What Every Son Needs to Hear

He stands eyeball to eyeball with me now, growing so fast, his pants hem and this momma can’t keep up. He flexes muscles and is quick-witted, he is smart and wants to know more about this thing called the Stock Market. Last week he lost his last baby tooth and I lost another piece of my baby.

When the ultrasound wand confirmed we were having a boy, I cried and whispered to my husband, “a son.” Because we all know about the dad and son relationship. But I didn’t know about the mother-son one and how this boy with his long dark lashes and tender heart would undo me.

Nearly every day for the past 11 years, he has touched my soul in some way. He is the first to ask “How was your day ?” and “Did you you sleep good?” or say “Momma, you look so pretty today.” He can also burp my name. So, there’s that.

11things

My son turns 11 tomorrow and there are 11 things I need to say to him:

You don’t have to fit in. The world expects you to act a certain way. Culture demands it. But it’s okay to be a square peg in a round hole, to look different, be yourself. It’s alright to chart your course to God’s plan, even when others might not understand it. Yes, you might feel odd or weird chasing it, but that’s okay, most world changers do.

You don’t have to give in. You already know about the pressure–to talk or dress a certain way, to disrespect adults or girls, to be like those that do. But you possess the strength and character to walk away, the Christ living in you will help you stand. You don’t have to give in.  But if you do…

You get second chances and third and fourth… You can start again. Every sunrise is a second chance to get it right, to say no, to say I’m sorry, to ask forgiveness, to make a new start. I want you to know that this is what God is about. He wants to give you as many chances as it takes, just don’t every stop taking them.

You don’t have to be tough (all the time). Boys are supposed to be rough and tough. Maybe you’ve heard that “real men don’t cry” and always wear a stiff upper lip. But I want you to know real men are tender, they care about others, and root for the underdog. They rush to open the door for elderly women and use their manners. They cry over poverty and when they grow up, they tuck their babies into bed.

You don’t need a girl (yet). Girls. They are everywhere and their influence can be intoxicating, you’ll discover that soon enough. I can’t wait to see the girl God brings into your life and I already pray for her. Become friends with Godly girls, but don’t be in a hurry to make them a girlfriend. That time will come, enjoy today.

You make me proud. If you didn’t do another thing, win another award, get another A, or an E in conduct, I want you to know I’m proud of the young man you’ve become. I love the way you love your sisters (most days). I love the way you are a good friend and listener to others. I love the way you give generously. I am proud of you, son.

You are a success if you love God and others. I don’t know what you will be when you grow up. I think an engineer or a millionaire, possibly a missionary pilot or an artist. The sky is your limit and it’s your choice. But no matter what you accomplish or don’t, in my eyes, you’re successful if you love God first and others second. Always remember this is true success.

You have great men in your life. God has given you amazing men to shadow. It doesn’t get better than your father and grandfathers. They love God and their families more than themselves and if you aren’t sure where to step next, look for their footprints.

You can always come home. No matter what happens in this life, what you do or don’t do, you always have a place with us. We might make you want to leave with our rules or ask you to because of your actions, but we won’t stop you from coming home. (must read for prodigal children)

You are loved. No matter how long those legs grow or how high I have to look up to you, you will always be mine. I can still wipe your tears and listen to your heart. I can still ground you and make you say your sorry (hopefully). No matter what you do or what happens in this life, you are mine and nothing can change that. If you never hear another word I say or choose not to listen, you must believe that you are loved deeply by your parents. But even more than we love you, you are loved by a God who sent His son for you. Don’t ever doubt it. Believe it. This life might bring great joy or sorrow, great wealth or loss, but you can make it because you have love. Make sure you give it away. It’s the best way to receive it.

And most of all, we say a lot by not saying anything at all. We can accomplish a lot by praying these words from Psalm 63:8, “Lord, please instill in my child a soul with a craving for You, a heart that clings passionately to You.”

Happy birthday, son.


Comments

  1. 2

    Katie O. says

    My son is 9 and a half, we’re going through so much right now and reading this all I can think is, YES YES YES! Thank you Kristen for another wonderfully written post!

