It’s just past Mother’s Day.
You’ve smiled and said your thanks and all is well.
But somewhere lurking just beneath the surface of your smile is that nagging wondering if all is really as well as you want it to be. And maybe it is— maybe everything is good between you and your kids or you and your mom.
But for a lot of moms it’s not.
Words were said. Awful words.
Or maybe worse— no words, just the sullen silence of rejection.
For the past few days we’ve been talking about fixing those broken places between us. Or at least trying to.
Trying God’s way, with the wisdom promised in His Word. Searching for how, begging for the strength to do it well, for the grace to push past all the pain and all the excuses and just do the right thing.
Today I just want to add a few words about fixing things with your grown sons.
Men are such a different breed. They look and smell and talk and think like aliens from Mars or Venus or wherever they’re supposed to have originated.
I know, I have two of them!
John Mark is my firstborn. I heaped all my perfectionist angst all over that poor guy from the moment he was born. Every ounce of my idealistic nature got aimed at John Mark. Before he was born I had it down— knew exactly what to do and how to do it. I would raise the perfect man.
Only I didn’t factor in all my own faults and flaws. And all the stuff I didn’t know. Or my blind spots or prejudices of just plain wrongness about things I was so sure I was right about.
I am so sorry John Mark. And so amazed that you love me still!
Matthew is my baby. Born with two sisters and nearly 12 years between them, my boys grew up with two different versions of me. The way-too-uptight version and the way-too-loosey-goosey version.
Except for a few years of horrific temper tantrums when he was really young, Matt has been just so easy to spoil.
He asks nice. With a smile and a hug and I-love-you-Mom, you’re-the-best.
How in the world do I say “no” to that?
Sometimes I have expected less than I should have and then doubted him and nagged and suggested and basically pestered my will on him. Enough to drive a guy crazy.
I am so sorry Matthew. And so amazed that you love me still!
But I’ve learned some things with all these mistakes I’ve made and all this grace my men have given back to me. And so I offer you…
FIVE WAYS TO FIX WHAT IS BROKEN…
between you and your son
1. Respect him (Proverbs 21:9, Ephesians 5:33 for wives, but so wise for moms)
Men crave respect. They need it, thirst for it, feel broken without it. Your boy who grew into a man needs your respect. As his mother you hold incredible power over his vision of his value. If you respect him— you who know his history and his flaws and weaknesses, then he must be a man. Right?
Mothers have an opportunity to be the first to view their sons through the lenses of honor. But if you keep doubting him, keep nagging and poking and laughing at his less-than-perfect attempts at manhood, then you’ll hurt him deeply, Mom. Be very, very careful.
2. Admire him (Proverbs 23:24,25)
Respect and admiration are not the same thing. Respect has to do with how you talk to him… how you treat him, how you respond. Admiration has to do with what you say. To admire someone is to notice him. To take a good long look at who he has become and then to pick out all the good parts and trumpet your discoveries loud and wide.
Admiration means doing your homework. Because somewhere between boyhood and manhood he took on some qualities and gifts and abilities that you might not know about.
What is he good at? What do other people think about him? Why do his friends like him? How about his kids?
Have you told him what you see? A lot?
3. Ask his advice (Proverbs 26:12)
Your son knows some stuff that will and could and should help you live your life better. The ultimate show of respect and admiration from a mom is to ask for his advice. When you do that you are recognizing that he is a man now. A man worth listening to.
You don’t have to know it all anymore, moms. (And I’m preaching to me here…)
4. Don’t need him (Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 25:6,7)
There is this weird tendency with us moms to think that after all we did for our children, they owe us.
And especially wrong for our sons. We raised our boys to be warriors and now they’re off fighting the battles in front of them. Earning a living, caring for a family, paying off debts, wrangling with customers and critics and who-knows-what-else-because-they’re-probably-not-going-to-tell-you!
Let’s challenge each other to be the one person in their circle of relationships that doesn’t need anything from them. Not a birthday card, not a phone call, not time or attention. If you get those things, great! But set your sons free to fight their battles like men, unencumbered by a needy mother.
5. Don’t ever come between him and his wife (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 4:29-32)
Which means…DO NOT EVER CRITICISE HER!!!
Do not infer, do not hint, do not smirk, do not sympathize. She is perfect and you love her. No matter what.
Now that’s easy for me to say. I happen to have the only honestly perfect daughter-in-law around. I loved her from the moment she poked her head out of the tent at my fortieth birthday party-camping trip.
And she loves me. I hear it and feel it and know it.
I wish everyone had a daughter-in-law like Tammy. And even as I write, I’m praying for whoever happens to be Matthew’s wife someday… please, please, please like me!
It might be a good idea for you to go over last weeks post with your son in mind.
Do you need to apologize? Most relationships need some clearing of the air to set things right again.
Relationships with our sons are not nearly so complicated as with our daughters. But they still take work. And a determination to do things well and wisely.
May you listen to what the Father is telling you and chose the way of redemption,
From my heart,
If you’ve got a story of God bringing your son back… or a story of a son who has graced you as mine have me, please tell us. These are the kinds of stories that give us hope.
Next Thursday… Redeeming What is Broken Between You And Your Mom