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Raising BRAVE Boys

My home is a battlefield.  If the boys are home, you will hear sounds of battle as Lego robots and mini-figs fight it out in their ships and cars.  My youngest son has mastered the sounds of rapid gunfire and other explosions.  Just the other day, a playmate was over and as they had a battle in the hallway outside their rooms, all I could hear were the sounds of imaginary war along with strategy being planned out.  This is typical, right?

One of many battle scenes set up for shooting a lego movie.

I believe there are many factors that make up a healthy individual.  For boys, I believe good male role models affect their lives in ways we can’t even comprehend.  Dads, grandfathers, coaches, Sunday school teachers, teachers.  Whoever.  A couple of good men in their lives can make a huge difference.

King of the Castle is a staple in the winter at our house.

I believe that kids but especially boys, need to learn that they have a purpose here in this world and it’s about living out God’s purpose for them and serving others.  It’s not about them.  This sounds harsh in today’s world.  It’s extremely hard to live this out.  It’s worth it though.  I believe there is more freedom in living out God’s will than in following a self-centred worldview.  Which leads us back to the imaginary fights of boyhood.

It’s important for boys to learn to be brave, to be warriors.  I hear the buts already.  Yes, girls are brave too.  Don’t get me wrong.  However, I’m raising boys, so today that’s who we are discussing.  For boys, courage, bravery, it’s part of them.  Like breathing.  They need to learn to develop it so they can live out their purpose and then encourage others to follow suit.

If you look at all the wonderful male heroes both in the literary and real world you will see men who are brave.  In being brave, men stand for truth, for justice and for good.  They learn to be protectors of faith, family, and good.  If you don’t let a boy learn to be brave, to stand up for what he believes in, you are doing him and society a huge injustice.  We need a few good men in this world.  This world where they are being emasculated.  Where children’s TV makes dads look like the biggest dolts in the world.  Where evil and cruelty seem to be able to walk through cities and countries, carrying away whomever and whatever they want.  No one stops them.  We need a few brave men.

Light sabre fights and foam swords. Worth every penny. Hours spent in play.

Even though I said this wasn’t about girls, I want to add that to raise brave boys, it takes brave parents.  Because you will be going up against the status quo.  People don’t like that.  They will question your parenting.  They will question your ethics. They will question whether you are sane.  Especially for the mom.  As a teen we’re warned about peer pressure.  They forgot to add that the peer pressure from a group of moms on a mission, is ten times more pressure than a group of teens!  Because we don’t want the label of Bad Parent.  Moms, we have to stand firm.  There will be times we just don’t get it because we don’t have that male mind.  That’s okay.  Stand firm sister!

As a very little boy, our oldest was a climber.  I let him climb on the monkey bars at the park.  I did not hover.  I stood close but I let him climb on his own.  I knew he could do this.  He had incredible balance.  As I let him go, I’d hear other parents gasp.  Interpretation: How can she let him do that?  She’s a bad parent.  She’ll be sorry when he falls.  I was tempted to smother and hover because that meant I was a good parent right?  It’s a lie.

Much older here but still loves to climb!
Much older here but still loves to climb!

As my husband and I struggle through this thing called parenting, we try to give the boys freedom within boundaries.  We have not always done this well.  We have failed as many times as we’ve succeeded.  It’s been very hard at times to let them out of the nest to fly on their own.  Sometimes I’ve closed my eyes, literally, or looked in another direction.  I couldn’t stand to watch.

It’s taken on a different look, this bravery thing, as they’ve gotten older.  No longer about monkey bars, although with boys there is always the dare devil tricks that their minds can dream up, but it’s more about letting them go and make mistakes so they can learn from them.  Because bravery isn’t just about fighting.  It’s about the courage to forge friendships and trust. Being brave means learning how to navigate in this world but not be of it.  It’s about learning to do your best even when you want to quit.  It’s about learning what is important and what can be let go.  Running from temptation.  Being brave is about living.  Not just getting by.

I want more than the world offers for my boys.  I want them to care about what happens not just here at home but around the globe.  I want them to be able to love with abandon and fight with zealousness.  I want them to be honest, kind and just.  I want them to be fulfilled in following the call on their lives.  I want them to be brave.

At the ROM in Toronto, ON.  They loved putting on the armour.
At the ROM in Toronto, ON. They loved putting on the armour.

Is this just a parent’s fanciful dream?  Perhaps.  But my husband and I are willing to fight for them.  To wage war for them until they can take up the battle themselves.  It’s like everything else in parenting.  Kids learn by watching, especially boys.  Brave men are raised by brave parents.