Parenting, Relationships

Teach Your Sons To Have Healthy Relationships (Mama Mantra)

boy mom, family ski trip, beaver creek, my three sons
After a fun day of skiing in Beaver Creek, Colorado

I do repeat myself to the point of almost crazy. I can easily say something one minute, and then wonder the next minute if I actually said it outside or inside of my brain.

In parenting, there are many things that I know I say (not crazy) on repeat mode, over and over again, with the definitive intention of washing my boys brains in the truth. Truths to establish a lasting relationship with my growing man-child (first 4) and to grow strong Godly men (the next 4).

These last 4 Mama Mantras are intended to lay the foundation to grow relationship-healthy men. Relationship-healthy in their friendships, with their future wives, with their co-workers and bosses, with their college roommates…There is so much that can break and fracture our relationships, at every age. These mantras deal with communication, reconciliation, forgiveness, competition, and self-worth in relationships.

1. “Communication is tough. We have to keep at it.”

My mom-brain and their boy-brains often don’t sync up. But instead of throwing our hands up with a flippant “whatever,” we dig in and keep on trucking. Everyone has to work to communicate in relationships. Marriage, co-workers, neighbors, friends… It takes practice to articulate what is going on inside. It takes effort to hear what the other person is saying. And, it’s safe to practice here… in our home.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

2. “You gotta make it right.”

Lots of arguments, bickering, and fights break out around here. Instead of telling them to say they are sorry, I tell them, “You gotta make it right.” Making it right involves owning the offense, apologizing, asking for forgiveness, and fist-bumping it out.

Live in harmony, be sympathetic, love as brothers, compassionate and humble. don’t repay insult for insult. 1 Peter 3:8

3. “You don’t have to apologize for someone’s feeling. But if you did wrong, apologize.”

 “I’m sorry” is a very easy response when you realize someone is hurting or you are getting ready to get in trouble. It gets you off the hook. It makes you feel better, especially if tears are involved. But I hope I’m growing men who understand they aren’t responsible for someone’s feelings. If they have done something to hurt them, of course, apologize. Otherwise, be kind and loving and helpful but don’t own someone else’s emotions. It’s a burden and an extra weight to carry.

Each one should test his own actions. Galatians 6:4  

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

4. “2nd place isn’t failure. How you perform does not dictate who you are.”

We all shoot to be the best. To get the gold medal. To be MVP.  So much of my life was driven to be the best. And, if I didn’t get the top acclaim, I truly and utterly felt like I had failed.

It wasn’t enough for me to try my best. I wanted to beat everyone else. And, much of my self-image was built (and smashed) on my successes (and lack of). I saw others as competition to defining who I was. I hope to counteract culture and drill into their heads and hearts that they can’t always be #1. It’s not always about how you compare to others. It’s more about doing what you can do, the best you can do it. And, let the results fall where they may. Listen, don’t get me wrong. I am all about a winner and a loser. But, I champion the distinction between how you perform and who you are!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

I hope you can fold a few of these into your parenting verbiage and see lasting Godly qualities into your children.

What are some of your mama mantras? Goodness, I’m thankful that we can learn from each other and share best practices. I need all the help I can get!

Blessings as you are intentional today to what comes out of your mouth!

amy ruth, writer