Thursday, February 27, 2014

How To Train Our Boys To Be Men at Four

Although my days with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) are passed, I am honored to contribute in any small way I can to this vital ministry. Therefore, I'm sharing thoughts on Thursdays with our local chapter, on the Sheridan Morning MOPS blog, and sharing it here with you:

"Don't follow me!" is the phrase my four­year­old boy is uttering toward his nearly three­year­old sister, over the past few days and I want him to see differently. 

We don't always know why our children determine to be unkind or even cruel to one another. Who knows where they pick up such thoughts and actions and then mimic them. Or more essential the question, what is at the heart of the behavior? 

As parents, what we know is that we are all selfish by nature and the training of a child is constant in re­framing that mindset and molding their heart toward kindness, consideration and compassion. 

Out of mere helplessness or frustration, we might send our child to a "time­out" for speaking unkind. And although it might stop the behavior, it doesn't get to the heart of our goal for our child to display kindness, consideration and compassion for others. These traits come from the overflow of the heart.

And so it takes thought, prayer, investment and plain ole' creativity

to get to the heart of a child. 

This morning, I give my boy a little pep­talk on being kind to his sister and he seems to understand. However, as the morning settles into routine, he starts in on telling his sister not to follow him or play with him again. 

So I walk over to him and remind him, "Remember our talk this morning?" 

A little grimace and a humph. I continue. 

"I need you to treat your sister like she is a gift from God to our family because, do you know what? When you let her follow you, sit with you and play with you, you practice what it takes to be a good man, a good husband and a good daddy when you grow up."

His little head makes the slightest tilt, like his inner­ear instantly perks up. 

And then they play.

And they play all day without any further correction. 

I can't tell you exactly why, but I have a hunch that in spite of our selfishness, there is this innate longing to be all that we were created to be. This is the heart of the child that we have the great responsibility and privilege to invest in, till and water, as parents. 

It's a lot of these little moments that show our boys what we expect of them and what we believe for them. It may not be the same words or circumstances for every child. There is no formula. 

It's just finding ways to give them a vision for their future. 

Edited  from the Archives


  1. Thank you for giving me some language to use to express these thoughts to my children! So beautiful!

  2. Thank you, Kristen. I'm so glad you found it useful. Thank you for stopping by!


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