For Mothers of Little Boys #2
David removed the king’s armor that had been placed on him. “I cannot go fight the giant in these,” he said. “I am not used to them.” Casting the coat of armor and the bronze helmet aside, David walked to the stream and drew out five smooth stones. “I’m ready now,” he said. And in a few moments this young man, possibly still just a teenager, would go face his giant, Goliath.
John Eldredge says there are three aspirations in the heart of every little boy, aspirations that must find some expression or the spirit of the boy will wither and die. The first aspiration was clearly still active in the life of the young warrior, David: A Battle to Fight.
A little boy only has to watch one cowboy movie to yearn for the wild west. Something in that genre speaks directly to his soul. If his parents won’t buy him a hat, holster and toy gun, he will fashion them himself. My brothers and I held cattle drives and shoot-outs in our living room as kids. When we out grew the cap guns we used dad’s tools to fashion our own out of scraps of lumber.
My son, Wyoming 1991. Age 5
Parents have to temper the fighting spirit of a boy, because he can express it inappropriately. While we don’t want our kids to fight, there are times that we have to let them stand up to bullies and for their own safety. Often times it doesn’t even require a fight, just the will to hold our ground, and the antagonist will back off. Grateful are the little sisters who have brothers stand the ground for them against male classmates with less than noble intentions. Suppressing the natural inclination of a well-trained boy to stand up for what is right and noble against those with bad intentions may ultimately hurt not only our boys, but our girls as well.
Secondly, Eldredge says all boys have An Adventure to Live. Boys don’t sit around dreaming about an office with matching furniture. Little boys dream of the big play, standing up to bullies, and being respected in the hallway and on the play ground. Bravado, guts and decisive action fill their thoughts even as little guys. It doesn’t change as they get older. Dreams of older boys and young men are of hunting big game and dropping a charging bear.
When the boy grows into a man, and he realizes he actually needs the office job, that doesn’t mean the inner adventurer has been put to rest. You can tell that by noting the movies a man likes to watch: The Bourne Conspiracy, Quigley Down Under, and Braveheart. Which characters do you think he identifies with? Even though maturity and responsibility have him carrying a briefcase and laptop, there is still something in most men that finds an “oh yeah” in action flicks.
Finally, every man needs A Beauty to Rescue. Eldredge writes, “It’s not just that a man needs a battle to fight, he needs someone to fight for.” He suggests Nehemiah may have been appealing to this instinct when he exhorted the men rebuilding the walls, “Remember the Lord ... and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Neh. 4:14). There are times when a man must truly stand the ground and defend his family, as in times of war or community violence. But, most of the time, fighting for your family means earning a living, warding off the innumerable intrusions that invade your space and schedule, and defending the time you have set for your wife and kids.
When I read this section in Eldredge’s book about men one word kept coming through to me: Respect. A man wants respect, even needs it. It is what fuels his sense of inner worth. And while respect may come from many sources, the source that means the most to him over time is when it comes from his wife. Maybe that is why Paul wrote Ephesians 5:33 - “... the wife must respect her husband.” A man can withstand a lot of disrespect and abuse in the workplace and world if he is looked up to and admired by that beauty he fought for many years before, his wife.
Check out For Mother's of Little Boys #1.