  2. 3

    says

    My boy is 21 mos. and we are discovering how very different boys are from girls while watching him compared to his older sister. I just wrote about him falling. all. the. time. And how I’m nervous for all the ER visits that are in our near future.
    BUT I can also say that I agree with you about the mother-son relationship-I never expected it and am so grateful for it. He loves me! He loves to snuggle and tickle and play and it is so sweet and I wouldn’t trade having a boy for anything. Thanks for the heads up on what is coming in our future!

  3. 4

    says

    Well said, mother of a future man. He is very blessed to have you as his momma. Your wise words and caring heart have blessed me today.

  4. 5

    says

    LOVE it!

    My youngest son turned 11 in January, and he is still my cuddlier, the first to ask how I am, the one who says “I Love You” throughout the day.

    He is my “baby”, and while I am excited to see the teen and young man that he will become . . . oh how I don’t want my youngest to grow up.

    :) :) :)

  5. 6

    says

    I love your line “every sunrise is a second chance to get it right.” How true. My son is 20 years old and we have been wading through the prodigal teenage years that I felt certain we’d never face. Your advice is as pertinent for a 20 yr. old as it is for an 11 yr. old. Mothers of boys sometimes need an extra helping of grace.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  6. 8

    melissa says

    LOVE this! My oldest son’s birthday is today, too! He’s just five, though, and growing like a weed!

  7. 12

    Theresa says

    Yeah! I love this post. Thank you for your time and thank you for your link to Pastor Piper’s prodigal son restoration!!!

  8. 14

    Carolyn says

    Perfect timing as my oldest son turns 11 on Monday. Beautifully written, such encouraging words that ring true!

  9. 15

    Julie says

    You can always come home? My in-laws have made it very clear to my husband any time there has been the slightest disagreement between us, that he is welcome to move back home. If they truly cared about him woyldn’t they be rooting for his marriage? Encouraging him to work it out? Not letting him throw in the towel a couple months after the wedding? No you should not welcome your son “home” when he should be establishing his own home. Just an opinion from my own experience….

    • 15.1

      Terrell says

      Julie,

      You are correct in saying that your husband’s parents should not tell him to come home. I’m so sorry that they are presenting an incorrect and “easy” out for him. I sense that this is a definitely a hurtful point of contention with you as it should be.

      I know my wife and the point she is trying to make is that we will always love our son and be willing for him to be part of our life and family. It is my hope that we never encourage him to run home to “escape” problems that he should face up to or work out, including marriage. I am saying sprayer for you and your marriage today.

      Terrell Welch

  10. 16

    Alice says

    I am the mom of 3 rambunctious (7, 5, 3 yrs old) boys and loved reading this post. Praying that it touches your sons heart as much as it touched mine. Thank you for sharing! Being the youngest of 4 girls myself I have found this journey of raising boys to be a non stop adventure!

  11. 17

    says

    Beautiful Kristin. I have two sons. My oldest son and I have a very strained relationship. He is 13. We have always ‘butted heads’ a little but the older he gets the worse it gets. It causes many tears and many prayers. Thank you for this encouragement.

    • 17.1

      Nancie says

      Jenifer, I too had a strained relationship with my twin boys at that age. They are 22 now and we have a wonderful relationship. Hang in there. I believe it to be part of the journey. They pull away and then, as they become older and wiser, they come back.

  12. 20

    says

    A wonderfully written post that moved me. Thank you. You have a very handsome, bright looking son.
    My son is turning 8 in 10 days. I am getting more emotional day by day. I feel like I have so much to tell him, yet words are not enough to express my love.

  13. 21

    says

    Oh my goodness, you’ve got me full on crying here. I love your list. Boys are so amazing, aren’t they? The mother/son relationship I have with my 9 1/2 year old son has been one of the most precious gifts. The long eye lashes, the freckles, the way he out of the blue thanks me for things, his tender heart. Oh, I could go on and on. Thank you, this is so beautiful.

  14. 23

    says

    It is so hard to see your kids grow up and find out you are not as needed! Loved your blog!! My son is 9 and I can see little by little how he is maturing and becoming a young man! Great post!

