At some point in time during the journey of being a parent, we all have that moment where we throw our hands up and wonder if we are going to be able to survive parenting young children. I was no exception.
I was blessed with two beautiful children, Sally and Adam. While I was pregnant with Adam, my husband decided to move us from my hometown in Tennessee to his hometown in Florida. We waited until Adam was at least 3 months old before making the move, then we packed up everything and took off for the coast and white beaches.
I was afraid of leaving home. My family was just a few miles from me at the time and I relied on them as my support system. In Florida and later Alabama, I would have no one. During those “terrible two” years that Adam seemed to stretch into about 6 years, I was constantly calling my mother and seeking her advice on how to handle this wild child. He was one of those that “pitched a fit” with hair pulling, throwing things, and all out assault on anyone or anything in his path. These “fits” lasted well into the year that Adam was in the first grade. I remember that year as having lots of tears, for all of us.
The phone calls to my mother were pretty regular, with the same question…”how do we survive this?” I knew she was the expert because she had raised two fine young men. I offered to make a deal with her, she could raise Adam and I would take him back once he was through that season of his childhood. (I was only half joking when I suggested that. We had just left Wal-Mart, where Adam had attempted to jump out of the buggy, was pulling everything off the shelves, hitting at me, screaming bloody murder…simply because he wanted to look at the toys before we got groceries. We left without anything that day and somewhere there is a surveillance video that could possibly win us $10,000 on some TV show.)
The other fear I had in raising a son was how to raise him as a godly man. Not to belittle my husband in any way, but to speak a truth that many women find themselves in….my husband left the spiritual training of our children to me. Over the years, he has taught Adam many things, how to shoot a gun, work on a vehicle, how to build things…you know, guy stuff. However he’s never spoken to him about spiritual matters. So as we traveled into the season of time when Adam was most formidable and acceptable of spiritual matters, I worried and prayed. My greatest fear was how to show honor to my husband, and yet teach my son to do things he didn’t see his dad doing.
Adam was just starting middle school when God answered my prayer and placed in my husband a desire to move us again….back to my hometown, back to my family. When I asked him why he wanted to move, his words were always the same. He wanted for our children what I had growing up, life on the farm, with family all around.
My mother reminded me about my comment years before regarding having her raise Adam. She never took me up on the offer, but she knew that now I could get the help I needed….but not from her….from my dad. I don’t know if it is a proven fact or not, but it has been my experience that mothers raise daughters and dads raise the sons. My son needed a godly dad to raise him and my dad stepped up to the plate.
Adam will graduate from high school in May. I was at a recent community event and several mothers came to me to speak praise over the man they saw my son becoming. They talked about something they saw different in him than in most kids his age. His dad had taught him lessons that will take him through life, I will not discredit those lessons. But as I have watched over the past few years, it is Adam’s grandfather that I see having the most godly influence on him. Those lessons added to what his dad has taught him are making him not only a good boy, but a godly man.
I know that there are other women in the same situation as I was in, either with a spiritually absent husband or raising their children on their own completely. If you have boys, I fully believe that they need a godly male influence in their lives. I’ve watched something happen in my son, a maturity that comes, not just from years of physical and mental growth. I’ve seen him talking over life with a man that has learned that no matter how much money you make or what your professional title is, success in life depends on spending time with the Lord, seeking His guidance in decisions, following His will for your life.
Adam doesn’t tell me what he and his Papa talk about when they are working on the tractors together or in the hay field together, or working the cows. But my dad tells me he never misses an opportunity to speak godly wisdom over him.
That’s what a boy needs in his life, a man willing to talk God with him.
I snapped these two pictures of my son and my dad. The first one was when Adam was 3. We were on a short nature walk in Colorado and Adam had just “thrown a fit” and refused to go another step. My dad encouraged Adam to walk with him. Daddy never let go of Adam’s hand and helped him over fallen trees, small creeks, and through the woods. The other photo was taken this spring on another nature walk in Gatlinburg. I see this scene played out over and over, and I am so thankful for how God answered some prayers of a worried mother and He sent a godly influence into my son’s life.
Listen, my sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding…..Listen my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years. I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4:1, 10-12 HCSB