Lately I've noticed something. Often we hear men referred to as...boys. Sometimes in an affectionate manner, like her husband and son being a woman's "boys." Often, though, it's a bit more snide than that.
"You have two sons? I guess you're raising three boys!"
"Those guys are such boys. Of course they're slobs, what else could you expect?"
Our culture seems to believe that adult males are stuck in a perpetual juvenile phase, doomed to make immature decisions and chose selfishness above all else. One has only to watch a few television commercials to see evidence of this. Guys are portrayed as just plain dumb. There are precious few programs or films which depict fathers as deserving of respect. They are clueless, helpless, and...well, immature.
As the mother of four males, this really bothers me. Kids seem to rise to the expectations we've set for them. What happens when they see others of their gender in this manner? Not growing in character, not becoming wise and discerning, strong and gentle, but as perpetual goof-offs?
I know there are real-life males who fit that description. But I'm thinking maybe they became that way (or never matured beyond it) because they were allowed to. Expected to, even.
Parenting is hard. Most of us are doing the very best we can, desperately hoping it's enough. Praying for help, relying on God's guidance is invaluable in this. I personally struggle to find the balance of "encouraging" my boys to do their best (which hopefully doesn't turn into criticism!), and accepting that they are kids: learning as they go along.
But I think that our attitudes toward our own husbands is connected to all this. In fact, I believe that it is vitally important. I want to show my boys that I believe their dad takes care of his family, leads us with wisdom, is both strong and gentle. I want them to see that I respect him - so much! I want them to see their father and think "I want to be like him someday."
And here's the main thing I wanted to say. Ladies, let's treat our husbands like men.
Let's show them, our children, and the world around us that we know these guys work hard, love their families, and are doing the best they know. Let's bite our tongues when we're tempted to nag - er, remind...and instead let's praise them for what they're doing well. For the ways they've stepped up to responsibility and done right.
Are you in a situation where it feels to hard? Where you're struggling to respect your spouse? I'm aware that you're out there. I'm sorry. Know that I'm praying for you today. I would like to humbly suggest that you pray for a place to start, however basic. What's one thing you respect about your husband? Just fine one, and start from there.
I don't think we should call our husbands our "boys." Let's honor them. Let's call them what they are. Not our boys. Not our burdens. Not something to check off our task list.