Mother and Sons ~ from Me to We

On one of my homeschool yahoogroups the moms were discussing how to relate to boys.

They're different.

Sometimes boys want to talk about things that females are not so interested in. We agreed that often our eyes glaze over, or we get grossed out and just have no connection to the topics they are wanting to talk about.

Been there.

But I remembered something I read a while back. It was about deeply connecting to my children to make them feel loved. It said the first thing I should do every morning when we first meet was to look deeply into their eyes, stop everything...give them my attention and love. Something about the way the author wrote that and it's impact on a child made me take it to heart and practice.

Today I was reminded of that.

Sometimes we have to FAKE IT TO MAKE IT.

I really want to connect to my 3 sons. I want them to *want* to talk to me and feel connected to me and that their world matters to me! Knowing what I want at the back end of this journey together...closeness, I have to fake interest sometimes. And to do so, I ask questions...trying to engage myself. I look them in the eye and take a moment with them. A little interest goes a long way. Sometimes I even do find a spot of interest for me and then...grace...efforts rewarded and genuine connections bless us.

Because if I don't take interest in them, they'll look for approval elsewhere. They'll come to see me as a roadblock, a dead end. "Don't go down that road it leads to no where...go somewhere else." I don't want what my disinterest will result in. It sends a message and disconnects us from one another.

My active listening will make our relationship better and that's ultimately what I want. In modeling that, I model to them that their interests matter and that they can have a relationship with a woman that respects their interests and HOPEFULLY it will lead them to model the same generous respect to others...perhaps to their future wife? When I make it not about me and my interest, it is my intention to not only make it about US and our parent/child relationship, but to encourage them to be the same "engager" to others. If not, then it's all about them. We must move past selfishness.

In all good relationships we must move from a ME mentality to a WE mentality. Finding a way to do so is a worthwhile venture, one to dedicate my attention to ... going above the snips and snails and puppy dog tails...

I really needed to remember that today and to re-embrace that. And what is that, in a nutshell? It's attention - giving myself over the act of listening in a bid to instill/model virtue. LISTENING is a lost art and a virtue of charity, generosity and selflessness. It belongs in family life and has no gender boundaries.

I thank those moms for reminding me and recommitting me to keep that end in mind!

Holy Family, +JMJ+, pray for us.


Cathy LeBlanc said...

definitely true! I think as wives, it helps to remember to apply this to our husbands as well...I know I sometimes struggle to follow the conversation with my husband because of the gender thing, as well. Thanks for reminding us to step out of ourselves a bit to make sure we meet the needs of those we love!

Nadja Magdalena said...

Oh yes...and I agree with Cathy about including husbands in this, as they are less obviously needy and therefore more easily overlooked!

Also, I think that sometimes it is the relationship between a boy and his father that needs to be helped and encouraged by the mother. Little boys who feel at ease with mom don't always feel that dad is as emotionally accessible. My boys turn to me automatically, and I have to encourage both them and my husband to connect a bit more than just doing things together like going swimming or shooting.

Jenny said...

Allison, this speaks right to my momma heart. My boy is so different from my girls, as he should be. The challenge is for me to be a differnt momma to him, the momma he needs. He has different ideas and interests and you are right, if he does not get my attention, he will go somewhere else to get it. Thank you for this reminder, you a loving momma of 3 of the great mystery I call boy.

Jamie Jo said...

This was sooo good and soooo true!

I agree 100%

Sometimes I can feel him slipping away right before my eyes. It usually just takes me taking the time to play a game with him or making him sit and talk with a snack, or bringing just him shopping with me (he loves it when it's just him)

Another reason I'm sooo happy we homeschool, I think it's easier to catch it, don't you?

Kathleen's Catholic said...

Thanks for reminding me just how important it is to listen. Sometimes it can be very hard to entertain a boy's conversation, particularly when I have lots of to-dos on my mind. Also, I am the only female in the house (except for a few felines), and sometimes I feel outnumbered and long for girl talk. But you are sooo right! Thanks for explaining the crux of mothering boys so beautifully, Allison.

Gardenia said...

that's what I have read too, that it is so important to make that connection with the child, which requires 100 % total undividued attention. I read that you must give your child a minimum 20 minutes a day of absolutely uninterrupted focused attention each day for the child to feel connection nurtured and loved by the parent, and that if you do that, you will/may find tht the child has had his fill (love tank is full) and he/she can now happily play be him- or her-self. but that if you only give half hearted or interrupted attention to the child, he or she can remain restless all day.

+JMJ+ said...

Hi friends and thanks for your comments.

Cathy and Nadja I agree with applying this to our husbands. Often, I give mine the short end of the stick and rather than looking deeply into his eyes, I rush on to the next job....and like Nadja mentions there is much I want my children to hear from his lips...Dad's are the true teachers of authentic masculinity.

Kathleen, Jamie, Jenny I feel like we're having girl talk right now! :) Would you all, in your mercy, pray for a mom in my neigborhood who is dealing with a disconnect with her oldest son in the most painful of ways?

Thank you all dear ladies.

+JMJ+ said...

Gardenia - I think you and I must have read the same book...the love tank was certainly in it!

I so notice, especially when they were little how they needed that tank filled or the day took on a sour note.

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful and heartfelt post. Your words cut to my heart, and I'm grateful! I'll be sharing this with my husband, also, and look forward to growing more connected with our children in such a simple way.

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