Teach your Boys (or any child you love!)

Boys

Hi, I realized the other day that I am not typing in all the blogs I am writing in my head lately. I have reacted to the political hotbed, the gorilla, the attacks on US soil, the crocodiles and so many other topics. However, I have not been able to get responses completed and produced.

Okay, that is only partly true. Really, I also don’t know that I have the ability or the maturity to react to all that is going on around us with enough grace or wisdom to respond lovingly.

What I have been thinking about is teaching my boys. Yes, we home educate them and yes we are teaching them skills other than “school” skills like gardening, cooking, and taking care of animals. But, I have been thinking about teaching them what is even more important than that: the Lord. With things as they are and are moving toward, I am not sure how much longer I will be able to teach my children at home. I am not sure how much longer I will be able to openly train them in God’s ways.

So, I am feeling a real burden to teach them the things of God NOW. Not waiting. Right now. Yes, I am busy. Yes, I get stressed. Yes, I have a very long to-do list. But, isn’t one of Satan’s greatest tools a “too busy mom?” Think about it. She has to do so much work to keep her family moving in the right direction and then has outside pressures. She is busy, busy, busy. Sometimes she is just keeping up with the neighbor getting her son into another sport. Sometimes she is keeping up with a Facebook friend and adding a new item to her menu or exercise plan or reading list. Sometimes she is keeping up with Pinterest and adding new decorations to her home. Sometimes though it is just the laundry, dishes, and life of living with a family that keeps us so busy. None of these things are bad. They are just busy.

This past school year we started going through a study from Not Consumed  that is called Foundations of Faith. Find the link to the study here if you like. (I am not getting anything from your buying this item should you choose to do so.) It doesn’t give a lot of doctrine but it asks a lot of questions. It starts with ones like “Who is God?” and “Why am I here?” The author lists some verses you might want to check out and then there is space to add in lots of the verses you find yourself. She also brings up judging and discernment and how they are different.

She moves on later in the study to matters of “What we Believe,” and  purity, dress, media, alcohol, and money as well as other topics come up here. She doesn’t tell you what to teach your children. She just asks about what your family believes and gives you questions to think about and discuss with your children. This opens the door to talk to your children about your family’s beliefs from scripture. My favorite part is that it forces me to think about what my husband and I believe (Sometimes I even have to ask him!) and to see if those are Biblical beliefs or just a tradition that we grew up with in our homes.

Do you know what you believe about modesty, media, marriage, or money? Do your children know what you believe? Do you know why you believe those things? Do you know what scripture says about those topics and do your children? This is a wonderful study about the things that really matter. In a world where so many people are telling us what to believe and why, our children should know what we believe as Godly parents who are seeking the TRUTH and where we find that in scripture.

So, what do you do if you begin to study scripture and what you believe (or thought you believed) doesn’t line up with the Word of God? Well, this is where the toilet meets the floor. You know–that wet dirty ring around the bottom of your toilet? Come on, you know what I am talking about! I can just see some of you looking away like I can actually see you. Others are now thinking about the last time they gave that area a swipe with a disinfectant. If you have boys, that ring is often yellow and smelly! That is the gross place where reality lives. Stay with me here. (Okay, if you must go and clean, do so. I’ll wait for you. ) You have to get in the Word and find out if your thoughts, your beliefs, your reality is really God’s. If it isn’t, well, you’ll have to decide what to do then yourself. Do you really want to go against God? My suggestion is that when we find those things that don’t line up, that WE CHANGE (gasp!). Yes, we move our thinking to align with God’s.

And, if you don’t know where you stand on some of these topics, it might be a time to study a bit more yourself or with your spouse. If you don’t know what you believe, how will your children know? They are going to get their belief systems, ideas, morals, and reality from somewhere. Adults, media, friends, and teachers are all too happy to share their ideas, but your children need the Word of God. They need a sure grounding in the one place that never changes, that never moves away from what is right and good and pure. God’s Word is that place.

Teach your boys (and all your children!) God’s Word and your belief in it. Someone else will gladly teach them something else, if not.

Love your boys and teach them!

A time I love as a momma of boys

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Spring is here!  The boys love taking walk/rides up and down our blacktop road. It is a time that I cherish with them as well.

