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a case for letting boys be strong

I climbed the backside of the rock with ease as waves lapped and splashed my feet from behind. The boat tossed gently, a place of refuge, and our vehicle of fun in the summer of 1999. Confident of my ability to jump into the water from the other side of the massive cliffs, I swaggered my way to the edge, looked down, and was overcome with fear.

One by one, each of my friends and family members jumped into the deep waters of Holston Lake. One guy I didn't even know made me a deal: if he could backflip off of the cliffs, I could jump straight in.

He backflipped. I didn't move.

When Fear Wins

That day at Holston Lake happened over 13 years ago, and I could still kick myself for letting it beat me. I don't like having "I couldn't master that" on my bucket list. But as I looked down at the water that day, my fears took over. They told me the water was more shallow than it looked, or that I might jump too close and hit the jagged rocks.

Fear won the battle for my heart, and I missed out on the amazing feeling of strength and accomplishment that comes with overcoming.

And it may seem like a small thing to feel frustrated about 13 years later, but it taught me something valuable.

I want my sons to march head-first into their life callings without being afraid of what might happen if they fall.

Overcoming Fear

I watched from the boat as my two little boys stood on a similar rock at Claytor Lake on the Fourth of July.

As a passel of cousins swam below chanting support, my heart flipped and flopped wondering if I should make them get down.

That old familiar fear crept in and told me they were too little to jump from so high. They weren't strong enough swimmers, the water (at 30 feet deep) was too shallow, and they could get hurt.

But something happened this time that changed my perspective.

My seven-year-old nephew walked to the edge of the rock, looked down, looked at his mama, and jumped.

As he fell into the water, arms stretched wide and eyes full of the excitement of the moment, he yelled...


And then I knew...

My boys, at seven and five, are growing longer and stronger each day. And I'm finally beginning to see how God can turn "those" boys who leave me worn out, into "those" boys who will one day change the world.

Instead of letting my fears hold them back, I have to let them have the freedom to overcome theirs. 

Cultivating a posture of strength in a man is important.

Why? Here are five simple reasons:


1. When they're tempted to do what's wrong, they can remember what it felt like to overcome, and draw from that reservoir of strength to choose what's right.

2. The world needs more men who aren't afraid to take a stand, no matter the cost.

3. Their future wives will appreciate a man who isn't afraid to make bold, fearless decisions for the benefit of his family.

4. Their future children will reap the benefits of a father who worships the Lord without fear of what others might think.

5. The Kingdom of God will be furthered as men follow hard after their God-given dreams.

Strength in a man, the right kind, is of the utmost importance.

Fist-Pumping Fun

My son's little blonde head burst through the water spraying everyone around him with drops of freedom from fear. Scrawny seven-year-old arms fist-pumped the sky high above his head as he yelled, "Yeah! I did it!"

He thinks it was all fun and games, but I know something different. Mama just gave him the opportunity to build his strength. And now, when he encounters the tough, wild, and fearsome the world has to offer, he'll have a full tank of "overcomer" waiting to flow out of his little manly heart.

He'll know he can conquer what the world throws his way...because he already has.

Who knows...maybe I'll jump with him next time.

Question: Moms, what are some things you can allow your sons (or daughters) to do that will help them overcome their fears?

Brooke, Surprised By Life & The MOB Society (for moms of boys)

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