5 Tips for Raising Up a Courageous Young Man

5 Tips for Raising Up a Courageous Young Man

It seemed to be all settled with just one phonecall.

He called to tell us that he probably wasn’t going to make it home this summer. Instead he’d be heading to Paris and attending a language-immersion school.

Oh, okay.

Our son was in his second year at a college back east and there’s no denying that we’d miss him. A lot.

But if this was what he was set on doing? What he believed God would have him do?

Then our blessing went with him.

Although I couldn’t help but ask just a few questions before he took off . . . .  

Do you know anyone?

Nope.

Can you speak the language?

Nope.

Have you ever been there before?

Nope.

(Well, at least no one could ever accuse him of being overly verbose. )

“I want to be a light for Christ on a dark hill.” That’s what he said over the phone.

I didn’t know if I should say anything, but it seemed a fairly brave thing to do. To venture into a part of the world that he knew nothing about.  To a place where he didn’t even know the language.

It took some courage.

And as this young man still has three younger brothers left at home, it made me stop and think on what kinds of things a mom can do to help raise up a brave young man.

Because this world could use a few courageous Christian men.

5 Tips for Raising Up A Courageous Young Man


5 Tips for Raising Up a Courageous SonAlways consider him as a young man in the making.

Even when he is still quite small, consider your influence in forming his manhood. I had a friend who commended her 3-year-old who patiently waited while she and I finished up a conversation. She quietly affirmed him, “You’re patient and I like that in a man.” How powerful for a little boy to hear those words from the woman in his life! She was already addressing him as a man in the making.

Teach him to reach for the heights, but have a heart for the lowly.

We want our boys to conquer mountains, to reach for the stars and so he needs to hear our enthusiastic shouts of “I know you can do it!”. Yet he also needs to listen to our quiet reminders, “Look out for her; she can’t walk like you or me.” or “He’s smaller than you. Be sure and help him out.” A good man is mindful of those who need special care.

Don’t pick him up if he falls. Stand by him until he gets back up.

It’s difficult to resist our mothering impulses to rush out when our boy falters, to help him up and comfort him. But to put it bluntly, this does not make for men. As he grows older, the greater gift is to help him find his own strength in Christ, rather than depend on mama’s.

Direct him toward daddy as his hero.

Mama will always have a special place in his heart, but his eyes should be directed toward Daddy (or another older, godly man if dad is not part of the picture). Throughout the day, I might say to one of the boys, “Now, Son, what would your dad think about that?” Or “Your dad is a good one to talk over such things.” Even if I could answer the question, if I wanted to.

Leave no doubt you’re his biggest fan.

Boys generally try to act tough. He doesn’t always show that he’s scared or unsure on the inside. So never leave the slightest doubt you are cheering wholeheartedly from the sidelines as he ventures out into this world. He needs to hear more “Go, Son, go!” than he might let on. (And here: 12 Lessons I Want Our Son to Learn Before He Turns 12)

The Lord bless you, dear mom, to have both the grit and grace to raise up your son into a courageous young man!

We could sure use a few such men in this world.

Lisa Jacobson,  Club31Women

The Mommy Guilt Cure

hugging mother and daughter

It was one of those really bad parenting weeks for me.

You know the ones I’m talking about. When our patience runs thin, our tone of voice loses it’s softness, and we react with emotion rather than with grace and intention, and it’s literally all we can do to just get through the day and make it to bedtime.

And yet, just when we finally get that moment of peace, silence and solitude, it’s loudly interrupted by the overwhelming emotions of mommy guilt and shame. And every memory of every mistake we’ve made throughout the day haunts our hearts and minds, and we’re certain we’ve ruined our children forever.

{I keep using the term “we”…I think because it makes me feel better to assume I’m not alone in weeks like this….ha!}

In the midst of this particularly tough parenting week, I found myself writing out my heart in the pages of my journal, which often times ends up being a lengthy heartfelt prayer to the Lord. And there I was, confessing my sins and selfishness before Him, asking for mercy and compassion, and hoping with all hope that despite my shameful behavior that week, He would still see my honest hearts desire was to be something completely different. And that, in his grace and mercy, perhaps he could keep my children from hating me and being screwed up all due to my numerous parental mistakes over the years. And…amen.

Just a couple nights later, as we were going over our foster care questionnaires with the kids, Taylor, my 9 year old son, out of the blue asked if we could maybe foster or adopt someone with a different color skin.

“Because, ya know, I just want them to understand that it doesn’t really matter what color we are on the outside, it’s really just about our hearts and how we are on the inside.”

Then he added… “But let’s just see if we can only get someone who has been teased a lot about it, so we can show them that not everybody is like that, ya know?”

And when I asked him if he wanted a boy or a girl, he responded, “It doesn’t really matter, it’s really just whatever God wants for us.” Then when I asked him what foster care would mean to our family, he very matter of factly stated, “It means we will have to work really hard to teach them about the Lord.”