  15. 24

    Angie says

    Beautiful! I have 2 sons and both are a delight, though not always easy! I truly struggle feeling all lovey dovey over one in particular, but he needs to hear these words also and now I have them in my toolkit to practice and look for opportunities to say! Thank you!

  16. 25

    Barb says

    You hit the most important things boys need to hear so very well! My boys are 28, 26 and 20 and all very different but each very much loved and appreciated. Sometimes tough or openly rebellious, sometimes tender and wanting very much to please mom–and God. I wouldn’t trade being a mother of boys for anything–even the hard stuff. Of course, I wouldn’t trade my daughter and daughter-in-law either. God bless all you moms of sons!

  17. 26

    says

    I didnt have any sons I just had two beautiful girls who I love very much. both of my girls grandsons along with grand daughters. Im proud of all my grand children. I want my grands sons to read kirsten wrote. My youngest grandson will stop what he is doing to thank a veteran for their service, this for me makes my chest swell for i am a veit nam vet.

  18. 27

    LauraW says

    Tears. I promptly shared the link to your blog with my 18.5 yr old son away at summer session of college. He’s our oldest. Our “baby” will be 13 on Saturday. I’ll be sharing it with him too, as well as our middle son.
    So true regardless of their age.

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        grandmaof4 says

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        I have one son and he is the light of my life. Now he has a son that reminds me so much of him when he was young. He also has three little girls that are wonderful.

  20. 29

    says

    I have a 3 year-old son. I decided some time ago that God sends a woman a son to sometimes fill the void of what she misses hearing from a husband. Adults get so busy and so used to one another that we stop saying and doing what we should to and for our spouse. My son says, “I love you, Mom,” for no reason and at often the oddest moments. We should all catch each other off guard with “I love yous” like that. He doesn’t say, “You look nice, Mom,” he says, “Wow, Mom, you look beautiful!” He notices when I change nail polish, and he tells me it’s pretty. If I carry a new handbag, he notices and says, “Cool new purse, Mom.” He startles me often into realizing that I am more beautiful and more cool than I thought I was. But, the best thing of all…he delivers public displays of affection unabashedly. He reaches for my hand, wherever we are; he’ll lean over to kiss me when we’re close, sometimes he’ll get out of a chair and walk around a table just to kiss me and then go back; he’ll take a piece of spaghetti in his mouth, in a crowded restaurant, and I’ll take the other end, chewing until we meet and fall apart laughing. That, ladies, is a guy a girl can fall in love with! :-). Great post.

  21. 30

    Sheri says

    That is beautiful! It brought me to tears. My son will be 11 in December so I identify. This is great for all parents and kids! Well said. Well said.

  22. 31

    Carol Gibbs says

    You are one great mom and he is something to be proud of, as you already are. Usually by that point in life they won’t walk down the street with their mother. They’re either six feet ahead of her or six feet behind. He is obviously as proud of you as you are of him. He sounds like a kid who won’t have any trouble taking your advice to heart and one who will be thankful for it in the end ;-)

  23. 33

    says

    Kristin, my son just turned 9. I hope you won’t mind if I print this post and put it in my journal to share with him when he’s a little older. I love my children, and want to thank you for your words that help me ponder motherhood so often. You inspire me and I hope to one day be able to rely more on God, like you do. Thank you.

  24. 34

    Kathy says

    As a mother of 4 grown boys (oldest 32, youngest 22), I love your list! I have tried to share these things with my own boys as they have grown. The mother/son relationship is sooooo special. There may be ups and downs in the relationship as he grows, but he will always come back to his ‘momma’. Thank you for sharing. God bless.

  25. 37

    says

    I’ve got one of those amazing sons myself- he just turned 9 last month. Thank you for this wonderful post- I especially liked the part where you said you’re already praying for his future wife. I hadn’t thought of that- must add to my prayer list!! :-) Last night my son couldn’t sleep for whatever reason so I went into his room to rub his back and sing to him and he said, “Mom, I really like you singing to me, but I feel bad for you.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Well, I just don’t want you to have to waste your time in here with me.” I said, “Sweetheart, I love you, and if you feel sad because you can’t go to sleep then being in here is NOT a waste of time. It’s the most important thing I could be doing because I love you so much.” Love that kid like crazy.