My boys love stories: reading them, creating them, acting them, sharing them, listening to them! I have used this time of walking to share “The Four Princes” stories which are about my boys. I use these made up stories to teach lessons about sharing, working together, giving to others, serving, being adventurous, and loving the Lord.  The four princes are each named for one of my sons. When we were expecting The Dancer, I told the “Three Princes” about the queen expecting and that they would soon have a new prince to love!  It was fun for them to find out this way. I have added our address to the stories at times so they are learning it through them as well.

Our walks consist of time in nature, too. The boys have caught crayfish and worms. We have watched turtles fighting and seen deer, coyotes, and many other animals on our walks as well. Sometimes we look up information on the animals we see when we return home. Sometimes we talk about the plants we discover: herbs, weeds, grasses, tree sprouts. We purchased some books about the trees and plants in our state. We talk about how the plants produce seed and about how they bear fruit. We watch the bees and the butterflies. Always I try to bring up to them how creative and awesome God is in His creation.

A natural advantage to these walks is the exercise. We had some boy visitors one day last summer, and we went for a walk/run/bike ride. I was amazed at how “in shape” our boys are. The other boys were very winded but our boys were just doing life. When the Farmer or I take the boys somewhere where there is a great deal of walking, we often see other children needing to be carried or be in a wagon, etc. Our boys seem to trek right along as though it was nothing. I don’t say this out of feeling superior, only out of feeling thankful. I am deeply thankful my boys are all healthy and strong and are able to be outside to love the land and nature.

As the spring turns to summer and our schooling at home takes a slower pace, I pray there are many days the boys can be outside to explore and as the Cowboy says, “Run off some boy energy!” 🙂

Outside is a good place for boys.

Love your boys and remember that you can explore, enjoy and cherish ANY place with them.

 

Have you ever seen the rain…

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There is rain in the distance.  See the streaks on the picture below the clouds?  The dark lines coming from the clouds show the rain that falls in the distance. But you can see it coming, smell it, hear it.

Farmers need the rain, but too much rain is bad for us, too. I love the falling rain. It cleans the air and removes dirt from the sidewalks. It refreshes us, all of us. Children love to play in it and in the puddles from it. But too much of anything is no good. Sometimes the rain is not good for us.

With children, it happens that we can also see the dark clouds coming at times, and we know it is not going to be a good thing, like too much rain on the already wet soil. Our Dancer is not yet two and sadly I can see the dark clouds coming in his life. Children do not have to be trained to be sinful. Scriptures tell us, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” in Romans. Unfortunately, it is there in their blood.  They inherit that sin from their fathers who inherit it from their fathers, all the way back to Adam, the first man.

I asked the Dancer if he had spit his piece of meat into his napkin (Who taught him that, anyway!?) and he said, “No.”

Just like that, my sweet-faced little Dancer lied to his momma!  Sin is in his blood. So, what is a Mom to do?

I start training. I start teaching. I start praying.

rainbow

After the rain, a rainbow appeared.  It was a whole rainbow that spread across the sky and then a double rainbow appeared.  We are praying for that same rainbow to come in the life of our sweet-faced Dancer’s future.  We are praying that he accepts the blood of Jesus Christ early in life so that he can be able to be used by the Lord, and so that he can be not only sweet-faced but sweet-hearted: deep, sweetness of heart because he is the son of the Lord Jesus Christ and a member of the Body of Christ, completely forgiven of his sinfulness. Yes, this is what we want for our little boy.

Are you teaching your little boys? Are you training good behaviors now before they are an insult to you and to others?

We will be training and praying for that whole and double rainbow! Above all, love your boys!

 

 

Protecting our Boys

Protecting our children is important to parents.  Keeping our boys from harm: bad food, bad language, bad thoughts, but mostly from bad people is so important.  The topic about to be mentioned is not one that moms often bring up and discuss, but we need to be aware that there are people who would hurt our children for their pleasure.  These people are called child molesters or sexual predators. Just like a predatory animal such as a shark or lion, they seek their prey and plan an attack. But there are some things that we can do, as parents, to help our children stay safe.

1. Do not be naive.  Sexual crimes against children happen.  According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, 1 out of 5 girls will be molested and 1 out of 20 boys.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the percentage for boys is as high as 1 out of 6 boys being sexually molested before they are 18.  No matter the exact percentage, one is too many!  We can see that children are being hurt.  We prayerfully hope that it will not be our boys.  So, how do we work to keep our children safe?

