How do we mothers balance the masculine, tougher side of our boys and yet encourage them to grow into the well-rounded men God designed them to be? There is no one way I know, but a multiplicity of ways (or enrichments, if you will) that work together to accomplish this happy blending of manliness and kindness, steel and velvet.
And a caveat: I am not talking about the wide range of God-given physical features or strength here. A man doesn’t need to be ruggedly built or look a certain way to be a wise, capable leader. And if there is a disability, the work becomes that of developing the mind and the inner spirit of the man. Hard work doesn’t always have to be physical.
My friend Ingrid is the home-school mom of four boys. I have asked her to share some of her thoughts and photos as they incorporate these enrichments into their home life.
What skills do you first think of teaching as you raise your sons? Leadership? Money Management? Fixing the car? Home repair and maintenance? All of these are important, but may I suggest adding cooking and baking to the list?
Let your sons join you whenever they desire to, no matter how young they are. This gives them a chance to develop the joy of cooking.
At first, let them bring you what you need, pour the already measured ingredients into the bowl, and stir. Show them by example how to measure liquids and dry ingredients. In time, they will begin to measure it themselves.
Don’t forget to add math concepts as you work, for example, asking them how much is needed to double, or triple the recipe.
Always remember to thank them. Be specific in how they helped, such as the importance of contributing to the family needs, specifically how they helped you get dinner (or dessert) ready, and how useful that is to you.
Let them also know how much fun you had spending time with them!
Before you know it, they will be reading the cookbook and making it themselves or as a team of siblings.
Look at their pride in a job well done. My youngest whipped up the batter; the second youngest made the pancakes!
Last, but not least: teach them to clean up when they are done! Be specific, patient, and cheerful as you model just how this is done in a hygienic and thorough way. It will reap dividends for you in years to come!
Raising Masculine Boys To Be Men
Does the concept of raising boys to be masculine and allowing them to cook with you and learn independence in the kitchen sound like a paradox to you? Actually it is not!
1.) It will build self-confidence in a boy. He will become a man who can help bless his wife (and model to his sons) how to function as a team in the kitchen and have fun cooking together as a family. Mealtime spent together in the kitchen also encourages interaction and communication between parents and children. The entire family benefits from healthier meals, a sense of shared accomplishment, and the enjoyment of each other’s company.
2.) Encourage your sons to use their imagination in the kitchen. This gives them the chance to experiment and improve their problem solving skills. Someone who has learned to be capable in solving problems will become a man who does not feel threatened with failure later in life. He will be more at ease in tense situations and have better self-control skills.
3.) He will grow up to be a man who potentially can enjoy and understand a healthier lifestyle of eating (if learned while young). Who knows, you may even have a wonderful chef in the making!
4.) He will become a husband who can really help in a time of family or his wife’s illness. Recently a young (very masculine) father in our church put this into practice waiting for their third child. He lovingly and capably did dishes and ran the kitchen and didn’t feel super stressed during the month she was off her feet. He was the leader/servant loving his wife like Christ loved the church.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” ~Ephesians 5: 25
That doesn’t make a man less than masculine; it makes him more Christ-like! The resulting outcome can be a ‘man of Steel and of Velvet’.
Dear mothers, you will save yourself much time and energy in the long run if you teach not only cooking skills, but also character early to your boys (and girls, of course). “Pay now or pay later.” I can’t think of a better gift to give to your future daughters-in-love someday!
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” ~Deuteronomy 6: 6-8
My name is Ingrid. I am first and foremost a daughter of the King, adopted into the family of God through Christ’s grace. Secondly, I am a wife to a wonderful, steady man, and a great father. I am also known as a mother of boys. We live and home-school on acreage which allows for many adventures and work opportunities for the boys. We currently have two llamas, two sheep, four cats, a guinea, and multitudes of chickens for farm fresh eggs. As I look at my role as a mother, I like to think of what I once saw in a letter from www.aboverubies.org: “I am an Arrow Polisher, a Nation Builder, and a Director of Home Affairs”. These are fitting titles as I raise my boys to be arrows sent out for the Lord!
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