As you can imagine, I was just about near a puddle of tears right there on the floor beside him.

You see, this child saying these wise things, tends to be what many would consider my Strong Willed one, or better put, the Child With Strong Leadership Skills. He’s the one that I’m pretty sure grows my gray hairs and deepens my premature fine lines and wrinkles. And yet, just when I think I have no idea what I’m doing or wonder how I can possibly mold and shape the children God has given me, this child busts out with a whole bunch of stuff Jesus would say and do.

And I am so completely humbled.

My goodness, doesn’t it seem as though the ones we love the most humble us the most?

I mean, how on earth with all the parental messing up I have done, could my children have ended up with hearts like that?

And it was in this treasured moment, that I knew the Lord was showing me just how much He truly does work in spite of us. And those moments where we mess up and we don’t seem to be measuring up to the parental standards we may have set for ourselves, God steps in and with all his love and mercy and grace, He fills in the cracks. He takes the brokenness and makes it whole again. And His ways, His works, His miracles are so much more powerful and life changing than our attempts at perfect parenting will ever be.

And so, we have to keep that truth close to our hearts always, especially because I get just how hard we can be on ourselves when it comes to the area of raising these sweet (most of the time) little souls.

And that truth is: Our God is sovereign, and his grace and mercy never fail.

“We try, We fail.
We trust, He succeeds.”
-Corrie Ten Boom

Blessings,

 Summer Saldana
SummerSaldana.com

Not Something you do, but Someone you Raise

someone you raise

Remembering back to my early years of being a mom, it’s still incredibly vivid just how lonely and overwhelming my days (and nights… can I get an amen?) tended to be. I had an overabundance of hormones and emotions, and not nearly enough sleep to balance them all…unfortunately for both myself…and my husband.

And so often in the midst of those dark monotonous days, I found myself wondering if just maybe God had made a major mistake in allowing me to be a mother after all. I had all these expectations and hopes imagining what motherhood and marriage would look like, and what I was experiencing most certainly didn’t seem to match up to any of them. And so, it was in that place of comparison, loneliness, self-pity and sleep deprivation that I found myself desperately needing to find a purpose and a connection beyond my husband and children.

And so began the birth of my blogging and YouTube career.

Now, I don’t for a moment regret the decision to start my blog or YouTube channel, for it was in choosing to share the “Me Too” moments of my life (and most especially the ones shared back with me) that helped in healing from the postpartum angst, anxiety, and struggles I found myself struggling to get out of.

Yet, as it would happen, it was in the midst of seeking to find my purpose on those pages and platforms that God was truly able to open my eyes and heart to the platform I was already being gifted to grow.

The one he’d blessed me with at home.

It wasn’t a realization that came easy though, and in those years (and still to the second I write this post and beyond) I have had to face some tough truths about my selfishness and desires. But having that giant mirror held up to my heart truly ended up being the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Because as I slowly began to look up from the mirror and take notice of what I had always deemed so important, I realized none of it any longer held the same appeal.

And while the seed had long been planted, it’s really only been in these last few years, and especially in these last two of our homeschooling journey, that I have come to truly appreciate that before all else, it is the family God has blessed me with, that is my greatest purpose of all.

I assure you this perspective definitely becomes clearer once you and your babies are consistently sleeping through the night! I also assure you there are days even with a lot of sleep and older children, that this perspective is a bit harder to call to mind and believe. Thankfully God’s truth doesn’t change based on our emotions or circumstances!

And while I still long to have purpose and connection outside the home, it’s no longer to fill an empty void. Because now I realize that anything I’m blessed with beyond my family, is simply just an overflow of abundance. A blessing to be sure, but never one that comes before the two little souls that stand before me each and every day.

I  know the years of being a mother can at times be overwhelming, lonely, thankless and tiring. And I know that in those years, we long to be used for a purpose, to live with intention, and to make a difference somewhere…somehow…

But the truth, the reassuring comforting truth is…

God has given us a purpose.

He has asked us to live with intention.

And in staying faithful to what he’s called us to, we will absolutely be making a difference in little lives each and every second of the day.

For there is truly no greater platform that you will ever build or be responsible for, than the one he has blessed you with right there in your home.

Blessings,

Summer Saldana

Kids and Technology (Finding the Balance)

Kids and Technology

Can I play Minecraft on the ipad?

Lydia wants to know if she can do Starfall on your computer?
Can we play Wii for 15 min.?
Can I text Anna back because she asked a question?
After dinner can we watch a show tonight?
David asked if I can follow him on Instagram?

My nightmare.
Well, one of them anyway.

There are times when I’d love to just get rid of it all.
There’s a reason I returned the iphone my husband bought me a couple of years ago.
I have a definite love-hate-relationship with technology and all things screen-ish.
And yes, I get the irony of sharing this in a post as I type away staring at a screen.
My tendency would be to bury my head in the sand and just wish it’d all go away.

