No, I didn’t really want to keep him little, but I sure had a hard time letting him turn 13. The same feelings I had when he turned 5 re-emerged as he met this birthday–my little boy was growing up. Thirteen is a birthday that signals manhood. Not easy for us mamas.
However, this isn’t a birthday we haven’t prepared for. For an entire year, Blake has been planning his birthday trip. For years before that, we’ve been planning his exit out of childhood and into the world of men.
When Blake was 8 years old, I listened to Dr. S.M. Davis’ What to Expect from a 12 year Old. I was pleasantly surprised to see my son was already on the track to becoming the man Dr. Davis speaks of. It was thrilling to know we were doing something right!
Since that time, we’ve made even more of an effort to prepare our son for manhood. This birthday feels like the proving ground for that preparation.
So, what does this change look like for our dear son? Come, take a walk with me through his life…
*A man of trustworthiness. His chores have become more complex and more perfected as he has aged. What used to be “good enough” no longer is. We expect his tasks to be done to completion and done well. As he has shown himself to be trustworthy with small things, we have added larger responsibilities to his plate. He now baby-sits for us and is allowed to be an authority over his younger siblings when we are not available.
*A man who leads. We have always taught our son that he who leads best, leads by example. Blake gets right in there and works alongside his siblings and anyone else he is in leadership over. In a world that assumes the higher you climb, the less you do, we want our son to turn that paradigm on its head and be the one who climbs higher and does more.
*A man of action. It is important to us that we raise children who see needs and meet those needs without being asked. While this is generally a difficult thing for boys who tend to get tunnel-vision, it is imperative that as men, they learn to think outside themselves and be aware of their surroundings.
*A man of integrity. We expect our son to do the right thing even when no one is looking. We highly praise and award integrity in our household when we catch a glimpse of it. We want our children to know that it is not for men’s praise we do things, but for the glory of God, Who knows all we do, say, and think.
*A man who’s mind is set on the things of men. Our son has gradually been putting away the things of boys. The toys and other paraphernalia of boyhood are being replaced by hobbies and interests that will serve him in his manhood. The Legos have lost their luster (except for the WWII ones from Vision Forum) as have computer games and the like. These things have been replaced by coin collecting, an interest in World War II (thus the fascination with the building sets from VF), and other manly pursuits.
This past weekend I watched my son receive a national heroism award from the Boy Scouts of America for saving his little brother’s life back in August of 2009. I did not share the event here because it was too difficult for me at the time. We lost Emily at 7 months of age. Her younger brother, at the age of 7 months, choked on a cracker he had found hiding under a crack in a door. I was paralyzed with fear and frantically asked Blake what I should do, knowing he’d had CPR training in Scouts. He calmly told me what to do, I obeyed his every order, the cracker dislodged, and I sat there thanking my son through tears of relief as I rocked his little brother.
A million thoughts went through my head in the seconds it took for me to cry out and for Blake to respond. I am grateful to the Lord for His working through Blake’s life in order to spare Micah’s. Blake didn’t think it was any big deal. He was just doing what he was supposed to do.
He was just being a man.