2. Know something about a person who might hurt your child.  Do a quick search on the internet and you will find that children often know the person (as high as 96% of the time!) who will hurt them. They are sometimes related to that person.  Know who your children are with and who will be visiting that person while your child in there.  Often the molester is under 18 years old.  Children need to be monitored, which leads me to #3.

3. Be with your sons.  Don’t allow your children go into a restroom alone.  Have them go with a trusted adult or  brother.  Better yet, have them go in with you.  As the mom of all boys, I find a family bathroom at the mall or a store. The boys simply turn around when it is my turn.  Don’t allow them to spend the day or the night with someone you don’t know or that you do not trust completely.  It might seem like you are a stick in the mud to your sons (or the other family), but it is your job to protect you son.

4. Talk to your sons about the threat.  We have read the Yell and Tell books.  The one for boys is called Samuel Learns to Yell and Tell by Debi Pearl.  You can check out the book for boys  here. It is a great book for starting a conversation about who might want to hurt them but more importantly what they should do about it.  They need to yell for the person to stop and they need to tell a trusted adult.  Teach them not to be afraid.  Trust them, if they tell you someone has touched, hurt, or made them feel uncomfortable. There is a book for girls too; this topic is for all children. (The book also has great tips and good information for parents at the back.)

5. Teach your sons to be safe.  Several sources noted  that boys 7-18 are the most likely to be sexually molested.  This is an age where we feel they are “finally safe” as they are older.  We let ten year boys go to the restroom alone at the ball game.  We allow for sleepovers for our twelve year boys at their friends’ houses.  Because we cannot keep them under our wings forever, we need to teach our boys to be safe.  They should learn to BE AWARE: of their surroundings, of their feelings that something is off, of their own strength to protect themselves.  We need to teach our boys to look for weapons in the objects around them.  In the bathroom, this could be the shampoo to squirt in someone’s eyes.  In the bedroom, this could be a book to throw at someone.  In the game room, this could be a remote or glass with a drink.  We have to teach our boys to look for a way to get free of someone who would hurt them.  Practice helping them learn the words to say. “No. NO. NO!” and “Stop!”  Help them be confident enough in themselves to know that they are worth it.  No one should hurt them.  Also, they need to tell. Help them trust themselves enough to tell.

6. Believe them and love them. Keep praying for you son.  Keep talking with him and listening to him.  Pray for wisdom in your decisions on what to do in specific situations and for how to be train him in this difficult area.

What tips would you share with me to keep my boys safer?  What have you used that has worked with your children?

Love those boys & work to keep them safe!

Leesa

P.S. I do not get anything from the purchase of the Yell & Tell books, but I do believe they are a good source for parents.  I am sure there are other books out there as well.  If you have found some other resources, please share! 🙂

This post was first seen on 4theloveofboys.com

I am doing the best I can

 CleaningLady

“I am doing the best I can!”

 I say this often.

I mean it often.

Or, do I?  Am I really doing the best I can?  Yes, most days I am doing all I can– in my own power– to help grow these four little boys into men.  But it isn’t enough.  I am failing.

One day I had a realization.  I am not enough.  You heard me.  It’s true. I am not enough.  I don’t have the patience to home educate them.  I don’t have the love to listen to any more stories about LEGOs or blocks or whatever they are building today.  I don’t have any more energy to clean, wash, bathe, or did I mention clean anything else!  I don’t have enough.

Luckily, I don’t have to have enough of anything.  The Lord does.  So, now when I hear myself say this little phrase, I stop.  I am learning to rethink it.  I need to remember that I must rely on Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, to do it.  Doing the best I  can is not the same as falling into His arms, so He can work through me and do the best.  I am nothing without Christ and so I need to live as though I am in His arms, letting Him do the living, loving, and growing of these little men. When I hear myself say these words.  I stop myself, right where I am, and pray. I thank the Lord that He is enough and that He is working through me.   I must stop MY doing and let Christ do it.

Do the best you can today and let the Lord work through you! 🙂

What do you do when you feel you are not enough?  I’d love to hear about it.

Oh, and love your boys!

Leesa

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!