But—there has to be a balance—right?
And that’s part of our job—
To help our children find the balance and to help them learn how to keep it,
To help them learn to use technology and all things media for the glory of God.

First We Must Look at Avoiding the Dangers and Negative Impacts of Technology:

1) Overuse:
There’s a definite tendency for overuse. And that’s a real possibility for all of us. Screen attachment can become a borderline addiction (or real for some) and we must set limits when it comes to using technology and screen time.  The balance will be different for every family and should be age appropriate.

Exceptions are made as needed, but in general, as a family, we have some guidelines that have eliminated the need for constant decision making about usage.  When it comes to television, we watch a weekly show together on Thursday nights and then after evening chores are complete, our crew is allowed to watch something for half an hour while we are waiting for dad to get home (for us that is 6 to 6:30). Unless it’s a special occasion– online games or Wii games are reserved for the weekends and this has eliminated the requests for permission that were driving me bonkers.  For now, we also have decided that devices will not travel with the kids to most social functions (church, Bible study, friends’ houses etc.).

I’m not at all suggesting this is what every family should do, but the point is to have an actual usage plan.

2) Safety:
Dangers lurk on every corner when it comes to technology and this is an important discussion to have with our children.  As parents we need to explain why it’s important to never share personal information or open emails/photos from strangers and why downloads need to have approval.

There is wisdom in keeping computers and devices centrally located and for putting safeguards in place to protect our children.  Pornography is just one unintentional click away.  We must make safety a priority.
This recent article has excellent suggestions specific to creating a porn-free family plan.

In our home, our kids’ profiles must be kept private and they are not allowed to accept friend requests from people they don’t know.  And until they are a bit older and wiser, we’ve asked them not to search and click on unknown sites without our permission.  A central family docking station, ensures that all devices are accounted for.  Open communication is huge when it comes to safety…our children need to feel comfortable coming to us if something negative happens online whether intentional or unintentional.

3) Costly Words:
Words have the ability to cause great damage and it’s so easy to quickly make a comment online without realizing the hurtful impact.  It is important to explain that a text, email, comment, or post is often irretrievable and that “when there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).  As a family, studying James is a great place to start when discussing how death and life are in the power of the tongue.

4) Missed Opportunities:
The choice to engage in screen time is also a choice to not do something else. Technology often replaces good conversation and face to face relationship building. It can isolate family members from one another and it can lead to a loss of other interests.  When we start noticing that our children are choosing screen time regularly over other activities, that’s usually when we implement a technology Sabbath.

5) Lack of Courtesy:
It’s also important to stress courtesy when it comes to all things screen.  And sometimes it’s as simple as the basics– when you are in the company of someone else, it’s unkind to be glued to your phone.  If there’s any opportunity for conversation, it’s rude to not make eye contact and engage.  These are words we must preach to ourselves as well.

docking station

Then We Must Encourage the Positive Aspects of Technology:

1) Building relationships and friendships:
Technology creates a wonderful opportunity for building connections and encouraging others.  If we can help our children view it in this light, technology can be a blessing in their lives and in the lives of others.  We want to help them consider:  Who can I encourage with my comments?  What friendships can I strengthen by online connections?  What family members or friends can I reach out to?

2) Developing Skills/Creativity:
Creativity is limitless when it comes to technology and it’s important to encourage our children to develop skills in this area.  Many excellent typing, programming, and coding programs are available.  Our boys enjoy stop motion and creating videos.  All of our children enjoy photography.  These are skills and interests that God can use in their lives and we want to encourage their curiosity and delight in these areas.

3) Sharing the Gospel:
Technology offers incredible opportunities for sharing about Jesus’ rescue mission to save us, bring us forgivingness and how He made a way for us to live in deep, real relationship with God.  We want our children to approach technology with a heart to “(make) the most of every opportunity” (Eph. 5:16).

4) Keeping us in the tension:
It might be easier to just do away with it all, but instead we have to listen for God’s whisper that we may be out-of-balance or over-balanced or missing– Balance.

It might be simpler if God just gave us Commandment #11– Do not use Facebook.
But instead, He gives us a relationship where we must come to Him regularly, willing to lay it all, all the techno-everything-options, at His disposalTechnology and all things “screen” create this opportunity for our children as well.

I am sure there are many other positives and negatives that I haven’t considered…
And I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions below in the comments.

For now though, I’ll just admit that I did eventually get a smartphone.
Smile.
And truthfully, I use it, enjoy it, and find it very helpful.
But it’s a constant battle to keep the balance.

And it’s in that place of tension that I want our children to stay…
Where they are constantly asking–

How can I use this _________ (insert your device of choice) to bring glory to God?

Our God is a God who redeems.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” ~Psalm 24:1

With Love,
Kara @ The Chuppies

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

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