The past six weeks have FLOWN by, haven’t they? The spring tends to be this way so I’m not sure why I’m surprised every year when it feels like someone hits the fast forward button and scrambles me around a bit.
We’ve prayed for goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, anger, forgiveness, and salvation for our boys over the past seven days.
As is always our plan, we will discuss each briefly then you will be asked to share your thoughts on the questions found at the end of this post.
There are many opportunities to show our boys the goodness of humanity. Sure, there’s some ugly stuff out there as well but there is also ample opportunity to highlight good being done by others for others. Brooke uses the example of her boys questioning the existence of Santa Claus as a gateway to talk to her boys about goodness. In St. Nicholas: The Story of Joyful Giving (Veggie Tales movie), Nicholas’ father explains the reason they are so generous (in essence, so good): because God has been so good to them. Brooke then states, “It’s the goodness of God that compels us to be good.” When we truly understand and value God’s ultimate gift, the gift of our reconciliation with Him through Jesus, we are compelled to do good for others.
Is there anything more attractive than a faithful man? I think not. (Your own faithful man, of course!) Brooke suggests we teach our boys about faithfulness by encouraging them to serve others through utilizing the gifts God has given them. As followers of Jesus, we have been entrusted to be His hands and feet – in others words, show who Jesus is rather than just tell. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights . . .” God desires for us to be faithful with those gifts by using them! If your son is musical, perhaps he can serve others through his music. If your son likes to write, perhaps he could write allegorical stories for his unbelieving friends. If he is a brainiac, maybe he could help someone who is struggling in his class. Teaching our boys to be faithful encourages them to grow in confidence by understanding what they do well and how to use it.
Yes, boys are naturally aggressive. Yes, they can be overbearing. And yes, they can injure one another when they’re on the ground wrestling or in the midst of a serious Nerf gun battle. Honestly, a little bit of aggression isn’t a bad thing – we just need to teach them to channel it correctly and when to be gentle. I like Brooke’s idea of praying as a family before church that God will open their hearts to be ready for worship, that they will be able to see opportunities to serve others, and that they will know when to play and when to listen. Our boys also need to know other times to be gentle: they were made to protect and care for women and older brothers are expected to protect younger brothers because God wants them to use their strength to protect and not hurt. There are a few other good reasons to encourage our boys to be gentle found on page 141.
Whoa . . . self-control is hard for us as well, isn’t it? If we allowed our boys to indulge in whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, they would end up like male versions of Veruca Salt of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame now wouldn’t they? (This is what I tell my boys. No Verucas, please!) It’s in our human nature to act on what we want and when we want it. We don’t wait well and our human comforts are a priority. Yet we all need to use a basic level of self-control each day – self control not to scream and yell at the person who cuts us off in traffic. Self-control not to eat until we get sick. Self-control to hold-it when we have to use the restroom and we aren’t near a toilet. Self-control is a necessity for all of us!
The heart is fickle and tells us so much is OK when it really isn’t. It’s OK to explode in anger. It’s OK to let our exhaustion get the best of us and scream and yell. It’s OK to react however we want whenever we want. But that’s not really true, is it? As Brooke states on page 151, “. . . if I’m feeling out of control, I’ve probably embraced the lie that what I want is more important than glorifying God in every situation of life.” Conviction. Anger is often an indicator we are fearful of something and we feel the need to protect ourselves. Yet as believers, we can choose to remember what God tells us to be true instead of what our angry hearts tell us to be true.
We’ve been forgiven of so much and as believers, we are commanded several times in the Bible to forgive others as we have been forgiven. In our house, forgiveness isn’t a choice, it’s mandatory – even if you don’t feel like it. Sometimes action must precede emotion. Brooke also explained the difference between saying “I’m sorry” versus “Will you please forgive me?” For example, the former is used when one brother has done something accidental to the other. The latter is used when one brother has intentionally sinned on purpose against another brother. Regardless, there will be many times throughout our sons’ lives in which they will be the one forgiving and many times in which they will be the one seeking forgiveness. It’s important to guide them towards humility through the act of forgiveness.
I’m not sure there’s a better way to say it . . . “There’s nothing more important to me than the salvation of my children. I’m sure you feel the same way. Let’s pray for God to soften their hearts to His Truth and empower us to live the Truth in front of them every day” (page 162)
So let’s discuss in the comments below:
What have you learned during this journey of praying for your boys?
Also, we will gather one more time on Thursday evening at 9 p.m. EST for our Facebook chat. Be sure to be there! We will begin our next book study towards the end of May – stay tuned for more information!