Raising Boys

Having had two daughters first, I was not prepared for boys. I know that may sound a little odd. Many of my friends told me when I was adopting my sons but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I laughed and told him that there really could not be that much difference between girls and boys. I have eaten those words many times over the last 10 years. I just choked on them again these last few weeks!

This summer has been a flurry of activity with all four of my children. My kids have had multiple camps and mission trips at various times throughout the summer. We’ve juggled those weeks with summer sports events, vacations, beach excursions and weeks at our Redneck Villa on Lake Hickory. I’ve been a chauffeur extraordinaire! (This pandemonium is the reason I haven’t had a chance to blog in a while.)

A few weeks ago, I was actually away from my sons for two full weeks. The first of those weeks, I took a girls’ trip with my daughters.

(As a side note, we went on the Jesus Freak Cruise. Totally awesome experience! It was a step back in time to relive my DC Talk days from early college years. And, it was a priceless time with my girls. I’m at the stage of life where I’m not the preferred parent to my teenage daughters and they can take me or leave me at any given moment. They had no choice but to interact with me on a boat where they could not get away!)

The day we came back from the cruise, my boys left for one of their camps. So, at the end of two weeks, I was missing socks strewn all over the floor and the distinct smell of a sweaty little boys.

The first night they were back, we had some friends over for dinner. These are dear friends of mine who happen to be the parents of only girls. In the middle of dinner, my friend looked at me with an incredulous expression asking me if the utter chaos of the boys’ activity was normal. I chuckled I said, “Yep. Isn’t it great! Gotta love these boys.” When she got home that night, she sent me this fabulous image. Indeed, this is what it is like to be the mom of a boy!

The next day, after a long series of meetings and presentations, I came home to greet my stinky little men frolicking in the pool. They were body-slamming each other from the hot tub to the deep end. How endearing! Joe came in shortly after I did and went promptly to the den to turn on the television. Less than 10 seconds later, he yelled for me to come into the den. He had this look of horror on his face as he is looking at our television. There, in the center of our 65-inch curved screen television was a hole. Yes. I mean a hole. You could literally see through the television to the wall behind it.

(Yes, that crack and black line through the picture are NOT supposed to be there!)

Immediately, we called the boys into the den to ask him what had happened. Their first response: the girls did it. Now, mind you, the girls were both away at camp. They have been gone for 48 hours. When we reminded them the girls were not present, we were told that the cleaning lady must’ve done it. Granted, that was a better excuse. Our cleaning lady, bless her 4’11” soul, has a track record of breaking things. Once, we came home to a paddle fan mangled in the floor and with just the wires dangling from the ceiling. Our theory was that she had been standing on a stool to try to clean it, lost her balance, and latched on to it for dear life. Needless to say, the fan did not support her tiny frame. We had confronted her about the incident as well and received a similar incredulous answer. She had no idea what happened.

We explained to the boys that this small woman could not have possibly broken the television as she could not even reach it. Still, they had no idea what had happened. Later that evening, we did find a shoe precariously located under the mantle where the television was mounted. Finding stray shoes and stray socks throughout my house is not unusual. But, I did find it odd that this shoe was in such close proximity to the shattered television. Still, when confronted with the shoe evidence, no one was talking.

Thu, I spent the next 48 hours interrogating my sons. I took them individually to their rooms. I suspended privileges. I added chores. Still, no one was turning. I was almost to water-boarding techniques! On the third day, I handed them each a piece of paper and asked for confession. A few hours later after we were in bed, I heard paper being shoved under my bedroom door. Confession is a process. There, on a crumpled, torn sheet, we had answers. Apparently, the two of them were having a shoe fight. One of them jumped up on the ottoman while the other one chucked the shoe in his direction. The one on the ottoman ducked. The trajectory of the shoe was in an upward direction, toward the television. You can guess the rest of the story.

Joe and I sat on the bed, reading the confession and wondering how to handle the situation. We were torn. On one hand, we were quite proud of their staunch commitment to each other and to protecting each other no matter what. Neither wanted to roll on the other. On the other hand, justice must be served. The question was who to punish. Was it the thrower, or the ducker?

In the end, they both lost their electronics until the Resurrection . . . or until I decide they’ve earned them back. (It may be a while.)

Since the incident, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about truth. Ironically, I think it was the lesson that my boys learned at Camp Lurecrest that finally provided the breakthrough. During the days of interrogation, I asked the boys about their experience at camp and what they had learned. The speaker at the camp that week had focused on the “I Am” statements of Christ. Each of the boys could recount all of Jesus’s “I Am” statements in the Bible. And, one of them indicated his favorite statement was “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

When he told me about this statement, I asked him to explain it further. We then looked at other Scriptures that talk about truth. I pulled out the scripture about the truth setting you free (John 8:32). Indeed, it was later that night the confession came forward. At breakfast the next morning, I asked the boys if they felt better with the truth out there. Begrudgingly, they both agreed.

It was an expensive lesson but it’s been a good lesson in our home. And, all things have worked out. My husband got a 75-inch television out of the process and we are working on "truth telling" with the first ask.

The truth I have learned this summer is that boys are sweaty, messy bundles of joy. And, in truth, I love them with all of my heart.

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