One particularly rough day, my eighth child and youngest son’s behavior made me question my life choices.
I was in my late 30s.
My energy was winding down along with the afternoon. A clatter that sounded like the Tin-man falling down a flight of stairs came from the kitchen. Without looking I knew immediately what happened. My two-year-old was cleaning out the bottom cabinets.
Sure enough, I caught him pulling all of my pots and pans out and onto the floor. He needed a clean den to crawl into. As I swept him out of the kitchen, he ran into the bathroom.
The next sound was also easy to interpret. Running water.
The boy had pushed a chair to the sink and was running water, splashing, and playing having a marvelous mess-making time. Exasperated and absolutely positive that boy’s spiritual gifts were diversionary tactics, I muttered to God that I was too old and too tired for this kind of child.
Then, deep in my spirit, I felt these words. “You wanted a strong man of God, willing to stand up for what he believed in. What did you expect? Right now, you’re all he has to conquer.”
The evolution of masculinity.
Males of every species exhibit different behaviors than females.
Across the centuries and cultures, it’s well documented that male behavior is more active, combative, and protective.
The male that exhibited these traits were the natural leaders, food providers, and defenders of society.
They led other men into battle against enemies with nothing more than their strength, skill, and sharp weapons. They climbed into their own hand-carved boats and set out for open waters.
Men with these attributes were prized and honored. These were the men that guaranteed the survival of their families, and ultimately, of the species.
The characteristics that are predominantly male or masculine, have been in the process of perfecting over millions of years. Masculine traits are deeply entrenched in generations of DNA.
Until recently these attributes were admired and cultivated.
Instead, it’s just the opposite. It’s not only undesirable, its wrong or worse—a sickness.
J.M. Stolzer, Ph.D. observes,
“For millions of years, males have been perfecting the art of “maleness,” and this maleness was considered throughout historical time to be extremely valuable to the functioning and maintenance of society (Stolzer, 2005). What are we to do now that, for the first time in the history of humankind, we have defined these ancient and uniquely male traits as pathological? The answer is that we have constructed a myriad of disorders (i.e. behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and so on) that are currently rampant in the education system and in many instances require that male children use pharmaceutical drugs in order to alter their behavioral patterns so that they will conform to the scripts set forth by their female constituents (Stolzer, 2005).
Stolzer explains that for the first time in history, we have forgotten what our ancestors knew and understood that boys and girls are very, very different.
That’s not to say that there are not varied personality types. Some of which fit very well into our current expectations of learning and behavior. In spite of what some want to believe, boys are inherently different than girls.
So too, is our son’s behavior.
Boys Need to be Boys
Which, can be exasperating to us mothers.
We want to keep them safe, clean, and polite. Keep your expectations high. However, it’s important to understand what they need to grow into manhood.
They need to push their limits and test themselves. While in the process they will test us and our resolve to keep them safe. Today he wants nothing more than to test your grit. Tomorrow he will need that same strength to follow his heart where ever God leads him.