Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Sons

Last night Jacob called me to tell me about his first day of classes.  It took me by surprise.  He’s not a talker.

He’s such a great kid and has barely given us a lick of trouble, but he is very, very quiet.  Always has been.  Even as a little boy he would just sit there, everyone around him chattering on and he’d say nothing.  I could tell he wasn’t holding back or feeling like he couldn’t interject.  He simply did not have anything to say.

Once he got to be older I tried to get him to talk more.  I’d prompt him and sometimes give him three or four possible responses to choose from.

Me: Jacob, how was you day?

Jacob: Fine.

Me: Try saying more.

Jacob: (thinking for a long time) I don’t have anything else to say.

Me: Try something like, “I enjoyed lunch,” or “I had to do chores I didn’t like,” or, “I’m hoping to watch a show later.”

No reply.

It was rough.  I finally decided that I was doing more harm than good.  I was putting pressure on him and getting nowhere.


During this time I heard Norm Wakefield speak.  He shared his thoughts on mothers and sons and it opened my eyes to my role as a mother of this young man.  My job was not to correct him, but to show him what it is like to be respected, to teach him to protect and be honored in a godly way

James and I talked about it and agreed that it should be James’ role to teach Jacob.  Each morning I would tell James what I needed Jacob (who was around age 12 at the time) to do around the house or in school and James would give Jacob instructions.  My role was to reinforce what James had said.  I began to work hard at giving Jacob room to make manly decisions.  He and I do a lot of projects together.  I started asking him his opinions on how we should build things.  I would say, “I’m not sure which boards to use for support here.  Jacob, what do you think?”  Often his ideas were foolish and immature, of course.  But if there would be no harm in it, I would always try his ideas.  Then we could talk about what didn’t work and why.

Slowly (VERY slowly) Jacob started to develop skills and confidence.  I taught the girls that their role in their brothers’ lives is to be admiring and respectful.  They began to ask even the little boys to help with things that required muscles and man power.  Then they would say things like, “Thank you so much.  It is wonderful to have such a strong brother.”

Our goal isn’t to puff up the boys, but to encourage them to be men.

As for my quiet Jacob, I began to see a tiny spark.  For a guy that didn’t say much in a one-on-one setting, he was oddly comfortable speaking to a group.  He would pray aloud in large groups and share his thoughts in church.  Then one day he expressed an interest in doing a solo for the community choir that we participate in each year.  I was shocked.  Singing in front of others is scary, but he said he didn’t feel nervous at all.  He auditioned and immediately got the solo.  The night of the performance he and I were alone for a few minutes.  We were both doing solos and I was nervous.  I turned to him and asked if he was nervous too.  “No ma’am,” he replied, “I feel great about it.”

It was more confirmation to me that this boy had a gift.  Anyone that wasn’t nervous about singing for the first time in front of a huge crowd has some kind of gift that I will never understand.  Even though I have done a lot of solos, I get really nervous every time.  Jacob was calm as a cucumber.

Since then he has done more singing, more speaking, more reaching out to new people.  I watched him last week as he sat in the back of the choir with 5 older men around him and they were all talking like they were in an exclusive club.  It was obvious from a distance that the other men welcomed Jacob in and enjoyed his company.  I could only stare, wondering in amazement at how my little quiet boy had become a gifted young man.

He has a lot to learn still.  But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and there are bright things ahead.

I encourage you, if you are raising sons, to step back and be quiet.  Ask the Lord to show you his gifts and gently nurture them.  It’s a fine line you walk as the mom… are still his authority and have many things to teach your son.  But his future includes being a husband and father and he knows that you don’t have the tools to teach him that.  You do, however, have the tools to teach him how a godly husband and father should be treated.

My other four sons will have different gifts.  I continually ask the Lord to show them to me so that I can nurture those gifts.  I watch for little signs that they crave being the protector and provider and I give them opportunities to do that.  I still discipline them and teach them, but I am careful to show them respect.  I don’t give them false praise, but real admiration for their efforts.

