In the midst of keeping you alive each day, it’s easy for me to forget that one day you will be men. Right now my days are filled with teaching you your letters and numbers, emphasizing basic hygiene and the importance of wearing clothes, and keeping you from playing with sharp and pointed objects to which you all gravitate. There are days when I have to laugh or I most certainly would cry at your destructive, albeit completely boyish antics: climbing on anything above ground, taking things apart, dumping things out, bringing dirt wherever you can, and being LOUD. Loud seems to be the only volume you know.
Yet I see clearly that being a mom of sons is a high calling and even greater blessing. I see your need to test boundaries and climb to great heights. This is how you learn your strength and grow stronger; this is how you gain the courage to lead and the confidence to go where no man has gone before. You have an innate desire to fight and protect and do what is difficult. You want to know how things work and why they work that way. Home is the training ground for becoming the men God designed you to be. I pray for the wisdom to let you test those limits and make those discoveries without being lawless and savage in the process. I pray for the patience to accept the accidents and messes and broken things that just come with the territory.
My sons, I am all too aware of the dangers awaiting you in the great, wide world you are so eager to conquer. But of all the dangers out there, I most want to prepare you for those who will seek to mock your integrity, deride your godliness and despise your manhood. Our world has become hostile to true men: those who seek to fulfill their God-ordained roles as provider, protector and leader. They will undermine your leadership, defile your reputation and urge you to compromise your moral convictions. They are threatened by who you are and what you represent; that is, your stature points to God and is a reminder that He is the ultimate authority.
How does a mother prepare her sons for such a toxic world? Some would say I should raise you to be docile, ready to say and do whatever society demands. Others would say I should tame you and make you shoulder-shruggers in the face of moral compromise. Some would recommend I frown on your fighting spirit and others would advise me to temper your explorations. All of these recommendations are designed to make you fit in rather than stand out; to condition you to be followers instead of leaders. But that is not what God is calling me to do.
His Word admonishes me to raise you to be bold, to be brave, to speak, to stand up, to bow the knee to no one but God, to pursue justice, to love mercy, to desire clean hands and a pure heart. A man who holds these standards will not be loved by the world, may in fact be hated and harassed, but he will be in favor with God. You, my sons, are not seeking to love the world, but to reach the world with Christ’s love. It will take strength to be the men God has designed you to be.
Tonight I heard one of you singing bedtime songs to your baby brother. And yesterday I saw one of you bowing your head, squeezing your eyes as tightly closed as they could go and your busy little hands were folded and still. You are always presenting me with flowers, impressing me with your muscles, and quick to show concern when you can tell I’m not feeling well. In these moments I see the perfect blending of tenderness and strength, energy and restraint, compassion and determination.
Sons, this world does not deserve you but God has placed you here for such a time as this. My mother’s heart will ache when you are beaten down; my mother bear will roar when you encounter injustice; but my faith in God will not waver nor my prayers diminish as you rise up and keep going.
I respect each one of you as you already endeavor to be the best men your little boy hearts can be,