Sharing Traditions with our Boys

IMG_4633 roseThe Farmer and I had our first Valentine’s Day just five months before we were married.  The Farmer gave me a glass vase and a single silk, red rose.  He told me that he would continue to do this each year and fill that vase.  Each Valentine’s Day, I receive a card and a single, red rose from my Farmer.  I have one for each year of our marriage, plus that first Valentine’s Day.

It is a tradition.

The boys get to see the vase filling and their Daddy bringing me the roses each year to do it.  They are a part of that tradition because they observe how a man loves his wife, how he gives to her, how he creates a way that all will remember years past.

Traditions: traditions bind us together, make us feel connected and loved. They give us stories to pass along to others and to share with our own children.   I wanted to have traditions that we pass along to our boys, as well.  We started with watches.

When our boys can tell time, on a real clock with hands and not a digital, I give them a watch.  It is a nice watch and it tells the time with numbers and hands.  It is a symbol of their learning and their responsibility to take care of their new gift.  Two of our four boys now have their watches and the third works on telling time on a regular basis, so that he can get his watch as well.

Next come the wallets.  Our boys receive wallets when they begin working and making money.  The three oldest boys received wallets this past Christmas as they had all begun to work and had money.  The Farmer decided we would start Dave Ramsey’s Money Jr.  This is a program where children have chores for which they earn payment.  Our payment is .25 per chore.  They have other chores they do for simply living in our home, but for the named chores, they will be paid.  This system then has the child split the money into SAVE, GIVE, and finally SPEND envelopes.  The boys work for items that they “saving” for with that envelope.  They give the GIVE envelope’s contents to church or a need that they see. They can spend the money in the SPEND envelope or use it toward their item for which they are saving.  This is a simple, though complex, system which teaches the boys to how to manage money.  Since they are making, spending, and saving money, they earned their wallets.

The boys receive Bibles, good and sturdy King James Versions, when they are ready to take God’s Word into their minds on a regular basis.  This year we are doing more study time, so the boys also received new Bibles with their names inscribed on the covers.  God’s Word has to be in their hands before it can be put into their hearts regularly.

Finally, we will give the boys knives.  A pocket knife is very useful for many things and will be given to each son when he shows himself responsible and useful to others outside our home.  This could be when he gives time, shares his talents, or does some other good, without parental “prompting” in the future.  None of our boys have knives of their own yet.

Each item is given with a little bit of pomp and praise to show the boys that they are growing up.  They are changing and becoming men.  They are being trusted with possessions, some of them more costly than others.  They are learning to care for what they have.  We are creating traditions and markers of their development.  When they look back in future years, we hope they see that they have matured, changed, developed, and grown into fine and responsible men.

These traditions will be markers of those moments of growth.

What traditions are you creating with your boys? Do you have coming of age moments?  Do you have coming into responsibility markers?

Enjoy your boys!

Wisdom from the throne

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Recently, we had a bout of flu. I should not complain as this is not a regular occurrence.  The 6 year old Cowboy cannot remember vomiting in the past so that is pretty good.  The Engineer and Farmer, Jr. only remember it vaguely.

The Dancer got it first, the next night it was the Engineer, the following night early it was Farmer, Jr. and later Cowboy.  What a long couple of days for the Mom of four boys…I learned that my boys, maybe all boys, are not good at being sick.  They do not want to stay still and do not suffer well.  Hum.

But, it was on this third night that the wisdom of an old man came out in groans and questions.  This flu came with stomach cramps and then vomiting, as well as other cleaning out that won’t be detailed here. So as my poor Farmer, Jr. sat on the throne holding his belly and groaning in pain, he pondered aloud.  His questions went on and on as he tried to hold his belly and head at the same time.

Farmer, Jr: How long will this last?  Why do I feel this way?  Why do we even get sick?

Mom: We get sick because of sin entering the world with Adam a long time ago.

Farmer, Jr: But, why mom? Why did Adam have to sin?  Why did he sin?

Mom: He sinned just like we all sin.  He made a decision.

What a question…from an 8 year old, sick boy.  Why do we sin?  Why do we choose to do wrong all. the. time?  Why indeed?  We sin, very basically, because we are sinners.  Adam was not a sinner but he chose to follow his wife, Eve, who had been tricked into sinning. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” says 1 Timothy 2:14.  Adam was not tricked.  He saw that she had sinned, and he CHOSE to sin.  He picked it, literally, and ate the fruit.  He made a deliberate decision.

So, we make deliberate decisions daily to sin, also.  We hit a brother or take a toy. We throw a book,  a punch, or an angry word at one another.  Boys sin here.  So do their parents.  We are sinners.  Romans 3:23 says that “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Honestly, that is not an easy thing to write.  I hate sinning.  I know through scripture that my sinning put the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   So, the wages or payment for sin is death, eternal separation from God.  He is perfect and truthful and cannot be around sin.  We then are cast away because of our deliberate sins.  BUT, keep reading the verse.  There is a gift.  “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Notice that it does not say the gift of God is eternal life through all Leesa does. Or all Leesa prays or how Leesa lives.  It is through the Lord Jesus Christ.  He alone was perfect after living on Earth and being tempted.  He alone can save us from this eternal separation.

Christ’s blood that was shed took care of my sins.  Colossians 1:14 tells me, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”  Christ’s sinless blood was shed to cover my sins–MINE. My daily, weekly, yearly, even lifelong sins.  All of them, covered.  They are taken care of and God the Father can no longer see them.  Yikes!  That is BIG news.  You know what?  Yours too.  Your sins are covered, just like mine and my boys and your boys. We are free from sin because the Lord Jesus Christ died for those sins.

So, what do I have to do to get it, really?  Believe that He did it.  We trust that the Lord took care of it. That’s it?  Yep.

Believe it.  “For by grace are you saved [from eternal death and separation-my note] through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God:  Not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.  It is His grace and our belief.  It is a gift and not a ticket to be paid.  It is not of my works–any works–or then I could boast and brag about myself.  Only trust in His blood that took care of your sins.  Free to you.

So, while all the boys are free from that yucky flu, they are more importantly free from eternal death, if they believe.  Wow.

I want to continually be checking to see if they know, understand, and believe this Truth.  Of all that we teach them, this is the most important.  When a tiny soul is formed, it is a forever soul.  While our bodies get sick and one day die, our souls are eternal.  That is real.

Farmer, Jr. is wise to ask the questions about the Truths of life.

As parents of boys, may we be wise to have the real and truthful answers, the Truth of God’s Word, to give them.

Enjoy your boys!