As a mother, these are a few of the things I can have my sons do to help them understand manhood: carry the groceries, mowing the yard, pulling weeds, killing bugs, small appliance repair, taking out the trash, hosing down the house, painting, feeding animals, carrying heavy items, moving furniture, taking books off the shelf for you to dust, teaching little brother, figuring out a problem, shaking out rugs, burying things, unlocking doors, holding the door open, letting ladies go first, digging, washing the car, leading the prayer at mealtime.

Moms—treat your sons in such a way that when they are grown they will recognize honor and know how to lead.

“You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God”. ~ 1Peter 3:4

“The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.” ~ Proverbs 23:24

Linking to Encouraging Words Wednesday


  1. Oh Lisa,
    This is GLORIOUS!!! So much wisdom! So very, very precious! What a blessed young man to have such a godly mother! 🙂

  2. This is an incredible post, Lisa. I have no sons, but I live with a man who’ll always have that little boy inside. I was a disrespectful, hateful daughter who was ashamed of her father after his multiple extramarital affairs. This attitude took me into marriage and caused a great deal of dishonor on my part in the first two decades of my marriage. Once I began to teach about marriage I began to learn about respecting my husband and that God had put certain characteristics in my man that He wanted there. Reading this post gives me faith in two powerful and beautiful words: divine order.

    Thank you. I will be sharing this post!

  3. Beautiful truth beautifully expressed. While girls may be easier to relate to, our boys make a certain part of our mama hearts go pitter patter. Few things are sweeter than a son.

  4. Oh I love my boys. I love it when their faces light up when I ask them to help me with something. And I always try to remember to tell them what big boys they are for helping their Momma!
    Great post today. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    Have a fabulous day!

  5. Kelley, you do have a son-in-law and you could do your daughter a great favor by treating him with respect. All of the men in our lives need that. I love your testimony. I was also lost when it came to honoring my husband when we were first married. Thank God for His mercies!

    Anne, Becky and Kim…..yes! Boys are such a blessing. Kim, you are so right about their little faces. There’s not much that will melt my heart more than that.


  6. Lisa I have no sons, only daughters but I can tell that you are a phenomenal mother! No wonder you have 9 children, you know just what to do… Myself, I have a lot of difficulty with 4 girls sometimes, today has been a particularly difficult day…. sometimes I always wrong!
    I am in awe of your patience and your faith.
    xo Susan

  7. Great post Lisa. Passing this one on to the hs group.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in this area! I had not thought about this aspect of raising a son before. I’m so thankful that God works through others to help teach us what we need to know!

  9. That is beautiful. I cried like a baby. I have 3 sons. All little boys 5, 3, 1, but see that yearning already in my oldest son to be admired and respected. Thank you for this post!!!

  10. What a beautiful reminder of what men need –

  11. …and what we are required to give them…

  12. great post Lisa, lots of food for thought for my 5 boys!

  13. Oh yes Lisa.

    I learned the hard way with my older son…but we did do this with him around age 16 but wish I had known this sooner. With our 6 year old son, we are doing alot of this already and will continue this path with him.


  14. Thanks for this – I am a pretty recent reader of your blog but your posts have already been a blessing to me several times.

    We had one son who was 2.5 when we adopted my great-niece and nephew who are very close to the same age as my son. Now my (biological) son is almost 5 and the girl is almost 4.5 and the youngest boy is 3.5. At what age do you think is appropriate to turn it over to your husband for all the teaching? Even with ones this young? That would be fine with me as my husband is a MUCH better teacher anyways. Just wondered if you thought there was a certain age or sign of maturity for that to happen.


  15. I so needed this. I have a super quiet son that I just never feel close to because he doesn’t talk. Makes me so sad. How do you get close to someone who doesn’t have a thought in their head to share? I have no idea.
    So which teaching of Wakefield’s did you listen to/read? I looked at all the pages in the bookstore and didn’t see anything about mothers and sons.

  16. Ginger,
    My husband is quiet which has been difficult for me to get used to and I am still trying to get used to this after 13 yrs. It’s hard to argue with or have a discussion with someone who doesn’t give feedback either verbally or in body language. LOL But really he just doesn’t have a lot to say. Over the years, God has helped me see that my husband communicates his love to me in his service. He has a quiet and gentle spirit and isn’t very opinionated which is the opposite of me. But it’s the little things that he does for me that has drawn us close.


