Why is it that when you're growing up, the years seem to go by at a snail's pace, but when we're raising our own children, those same years seem to go by at lightening speed? Perspective has a lot to do with it, I suppose. But either way, it is an incredible phenomenon.
Boys present a unique challenge to a mother because she is keeping the home and her interests and abilities inevitably differ greatly from that of her masculine sons. So as a mom, I'm constantly trying to stay a step or two ahead of my boys and anticipate what their next needs will be and be ready for them as best I can.
I think it's also important for every homemaker to build up the father in the home. His authority and protection is ordained of God and the children's esteem and reverence for him is the groundwork on which they will find their identity as men themselves. And that is a major part of raising boys - to be men! But not just any men. We want to raise good, Godly men. I pray Psalm 144:12 over them often: "That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth." I praise God that he hears my prayers and is helping us train them up! Already, we are seeing the fruit of our labors.
Part of the work of bringing up my boys is finding them things to do that not only feed their interest but work to equip them as men-to-be. This has become a sort of "hobby" of mine. As a homeschooling mom, it is such a great privilege to nurture their God given interests and talents as they develop!
Obviously, each child will have different interests and goals but it's really important that they aren't allowed unlimited indulgence in their interests alone or they risk missing out on the many aspects that will make them a well-rounded and fully capable man someday.
For example, one of our sons is the artist/writer type but we also see to it that he practices lawn care, electronic knowledge, auto maintenance and repairs, household repairs, plumbing, building, carpentry and power tools, etc. We are preparing him to be able to handle the things that life will bring his way as a family man. If he were only encouraged to "follow his own interests" he'd develop into quite a one dimensional, selfish man. Instead, our son has a very balanced life where he pursues his interests about 65% of the time and practices other aspects of manly knowledge and duty the rest of the time.
It's the same with our other son only he is the opposite in temperament and talents. He loves hands on things - mechanics, building, using his hands, taking things apart and physical activities - but we make sure he practices art, writing, music, creative expression, reading, etc. Our younger son naturally looks up to his brother and copies his drawings and art all the time. For some reason, this behavior tends to annoy older siblings. But I nip that attitude in the bud when I see it and remind my older son (in private moments) that his brother's wanting to copy his art is a very admiring thing to do and he should be careful not crush his spirit. My younger son adores his older brother and I'm doing all I can to help them to nurture their friendship.
Recently, our older son (14) accompanied his dad on a 4 week trip to renovate a house that had been flooded. He learned so many skills that he will be able to take with him when he's grown.
Conversation is another important aspect to raising boys. I talk to them about how the skills they are developing will benefit them when they are grown men with their own families so they have can see an application to all they are doing -- there is a reason for it. The reason is to become real men. And real men appear to be a dwindling resource in our society these days!
As there mom, I know that the majority of teaching them falls on me, but I willingly and gladly step aside so my husband can teach them anything he knows about manly things - sports, motors, outdoor things, building, etc as well as any doctrinal teaching. (1 Timothy 4)
"More is caught than taught" and kids learn predominantly by example, so our own behaviour is a constant river flowing to our children. I aim to be a sweet river that will bring a blessing to my husband, our children and our home. More than anything, the fear of the Lord is without question, the number one thing I want them to learn. Without it they can have no wisdom or understanding.
Pr 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.