Have you seen the images on Facebook, trumpeting the amazing, lifelong, unbreakable bond between mothers and sons?
Here are some quotes I’ve seen on these photos:
- “There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and son.”
- “The bond between mother and son… remains unchanged by time or distance”
- “My son is a promise that I will have a friend forever!”
- “There is nothing stronger than the love between a mother & son.”
- “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.“
Christian mom, have you ever thought (when you read these things) that you’re being lied to, and that your emotions are being preyed upon?
Now, there’s a piece of truth in each, of course.
I’m not some unfeeling monster here trying to say there’s nothing unique and beautiful about the mother-son relationship.
The love between mothers and sons is amazing! Wonderful! Beginning in the womb, and then at the breast, moms are the first to capture their sons’ hearts. We hold their hands while they learn to walk, and wrap them tight when they cry as they skin their knees and learn hard lessons of preadolescence. They come to us with giggles and snuggles and compliments.
Sons are a wonderful gift!
But, the next time you see one of these pictures with a heart-grabbing quote telling you how nothing will ever change and how your son will always be your sweet little baby boy, ask yourself if it is actually true in light of the very first few verses that tell us about the first family, and God’s plans for the world.
DARE TO ASK: IS IT REALLY, BIBLICALLY TRUE?
In Genesis 2:24, He laid out the end game for mothers and sons:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
The truth is this:
A Facebook image with an infant’s chubby hand wrapped tightly around his mom’s finger is not the complete story, and we would be fools to expect that it will stay that way.
As Christian women, we need to reckon with the biblical truth that from the beginning of their lives, the whole plan– the DESIGN– is for our sons to LEAVE.
Not only will they leave, but should they marry, they will hold fast to their wife, and become ONE with her.
That is definitely more intimate, more special, and stronger, than the still-special, still-strong, but not-the-same love he shares with his mom.
It is a lie that the bond between a mother and son remains unchanged for all of time. And it is a lie that there is no stronger bond.
Frankly, even without a wife, my son’s bond and love for Christ ought to be higher and better than his love for me.
PERSONALIZING THIS TRUTH
There are higher loves we should pray that our sons experience than the one they share with us. It does not diminish the fact that we share a wonderful loving relationship with our sons, but it ought to encourage us to be honest in our expectations of what’s coming in our relationship.
I’m the mom of 5-going-on-6 boys. I can’t *TELL* you how much I love them, and how excited I am to meet our sixth son, Luke, in just a few weeks. I LOVE being a mom of many boys!! (I love our eight-year-old daughter like crazy too, but this post is all about boys…) Our sons have been a great delight of my heart, and I am so thankful for the times God has given me to share with them!
But I believe this truth about moms & sons is often overlooked.
I don’t want to live in a fantasy land, and set myself up for depression or bitterness when each of our sons does exactly what God built him to do: leave our home, in the pursuit of greater loves (with his God and with his wife).
Sadly, I think too many women:
- hold unmet expectations of affection, deep relationship, and neediness that they’re still wanting their adult sons to meet, and
- place guilt and pressure on sons who they never really expected would leave.
With that in mind, I think this means 4 things for us as Christian mothers of sons:
1- WE LOVE OUR SONS DEEPLY
Of course, we love deeply!
But if we live with the awareness of points 2 & 3, our selfish tendency might be to hold ourselves back– to protect ourselves from pain. As moms, though God has designed us to love DEEPLY.
2- WE DON’T TRY TO KEEP THEM AS OUR LITTLE BOYS
We are raising future HUSBANDS, future FATHERS, future LEADERS of our world. When we take the “always my little boy” approach, it stunts their growth and it sets us up for future sorrow:
- either because they will become a man and break our hearts by leaving because we had faulty expectations
- or because they stay a little boy and break our hearts by never leaving and maturing into manhood, like many of the modern unemployed “adultescents” who still live at home, playing video games.
It is neither biblical nor wise to treat our sons as perpetual boys. Doing so ruins their trajectory, and hurts the hearts of everyone involved.
3- WE RAISE THEM TO BE MEN
We would be foolish to coddle them or protect them from the realities of life.
We don’t shy away from topics they will encounter as men. Instead, we PURPOSEFULLY pour in as much wisdom as we can *before* they leave, recognizing that we only have a limited time to do so.
- We teach them to respect women, no matter what they’re wearing or how they’re acting.
- And though none of us really *wants* to talk about porn with our sons, we do it. Like Solomon, we talk about the real danger of the seductive woman & why it’s foolish to fall into her traps.
- We talk about business ethics, hard choices, avoiding get-rich-quick schemes, and the value of honest, hard work.
- We talk about the lure of drunkenness and the inevitable foolishness that comes when you give in.
4- WE RAISE THEM WITH THE GOAL OF LEAVING
When they are young, they should hear often of their future as husbands, fathers, and hard-working men. In addition to plenty of time working alongside dad (in his job, or in the yard, or as he goes to help another family move, etc.), they should spend time around honorable, hard-working, honest men.
Our sons should be raised with an understanding of their purpose– where they fit in the world, and how they will grow into manhood.
We don’t hold them back from opportunities to risk, learn, grow, try, and stretch their legs… even when those things will take them farther from us. If they are ready and mature enough to try, we should let them.
Even though it means that they are moving *AWAY* from us.
We “train them in the way they should go”– according to their “bent”… looking at how God has made them, and helping them to identify how they might glorify God, and provide for a future family, with the talents, skills, and gifts God has given them.
IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE:
- How does this approach compare/contrast with the ideas you’ve heard from culture (even from other Christians)?
- Have you had sons leave home? How did that process look for you? Are there things you did (or feel you could have done differently) to prepare for their departure?