  17. Lisa @thebeadgirl :

    Beautiful and timely. Thank you sweet friend.

  18. Thank you for this post! I am expecting my first boy (I have 4 daughters)…this is such valuable advice. I want my son to grow up to be a strong, godly, gentleman. Sounds like your’s is doing just that!

  19. You’re so right about the fact that I DO have a son now, a son-in-love. Though he lives thousands of miles away, he not only deserves my respect as his wife’s mother, he deserves my respect as my brother in the Lord. Years ago at a School of Missions, I heard an elder statesman speak on that thought. Because I’m older than my children doesn’t mean I’m superior to them. God help me to never cause my children to stumble.

  20. Simply put, “Thank you, Lisa.” I grew up with much disrespect between my parents, so since I’ve been married, I’ve focused on being repectful to my husband. I hadn’t really thought of this for my sons. Now I have something to really think over and talk about with my hubby to see how we can do this and have our two daughters do this for their three brothers. Thank you, sweet lady.

  21. Dana, that is so like my husband. He’s so quiet and not opinionated like me at all (just as well!) Our older son (18) has been a wonderful son – sometimes, he was hard work, but he and I just ‘click’. He’s more like me and we like to discuss the same things – history, politics, news etc.

    For me, communication is much harder with our daughters! They’ll chatter all day, but to really talk… boy, it’s a struggle. They’re 14 and 16, and I have to really work at trying to get them to open up to me in a one-to-one situation. I’m so glad we homeschool, or I feel I’d never get close to them at all. I try at least once a week to set time aside when there’s only me and one of them. I tell them they can say anything to me, about anything. Sometimes, we get somewhere, and I find out things that were on their hearts, but often times, it’s more like ‘blood out of a stone’. Oh well, everyone is different.

    What a pleasure for you, Lisa, to see your son blossom in this way. Apart from the joy we have in Christ, there’s no greater joy a mother can have…

  22. Lisa, I wish you lived next door to me! I have seven kids – 4 girls (11, 10, 8, 1) and 3 boys (6, 5, 3). I would love so much to have someone like you to learn from – I often feel like I am guessing as to how to raise these children (but shhh!, that is my little secret =-) ). I really appreciate the things you share with us on your blog. If I can’t have you for a neighbor at least I can read your blog!


  23. What a nice post. Is it ok to link to it ~ I’d love to share it?

    Loved especially this part:
    “Our goal isn’t to puff up the boys, but to encourage them to be men.”

    I often see a lack of confidence in grown up men and wonder how much of it was influenced by the women in their lives. Great post!

  24. Please, another one about girls? I have a four-year-old daughter who is struggling already, and we’re just headed into a “trial” year of homeschooling. I want to find a way to address the issues I see, like you did with your son. She loves projects, which starts me thinking…

  25. I had daughters instead of sons but I can see the wisdom in this post. I’ll forward the link to my daughter who had three sons. It’s so important that our young mothers are taught from someone who has actually walked their road. Thank you for being faithful.

  26. Oh, I absolutely love this post. I needed to hear it, too. I only have 2 boys, ages 17 & 16. But lately, I’ve really been catching myself telling them what to do, in a know-it-all sort of way, and realizing that I have to stop. They have to make their own decisions. That’s SO hard cause I can, on occasion, have some control issues. But God’s faithful and He’s gently leading me to shut my mouth. I do have them do things for me that sometimes I could do, but because they’re both taller (and one is bigger) than me, I try to remember to step out of my I-can-do-it-all mentality. Your post just reinforces what I believe the Lord’s working on in my life. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  27. This just blessed my socks off! Both of my boys are outspoken and …wild…BUT I may get a quiet one someday 🙂

  28. Lisa,
    Thank you for this wonderful post filled with wisdom; “treat your sons in such a way that when they are grown they will recognize honor and know how to lead.” I could not agree more with your words. Bravo!

  29. Thanks for touching on a subject I have been thinking about lately. Now to figure out the a way of execution to help my little boy begin learning how to become a man.

  30. Again, I’m blown away… I have 3 boys, no girls. Km waaaaayyy missing the mark! You’re. So intentional about your training, and raising, and well, I just try to make it through the day. Sigh….