, you can’t be in the club. If you see a My Little Pony, say yuck and throw it across the room.” He is loud, he is wiggly, he needs to be released outside to run around. He is a boy for sure.
I am not, and never really was all that worried about my son’s identity, but watching him run around a friend’s house in fairy wings did spur me on to read books about raising boys and pray for my own little warrior. This world, our society in particular is becoming more and more feminized. Most teachers of young children are women, most Sunday school teachers are women… tv shows and sitcoms feature husbands and men in general as idiots… women are becoming the primary heroes in crime dramas on tv. Our boys are told to sit down and be still and control their bodies. They are squelched early on and that makes me sad.
Although I am not completely sure what I am praying for when I pray for my son and his boy-ishness… I will continue to do so… because this is who God made him to be and God makes no mistakes.
Here are a couple of great books geared for raising boys:
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