but the older woman is what I have become. Funny, hasn't it been said that you're only as old as you think you are? If that's true, I'm still somewhere in my 20's. With the wisdom of my 40's of course. Weird, right?
Anyway, older woman status has been driven home in several ways of late. Most recently has been the requests of younger moms with sons asking for advice in raising sons. I don't yet have an empty nest. My oldest will be 18 in July. My middle just turned 17. And my youngest will be 14 in two weeks. I still know myself to be firmly ensconced in the work of "raising sons."
But I understand their questions, because when my boys were toddlers, preschoolers, elementary, and middle school, I was always looking for a mom just slightly ahead of me to ask how she did thus and so or what to do when the son did this and that. The questions come both from bewilderment over what in the world to do as much as from a need for affirmation that you are not raising the next Manson.
It can be bleak as a mom to know to whom to turn and ask in the noise of parenting articles proliferating in magazines, books, and social media. Fortunately, I was able to find a spiritual mentoring mom who took me firmly by the chin and told me to raise those boys to be "assets in the kingdom and not liabilities!" It became a mantra for me.
Seeing a 4 year old have a tantrum might have an element of cuteness to it (oh he's just tired), but is that what I want to see when he is 14 and bigger than me? A 6 year old that can not control his emotions we chalk up to immaturity (and it is), but if he is not taught how to control his emotions, than what will be the result at 16 years old (dangerous, reckless, lack of self controlled behavior)? Based on her counsel, I began to filter my decisions through the long view questions of, "Am I willing to see 'this' behavior from this son when he is a young man, a young husband, a young dad?" "What is the Biblical principle happening here?"
Long view parenting means that we don't parent for the moment but we parent for the lifetime of that child who will eventually be required to take a place in society as either an asset or a liability.
It was valuable advice and this woman is still one that I can go to for those questions that plague the moms of older sons--jobs, girls, cars, college, life choices, etc. I imagine that even when that empty nest comes, she will be a beacon of counsel for how to interact with my adult sons.
So now the younger moms are coming to me with similar questions and I have to quickly blink my eyes to realize how rapidly the years have passed and although I still feel very much in the thick of it, I have the Biblical responsibility to do as my spiritual mentoring mom did for me--to speak the bold truth in firm love.
Speaking bold truth in firm love--yep, that's what I'll blog about next time. Put on your steel toed shoes.