Friday, January 27, 2012

The (Future) Man of the House

So lucky to have my boy.
Not too long ago, we walked out of my front door and there, lurking in the shadows (it was daytime, but whatever) like a dangerous predator (hey, it could have been poisonous) was...a spider. I tried to act cool but my 6 year old wasn't fooled.  He's fully aware that I hate bugs. He giggles like a maniac when he pretends he's throwing a dead bug at me.  Hilarious.  That day, within seconds, he sprung into action, using his sneaker as a weapon and killing the vicious would-be predator in one quick swoop. His little sister cheered and applauded.  I exhaled.  Josiah smiled victoriously.  "The man of the house kills the bugs!" he said in his very (very) squeaky, pre-pre-pre-pubescent voice.   When I heard it, my heart sank.  Then, a few days ago, someone said it again --- "...because you're the man of the house!" It felt wrong.  A six year old shouldn't be the man of any house, much less my house.

It's tough raising a boy.  I know girls. I know what it's like to be one. I know the different stages of girl to tween to teen to woman.  When my daughter enters those stages, I will be prepared.  You know, kind of like being prepared for scorpion handling or walking on broken glass.

With a boy, though, its different. I don't know how to raise a man, much less a good man.  Although J sees his dad often, he lives with me full time.  He doesn't see a man in our house, doing all the things a husband and father is responsible for doing.  What he does see is me flip my lid when my toilet becomes clogged, scream when I see a bug, stare at power tools with eyes glazed over, and face an almost certain death trying to move furniture down the stairs by myself.  I remember when I started potty training him, I worried about how I'd teach him to stand being that women, well...don't.  Somehow, it worked out (although his aim still sucks).

In the past three years of being his primary caregiver, I've come to the realization that I can't teach him how to be a man.  I desperately need God for that because, like any mom, I have dreams for him.  Dreams of him being a godly, honorable man.  Dreams of him breaking the cycle of infidelity and irresponsibility.  I hope he's a hard worker and finds a career he loves (right now he wants to work at ChickFilA, so I have my work cut out for me). I hope that, in time, he finds a good woman; a wife he loves, honors and cherishes his commitment to. I hope he protects and provides for his family.  I hope he sets high standards in his life.  I hope his children can look up to him.  I want him to be the man of a house one day, but not today.

Today he needs to be a boy.  He needs to make messes.  Needs to jump...on everything apparently.  Needs to get outside on his scooter and bike and skateboard.  Needs to bother his little sister.  Needs to run. Needs to learn.  Needs to not worry about adult things.  And he definitely needs to not worry about his mom.

Single moms, let your son be your son.  I believe that having time as a boy will allow him to be a better man.  After seeing the movie, Courageous, I started looking for advice on how best to raise a good and more importantly, Godly, man. In my search, I found this list of practical advice here and thought they were great tips to use and to share.  It applies differently to each person, depending on you and what level of involvement the father has, but still great advice.  Also, feel free to share your own tips, Bible verses, books you've read and lessons learned in the comments section below or on my Facebook page:

10 Tips For Single Moms Raising Boys

1) Don't disrespect his father around him. Even if you don't get along with the father, you are attacking his maleness when you put the father down around your son.

2) Teach him how to manage money (ex. balance a checkbook, save, give to charities, and 

invest). If you don't know how, take him to someone that does know so he can learn.

3) Don't allow him to see you dating multiple guys. Even though you might not be "doing anything" it sends...a subconscious message to your son that men can come in and out of 

your life, and it's ok.

4) Teach him what I call the man fundamentals (ex. To tie a necktie, to iron, to shave, to 

wash clothes, to maintain proper hygiene). You may be saying, well, I don't know how to 
do some of those things. Mom, you are it, so you have to learn or at least get a uncle, church member or someone that can ensure that your son has these necessary skills.

5) Don't push him to just go to college and get a job, but teach him how to think for himself, explore his artistic and creative side and understand the power of being an entrepreneur.

6) Don't buy and give to your son out of guilt or because you didn't have it.
Teach your son to value what he has and what he is given so he can learn to appreciate 


7) Teach him to not just go to church, but develop a personal relationship with God. This 

is key, because many single moms keep their young men in church, thinking that church is 
the solution. Actually the solution is showing him what a personal relationship with God 
means and he needs to see you model that at home.

8) Teach him that his life is not about being "better than his dad", but it's about being the 

person that he is destined to be. Tell him that he has traits from both of his parents, but God 
has made him a unique person with unique abilities.

9) Teach him that relationships are about unconditional love, but most importantly, responsibility.

10) Teach him that "his past doesn't determine his future". Show him that he can't control 

his situations that he was born into, but he can control what's ahead of him in life.


  1. Thank you for this Sarah... This is some serious info when your a single mom of a boy. And again, I cried! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  2. I come via Jenn. :)

    This is an amazing post. And I certainly do not want to undermine your intent of it as a single mama, but it blessed me and convicted me even though I am married. Hubby and I often talked that our son is with me more; logistically it makes sense that I will have a big role in demonstrating Christ to him. Thank you for the helpful tips!


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