Being About the Things of Men {A Son Turns 13}

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Despite his mama’s attempts to keep him little, he grew up.

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.

21 Comments on Being About the Things of Men {A Son Turns 13}

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21 thoughts on “Being About the Things of Men {A Son Turns 13}

  1. Awesome! Happy 13th birthday Blake! What a hero for saving his baby brother….can’t wait to hear about all the wonderful things for him ahead! And happy giving-birth day Amy!

  2. I often think of our children’s birthdays as milestones for us parents as well. I look back at their past birthdays and it never fails, I cry. I hate that my children are growing up!! The best thing that can come of it though is that we can be proud of the ladies and gentlemen they are becoming and thank God that He is guiding them through us into being what He wants them to be. I know you must be so proud of him! Happy Birthday!!

  3. Such a great post!! I need to pull that tape back out! I have four boys ages 18, 14, 6 and 2. What a blessing to be the mom to future men! We have already had parents of daughters inquire about our oldest son. It amazes me, but others are seeing what God is doing in our son….and it IS all God.

  4. Dear Amy,

    You are raising an extraordinary young man. It is rare in today’s world to hear of a young man that is so mature, selfless, focused, and certain in his faith. You have much to be proud of and grateful for. Your story, of Blake’s wise and heroic act to assist in saving his brother from choking, was very moving. You have a wonderful family!
    Janice from Rock Port, MO

  5. Happy Birthday to Blake! It sounds like he is growing into an amazing man. Such a blessing! Praise God for that! You must be so proud of him for maintaining calm in such a frightening situation and saving his brother. So amazing.

  6. Amy, I read yours from a distance (not being, currently, a mom) and pass on much to my Hschooling daughter for her six. This one caught MY eye. We’ve, soninlaw and I, been working together on Taylor’s Year of Passage. The two are joining us for the last pre-Rite adventure (fishing, glider, Marine chaplain, urban aid center, tour BIOLA, men’s manhood with Jesus testimony meeting, stuff like that. You and your readers might be interested in how granddad is a central part of this passage. (The book someday will be Generational Fathering). My blog post,, way back in November followed the five day wilderness trek (including my 70th at 10,000 feet) where Matt and I watch this young MAN cross the threshold. His birthday is in one month. Big event. I’ll be posting it as it progresses. MEANTIME…MY LETTER TO THE GSONS focuses on one on your list, INTEGRITY.

  7. Beautiful!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I am sending a link to this post to my husband to read. We have a new 8 yr old son. We are working hard at helping him to become a man of God as he gets older…thank you for the inspiration.

    Your son sounds wonderful!!! Happy Birthday to him!!!

    Building Home with Him,

    Mary Joy

  8. Very interesting ideas of boys to men. My first son is only 19 months so it’s hard to picture him at 13, but I have already decided the young man I want to raise will open doors for all women, smile while helping, help in the kitchen as well as the yard. I wondered if you really are literal with the toys going away, or just mean over time? Does 13 represent a job, like a paper route? Or chores for money? Do you begin teaching about money and things for young men at this age or have you been talking about it all along? My first three children are daughters and I just was curious a little on the boy training. Love your postings :)

    • The only toys Blake plays with are Legos. He builds some amazing creations, and they often have something behind them…like his love of WWII. It’s not something we’ve forced upon him, but rather encouraged as we’ve seen him grow less and less fond of “playing.” We’ve said things like, “It’s okay that you cannot think of any toys you would like for your birthday because that simply means you are becoming a man who has more grown up interests. Perhaps you could ask for something that goes along with your coin collection or your enjoyment of WWII?”

      13 does mean getting paid to babysit his younger sibs (if over an hour). So, yes, in that sense it does equal the ability to make money. We do not pay for chores (I’ll write more on that another day).

      Money matters have been taught all along the way. Nothing is really “thrust upon” our children because I’m very dialogue oriented. 😉

  9. Another post that is perfect for me~ our son (our oldest) is turning 13 on March 3rd and I’m having a hard time with it as well! i just don’t want our kids to grow up! I love having our kids be “kids” and the innocence that comes with having everyone be “little”. Sigh….it’s nice to know that someone else is going through this this week as well! :) So happy…but unsure about what it means to have a 13yo! :-)

  10. Back again with a nudge to Lisa and other posters (all gals so far). “From Boys to Men” by Stephenson,is a treasure of guidance from a therapist/sociologist view. Majors in Rites of Passage. I commend that and “Raising a Modern Day Knight” (Lewis) for dad’s guide books. If no dad on hand, these will sharpen your understanding of the nascent man in your family. I use both in writing my own book(Generational Fathering).

  11. What a great post! Happy birthday Blake.
    Thankyou for the reminder that we aren’t raising kids we are raising up men and woman…what sort of men and women they will become depends so much on what we do with them now.

  12. I too have a boy that just turned 13 and it was a hard birthday. I can see some manly traits in him and it just takes my breath away that God chose me to be his mom.

  13. Amy,
    I found your blog in the past month or two and I have loved many of the posts you have written. This one brought tears to my eyes. Your son helps me reflect on my son and I have been watching him transform into a young man, he is also a Scout. My son will be turning 13 in June, as will my stepson.
    You have so much to be thankful for and proud of in your son turning into such a fine young man! You wrote so much of what I have been thinking about for the past year approaching this birthday. The importance of not following the world’s eye rolling response to teenage craziness but yet pour into him, love him, teach him to communicate, be responsible and pray he is a man of integrity. I will be sharing a post on my blog once the birthday’s have taken place, I have some secrets in store for them both! 😉
    Thank you for writing and sharing the true feelings of a mom of a young man!