  26. 38

    Melissa hotz says

    Thank you for you wise words. As a mother of three boys, 10, 7, and 4, this really hits home. These words are like food for my mommy soul:)

  27. 39

    Rachel says

    What a such inspirational things to tell your son. I would like to tell my son these same things, I have read most of your blog today and have been inspired to be a better person and to serve the Lord more than I ever have before. It has also inspired me to be a better girlfriend/wife and mother. I will be pinning your blog to my favorites on my home computer to go back and re-read these wonderful posts! Thank you for all of the motivational books, music, and ideas, I’m truly grateful I found this blog today on Pinterest.

  28. 41

    Beverly says

    This is really lovely to read. I’m not a church goer as i call it but as i get older and i try to guide my two boys who are such a handful most of the time, this really stopped me dead in my tracks and feel how lucky i am to be blessed with the greatest gift there is, the love i feel for my children. Whether or not its gods works (still trying to figure this bit out even at my age!!) and the terrible tussels we are having currently in our home (we are moving house…yikes!!) I am really holding out the hope that one day my boys will be wise and loving and all the things that they want to be. They make me very proud even in their tender ages now (2 and 6). This is a lovely ode to your precious gift. Your son! Thank you :)

  29. 42

    Lynn Prucha says

    Thank you for sharing- it’s absolutely beautiful and exactly what my heart says but what my brain can’t put to words! I have 3 boys, 4, 6 & 8 and you have touched my heart and I pray with your inspiration, I can touch theirs…

  30. 44

    Shelly Landry says

    My son, Kolbe, turned 11 this year and it sounds as though you are describing him. Thanks for putting the words to paper as I am sure the thoughts have been in so many minds! You say things so eloquently!

    Shelly Landry

  31. 45

    Sandy says

    I do not even have a son (yet) but I have a nephew and brothers and this really is beautiful! It made me cry happy tears and feel even more blessed than I already do each day with all these wonderful men (boys) in my life! Thank you this really made my day :-)

  32. 47

    Elizabeth says

    Oh my goodness! I just read this and am crying more than I already was. My son will be 13 this Friday and Lord knows I’m having a time with this. Ugh. I’m so very proud of the Godly young man is now. I’ve been sharing with my friends lately that I’m in “mourning” for the little baby boy I brought home. He is so faithful to our Lord and family that it amazes me a boy this age can be this way. He has a little sister who he is so protective of and I love that. I am surprising him this week with a 13 year blessing. All the people who have been speaking into his life are gathering and we are having a prayer dinner for him. My prayer is that he will forever keep his faith, love and heart for God and others that he has. Thank you so much for sharing this. It made me feel better to know that there are other moms out there with great sons as I do. What a blessing for moms to be able to honestly and proudly say these things about our sons. Bless you!

  33. 48

    Rachel says

    I can say from experience that the “you can come home son” ruined my marriage without a doubt. I was having martial issues and asked my husband to leave because he became abusive. He moved back in with his mother going on two years now, has had a full time job and just got remarried to some other poor sap. Yes, while still living at home with his mother he remarried. It is also a HUGE red flag to meet a man and find out he’s living with his mama.

    I have two boys from a previous marriage and I have told them both that if they get a girl pregnant, or some other irresponsible act they will not be coming home to live with me. Suck it up and deal with the consequences. The exception is if I can truly know he is working his arse off, has clear concise goals and reaches those benchmarks that will get him a better place to move out and be on his own. Men don’t become men from landing on a soft bed of pillows! Men are to leave and cleave, and start their own life. Not move back in with mother. I am so disgusted my generation and the mothers who can’t let go of the apron strings. All it does is emasculate their sons and their lives, all in the name of good intentions, which we know is the road that leads to hell.