My Day Off from the Boys: What I did while the boys were out

My Day Off from the Boys: What I did while the boys were outtrainThe other day my husband, The Farmer, took The Engineer, Farmer, Jr. and The Cowboy to a train show a couple of hours from our home.  They left before The Dancer and I got up and were gone most of the day.  A whole day without big boys to do whatever I wanted to do was here.  I could do whatever I pleased and have no one to ask me for things (The Dancer does not talk much really).  When The Dancer took a nap, I would be completely FREE to do whatever I wanted for myself and no one else.  I had the crazy feeling, “This is what it would be like if they went to school each day and I was just alone with The Dancer all day, by myself, with no other boys, just me and The Dancer, except during nap when it would just be me, alone.  I could go potty with no audience.at.all. This is going to be GREAT!”  (Yes, I know that I think in run-on sentences but don’t we all, really?)

So, what did I do…let’s see, what did I DO…what DID I do? This is where you are thinking, “She sat on the couch in her pjs and did nothing all day long!”  Actually, I decided I was going to take all the Christmas decorations down with no extra help and put them back into their bins. This is what NEEDED to be completed, so I bit the bullet and got started.

So, this day “off” I

  • brought down the bins from the attic with “non-Christmas items” and unpacked them
  • chased The Dancer away from these items; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • took down and started to pack the Christmas items back into said bins; thought about the boys & prayed for them
  • chased The Dancer away from Christmas items; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • gave The Dancer a snack; thought about the big boys again, missed them, & prayed for them again
  • packed more stuff in the bins
  • cleaned and put up non-Christmas items; called The Farmer to ask about the boys
  • stopped for a tea break and read a chapter of my book while The Dancer played cars at my feet
  • danced with The Dancer to music on the radio; prayed for The Dancer and his someday wife; missed my big boys
  • organized The Dancer’s clothes as he was moving up a size; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • packed up The Dancer’s clothes that were too small to pass on to a family member
  • thought about the boys again and yes, prayed for them again and for The Farmer that he was doing okay with them

On and on went my day, but while I got many items checked off my list, what I really did on my free day was miss my boys.   It isn’t that I am not a whole person without my boys.  It is more about the fact that I enjoy them.  I want to be around them.  Don’t get me wrong: there is fighting and arguing and melt-downs, and then there are problems with the boys too (he he).  Seriously, though, I want to be near them to train, teach, lead, and help them to grow into the men God wants them to be.

It was a good wake-up call for me as we are heading back into the second half of our home educating year and the winter blahs are upon us.  I do love my boys and I want to be with them.  Of course, outside time for them is a must (without me) to run off their “boy energy” as The Cowboy would say.

I wrote this post for myself, as much as for you, the parents of boys, to remind us that this is such a short, short time before our boys are moving on to jobs and life away from our homes.  ENJOY the time.

This year, my New Year’s Resolution is just that: Enjoy my Family.  I am often so very busy that I am checking off lists and making new ones.  I forget sometimes that I am doing everything for my family.  I do love them and I need to focus on enjoying the time with them.  We are never promised tomorrow with them.  Even when tomorrow comes, though, and it is followed by the tomorrow after that, soon next year and the next will be here.  Time truly is fleeting and time with our boys is short.  So this year, I am going to enjoy the boys!

Hope you can find a way to enjoy yours this day and tomorrow, too!

Enjoy the boys.

Who we are…

I thought it about time for you to meet the crew, since we here at 4theloveofboys are all about BOYS.  We have four sons, my husband (the Farmer) and I, and they are our eldest son, The Engineer; our second son, Farmer, Jr.; our third son, The Cowboy; and finally our baby, The Dancer.

The Engineer loves to figure out how things work, and is currently working on another “How Things Work” book.  Farmer, Jr. wants nothing more than to be JUST LIKE DAD.  He can often be found creating farm scenes and playing farmer.   He also likes to dress like dad…The Cowboy loves make believe.  He dresses up like cowboys, warriors, bad guys, good guys, trains, pretty much everyone!  He also likes to create with Legos and blocks. Finally, our dancer loves to dance and sing and play!  He enjoys life and I could learn a lot from his carefree spirit.  I am excited to be a part of their lives to see who they will become as they grow and learn.

That’s us: 4theloveofboys.  I will continue to add new posts as I figure out this blogging thing!  Come on back soon and see us!

In the beginning…

Welcome!  ImageI am starting this blog to record our life with boys! 🙂  We have four sons, all of which are 9 or under. Life gets crazy around here sometimes but I do love our boys.  We live on a farm and we home school classically.  These topics and many more will be added to the site as well, I hope, as encouraging things that we are learning from God’s word.  And so begins the blog! 🙂