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.
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?
Can you speak the language?
Have you ever been there before?
(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
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