Originally published Wednesday, 26 December 2012.
I'm raising two rough and tumble, loud, aggressive, highly physical boys—and I affectionately refer to them as...
You know, the ones that often end up with letters behind their names? (ADHD, not PhD... just in case you were wondering).
Some days I look at other boy moms raising quiet boys, and wish...
- For days that aren't so loud.
- For hearts that acquiesce.
- For smaller, less dramatic reactions to their problems.
- For a little more "go-with-the-flow," and a little less "dig their heels in the ground."
- For builders instead of CRASH-ers.
- For tossers instead of throwers.
- For hand shakes instead of tackles.
- For pouting instead of hitting.
A case for "those" boys
The one criticism I hear of my boys over and over again is that "they're just so rough!" Sometimes it comes after they've gotten too excited wrestling with a friend. Other times it comes veiled as a statement in passing..."they're wild as bucks!" but I know what it means.
What they're really saying is, "You should control your children better." "You're doing something wrong." Or worse... "There's something wrong with your kids, and I don't want my kids around them."
It's taken me seven years to be able to firmly reject those words as lies.
Believe me friends, I know my boys. No one knows them better than me. And because they live their lives out loud, I know what's in their hearts. I know when they have an issue with sin because it rears its ugly head loud and clear through their over the top actions.
They wear their hearts on their sleeves.
And finally, I can say that I'm glad.
It's the same sin
My husband and I sat with our toes in the sand a few weeks ago during a much-needed time of togetherness, alone. And like most parents who finally get some time away from their kids, we talked about them the whole time.
We counted our blessings, renewed our vision, and thanked God for giving us "those" boys.
We decided that it's actually a blessing to have boys who share (and wear) their hearts and emotions so openly. Because while we may not always know how to handle our boys, we always know what's in their hearts. And that's most of the battle.
You see, when a boy is quiet—pouting instead of hitting, walking away instead of tackling, hiding his thoughts and feelings from his parents and those around him—it's easy to think his heart is all good, and overlook the way he might be sinning that no one can see.
But it's the same sin.
The reaction is different. It looks and feels different, but the heart issue is the same.
How do I know?
I looked like a good girl, a model Christian, someone you would've wanted your children to be around. But my heart was far from God.
The outside of the cup looked clean, but the inside was dirty.
I know firsthand what it's like to be someone whose sins are less visible...but it's often the silent ones that are most deadly—the ones no one can see that are left to fester and grow.
May I speak to our hearts for a minute moms? All moms?
Whether you have a quiet boy, or one of "those" boys, your boys still sin. And most likely, though their reactions may look different on the outside, the heart of a quiet boy and the heart of one of "those" boys are much more alike than they are different.
A quiet boy isn't better than my loud ones. My loud ones aren't better than your quiet ones. Not in the eyes of God.
So why do we want them to change?
Isn't it really more for our sake than theirs?
It hurts me when they don't get invited to birthday parties, or when I see the judgmental stares. Mom, dad, I see when you move your boys away from mine, and it stings. Because I've learned that "these" boys of mine? It's just who they are. And it takes all different kinds of men to change the world.
So today, I'm believing this:
God made my boys (and yours?) loud, stubborn, and ready to tackle life head-on because it best serves His purpose for their lives. And maybe they WILL have letters other than ADHD behind their names one day. Something like:
- Rescuer of the innocent
- Fighter for justice
- Hero for the helpless
- Tackler of the enemy
- Stubborn for righteousness
- Crasher of plans for evil
- Loud for the Lord
Question? Can you do me a favor today friends? I have this feeling that the majority of boy moms who find their way to the MOB Society blog do so because they have at least one of "those" boys, and just don't know what to do. Your boy might look a little different than mine, but if you're a mom of "those" boys, you get it. You know what I'm saying.
Would you proudly raise your hand to say, "That's me. I have one (or more) of "those" boys, and I love them more than life. I vow today to fight for them as hard as I can."
If that's you, just leave a comment. All you have to do is say, "me." Tell the world so other moms know they're not alone.
Please know that this article is in no way attempting to make excuses for poor, inappropriate, or sinful behavior. It IS attempting to begin a battle for "those" boys, and ask the world around them to see their value and worth.
Brooke McGlothlin is the author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, and Co-Founder of The MOB Society (FOR moms of boys, BY moms of boys).