I wanted to raise my son to be a gentleman. A man of integrity, kindness, gentleness, self-control . . . basically a guy with the fruits of the Spirit.
I had good intentions, but as I watch my son growing taller and hear his voice deepening, I realize I didn’t do it . . . well, not like I expected. I mean, I tried telling him what he needed to know.
I wanted to make these things important, but I don’t think I did—my husband did.
Don’t get me wrong, we make decisions together and discuss family challenges during dates at the grocery store, hushed conversations in the bathroom, or pillow talk that inevitably turns to the kids.
We want our son to have a relationship with God and to value church, so we take him to church and Sunday school. He attends the weekly youth group. Our family discusses what the Bible teaches during daily conversations. If this was the perfect recipe, I could say I did my best (well, I had some off days), but my recipe wasn’t complete.
My husband attends church faithfully next to me, serves where needed often giving up an evening each week, and shares what he’s learned at church in dinner table discussions. He shows humility when he seeks forgiveness, love as he willingly does the most mundane chores, and genuine growth in his walk with God as he shares what God is showing him and prays aloud for our family.
I see where his influence shines in our daily routines.
The evenings my son eats an early supper before his practices, we share the kitchen while I make supper for the rest of the family. As I am stirring at the stove and asking about his day, he suddenly goes quiet. When I turn around, I see he paused to ask God’s blessing on his dinner—just the way my husband does when he comes home late some evenings.
I wanted to raise my son to put God first, but my husband showed him how.
When I go shopping with my son, he always opens the door for me. Sometimes I continue the conversation as I head in the store, and it takes me several paces before I realize he isn’t there—he’s back at the door holding it for the next group of shoppers like his father does.
I wanted to raise my son to be considerate of others, but my husband did it.
I wanted to teach my son to be partners with his future wife. I want him to share the weight of the home with her. I want him to know how important it is, but I don’t know if I ever explained this in a way that makes sense.
I do know that as my son clears his plate away after supper and thanks me as my husband has done for nearly every supper for the last 20 years, that it’s not a reflection of my desires but my husband’s consistent modeling. I wanted to teach this character trait, but I didn’t.
My husband did.
Yes, I am sure my words shaped him, too, and hopefully, my serving and loving example has gone a long way to creating the man he will be. I see it when he is quick to fast forward through a PG-13 scene, when he strives to be on time everywhere he goes, or when he shares an answer to prayer he marvels at. I treasure the ways I see him responding to my leading, but even more, I treasure the ways he follows my husband’s example.
Before you roll your eyes and comment, “Just wait until he turns 16!” let me tell you that I understand the teen years strain the parent-child relationship to near breaking points. I cringe knowing some of his peers will be strong influencers and not all for the better. He might assert his independence in ways that frustrate us, and storms may be ahead. Maybe or maybe not.
For now, I marvel at what he’s learning and pray God will strengthen him in the years ahead.
And I am thankful.
When I admire the faithful, kind, and loving young man my son is turning into more and more each day, I can’t help but admire my husband at the same time. After all, my son reflects my husband as my husband reflects Jesus more and more, and it’s a blessed sight.
I couldn’t be happier that I didn’t do it my way.