about those boys

Not that this should come as a shock to you, but I think my boys are pretty great. They are, however, not perfect. They can initiate frustrations I never imagined. Sometimes I seriously want to get their ears checked, like by a specialist, because they seem to have a hard time actually hearing that I am speaking to them. They are messy and loud and unpredictable. They are expensive (and oblivious to this fact).

And just when I want to consider purchasing a Greyhound ticket for as far away as the last remaining $46.52 left in my checking account will allow, they actually pick up that backpack or offer some other glimpse of that sweet little boy I used to cuddle. This is all just proof that they are growing up. For the encouraging and the discouraging moments of it all, they’re still pretty great.

In case you don’t know me personally, let me give you a tiny glimpse into who I’m referring to here.

Simon is our oldest. He’s now a thirteen year old 8th grader. He’s an honor student, a boy scout and a golfer. He’s a NASCAR fan – devoted to the ‘ole #48. He’s a little clumsy and a whole lot of goofy. He loves outdoors sports like hiking and boating and fishing. He’s trying really hard to figure out what God wants to do with his life (possibly architectural design) while he’s balancing friends and school and obeying his parents and being a big brother. He’s got a lot of potential and high expectations on his shoulders.

Jonah is our middle. He’s our ten year old 5th grader. He’s just beginning his middle school years and his personality is the exact opposite of his brother. Although he’s solid in school (and could probably earn straight A’s), he’s a party in a person and needs reminded that school isn’t just his brother’s thing. Jonah lives life loud and at high speed with passion! He’s a football lineman and a basketball player. He’s all about wrestling and having a good time. He’s fiercely loyal and he’ll throw down to protect someone who’s weaker or struggling. He loves God and is trying really hard to channel his passions for good. He’s got a lot of potential and high expectations on his shoulders.

They both adore their baby sister – who is looking a lot more like a little girl now than a baby. You see, she came along when they were ten and seven. They prayed and waited for her. She’s their everyday reminder that girls are precious and wonderful. We remind them that even though their friends might refer to a girl as “hot” or a “babe”, that admittedly cute girl is a daughter and a sister and someone out there feels as protective of her as they do about Anna.

So, just a little favor to ask of you on a Monday on behalf of all of us parents of boys.

I get that there’s a natural desire to protect our daughters from those boys who will one day steal their hearts and change their last names. (We have one of those precious little ladies, too.) However, I can’t help but think he can do better by our boys than to reinforce the stereotype that they are all sex-starved predators in the making. We are praying diligently and working hard to instill the values that will help them become the godly men you’ll be blessed to have as your sons-in-law. Please support us in this.

Please don’t assume that we parents of boys are just letting their hormones rage while preparing our shotguns to protect our innocent baby girl. We are Christian parents who are teaching our boys to respect and honor your daughters and eventually love them as Christ loves his church. So when that day comes and our sons find themselves sweet on your daughters, instead of treating them like thieves of their innocence, please help us encourage them to seek God in their relationships.

Maybe it’s because we’re in the stage now that our boys are noticing that their classmates come in blue AND pink varieties now instead of just kids, but I’m noticing how negatively society treats our boys. Television and movies just reinforce stereotypes that ALL boys want to bag the girl. Music is just as bad, or worse. But let’s try and remember that as much as you love your little girl, we love our young men.

It hurts to hear blanket judgment passed on their intentions; it demeans their character. They hear all of the ‘cleaning my shotgun’ jokes and rules about dating your daughter. It’s frustrating to them (and their parents). How would you feel if your thirteen year old child asked you why parents just assume that he wants to hurt their daughter? We get it that it’s a joke and you’re not actually threatening our sons, but our boys are listening and they don’t get the joke.

Noticing girls and having crushes is normal. And when we notice or hear that our son is noticing your daughter, believe us that we will use that moment as an opportunity not just to mortify him (he’ll probably feel that way), but for us to talk to them about boundaries and values. Even though society tells them that it’s time to pair up and figure this boy/girl stuff out, some parents (like us) are making sure that the lessons are in place before the coupling can begin.

So, if you happen to notice or overhear that one of our boys has a crush on your daughter, try not to get too anxious. Consider it your opportunity to help us teach them how to get to know your daughter as a whole person, not just a cute person. Talk to us. We’re decent people. Talk to them. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised how harmless they are. Help us teach them to be friends with your daughters and to leave the rest for later.

It’s just a crush. Our boys can’t date your daughters until high school anyway.

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