God has blessed me with three boys. Three boys who will become men one day. I own this privilege with a tender heart.
I have a soon-to-be high schooler,
soon-to-be middle schooler,
and a soon-to-be kindergartener.
Over the course of the day, I say many things. Words just spew out of my mouth. Some good, some bad. I’ve noticed a few phrases that I have on “repeat mode.” Phrases I utter with an intentional, specific purpose:
to brainwash (wash my boys’ brains) in the truth.
Truths I pray weave and grow root deep, deep, deep into my boys’ hearts.
Truths that I’ve seen in men whom I respect, love, and admire.
Truths that hold strong, decisive, powerful, God-loving men close to who God has purposed them to be. Men who make a difference in people’s lives and impact this world for Jesus.
I hope these mama mantras become so familiar in their brains that they are washed in the truth and believe it to their core:
1. “I’ve always got your back.”
I don’t know how many times a week I say this. Whether it is helping them with their homework or telling them that they have something in their nose. I hope to quiet any sense of criticism with a word of collaboration. No matter what, they can count on me. I am for them sincerely.
Have sincere love for your brother. Love one another deeply from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22
2. “What you say and think, matters to me.”
Whether learning all about their LEGO battles or characters in their favorite book, I listen. I put down my phone, look them in the eyes, respond with “uh huh,” and sometimes just have to pretend. Although what they say may not interest me, but what is important to them sure is, at every stage.
Because it is NOW I need to listen- even though “their stuff” seems so inconsequential to any major life decisions. It is NOW that we are developing the foundations of our relationship. It is NOW he learns that whatever he thinks, matters to me. So on down the road when he is a teenager or college student and dealing with things on a much grander scale – things I most surely WANT to know about – he will know that I will listen with acceptance, without judgement, and without inserting my own agenda because we have built a history of that.
Accept one another, then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7
3. “We say no because we want what is best for you.”
None of us like to be told “no.” But… being told “no” isn’t always bad. There will always be a tension between what we want and want is best. Adults and children alike. I have found it helpful to communicate and reiterate again and again that “although it’s a no, it’s a yes for your best.” See #1.
It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:12
4. “Now that’s embarrassing.”
No one is perfect. We all trip, fall down, say things that don’t make any sense, and make mistakes. We. All. Do. But it’s so easy to think that “I” am the only messed up person on this planet and everyone else is perfect.
I created a game a few years ago in which we share (usually around the dinner table) any embarrassing thing we did that week or month. Anything. I would always start because I always have material. After each person shared, we would say in unison, “now THAT’S embarrassing!” By the time we all had shared, we were laughing and acknowledging that we aren’t perfect and it’s ok!
By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. 1 Corinthians 15:10
I intentionally say these mantras over and over and over again. And by incorporating these mama mantras into your parenting tool box, I hope you too will foster growth and cohesiveness in a lasting relationship with your growing boy -who will soon become a man.
*Note 1: I can only speak as a mom of boys, but I’m sure if you are a girl mom, these truth will apply as well.
** Note 2: Are there things that you say, your mama mantras, over and over again with an intentional purpose for growth? I’d love to know!
***Note 3: 8 more mama mantras coming Tuesday!