  34. 50

    Smaragda says

    Just beautiful..!
    I have two boys, the older one will be 8 end-November and the younger will be 5 in two weeks.
    Thank you!

    Thank you for your words. For giving me a chance to ”see” through different eyes. Especially the older one.
    They are growing so fast, and with the big one we are on uncharted waters here.. Since he is so serious and mature for his age, this is really helpful to ‘keep us on the right track’.

    Wishing all the best to you, your family and especially your little prince!
    Have a beautiful life :)

  35. 51

    Suzie Pugh says

    My handsome some is 36 years old, 13″ taller than I am, and the most wonderful son, husband, daddy, and he is a Nurse. After an 18 hour shift he comes to my house every Saturday afternoon to sleep for 6 hours before he goes back. He works in the Teen Unit at a Mental Hospital. Sometimes he comes in with the look of a very old, worried man, but he always hugs on me, thanks me for cooking him something good and having a dark, noise free room for him to sleep in. I love it…see when he was 16 he went to live with his daddy ( we won’t go there) and I didn’t get to do all the things a Mama gets to do for her son for a long time. And now, I can’t do enough, and we both are soaking it in, getting to know each other again. Thanks for posting your list, I love your blog.

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  37. 53

    Tiffany says

    I can’t even get through the first paragraph! Sounds like you are writing about my son, who will be 13 in a few weeks. Beautiful <3

  38. 54

    mary says

    I love it and I believe one can say the same things to a girl. I have a son and a daughter, 2 grandsons and a granddaughter. I think it fits them all.

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  43. 66

    Lindsay says

    Great post! You are a great writer. I look in the backseat and see my boys getting so big. This post was total waterworks for me.

  44. 69

    Pad says

    Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!!! I am a new mom to a sweet little girl, and I’m definitely writing this in my journal to tell her when she’s older– your truths can be applied to daughters as well as sons! :) Now if more moms brought up their sons this way, I wouldn’t worry about my daughters future so much! ;) thanks again for sharing this.

  45. 71

    April says

    Thank you so much for this! I have 4 boys. My oldest will be 18 in May and graduating high school in June. My youngest turns 10 in April and sometimes it breaks my heart to look at all my boys (the ones that are going on 16 and 14 too) and see how much they have and are growing. But it’s also exciting and warms my heart to see how wonderfully they are turning into great men! I love my boys with every ounce of my being and always let them know. This touched me so much and brought me to tears!

  46. 72

    April says

    What a beautiful letter to your son. You are truly blessed, and your children are as well for having a Godly Mother to lead by example. Thank you for sharing your heart, it brought me to tears and reminded me of my very important role as Mother of 3 sons. Blessings to you!

  47. 73

    says

    Wow. You have a gift. Every mom should print this out and read it often. You put into words what was in my heart while raising my kids (2boys,1girl). Sometimes the day to day makes us forget. Now as a grandma I need to remember I have an important part to play, a second chance to help grow good Christian people. Thanks for sharing this.

  48. 74

    brenda merchent says

    My two boys are in their late 30′s and late 40′s . We lost our middle child when he was 32, but he is still loved and still a very important part of our lives. I worked in health care for thirty years and the three of them often came to my work places over the years. Not only did the whole staff turn to stare at these three attractive (inside and outside) guys, but their appearance never ceased to thrill me. My soul sang. And it does to this day. We’ve had good times and bad times, pain, joy, sorrow, moments of faith and times of what felt like insanity and I love them so. Wouldn’t take anything for the most precious gifts that God could ever have given me.

  49. 75

    Ann V. says

    Great advice!! My boy…he captures my heart like no one else!!! And now at 24 he is going to have his own boy! He is a success…he loves God and people, namely his wife who adores him. What more could a mom ask for?

  50. 76

    says

    I LOVE THIS!!!! My son just turned 24 a few weeks ago and I hope he knows these 11 things but I am going to start next years birthday card today after reading this. It has truly inspired me and challenged me to add 14 more things my son needs to hear for his 25th birthday! Thank you for your wisdom and insperation.

  51. 77

    Baby says

    Perfect timing for me, my son will be 11 in about a month and a half. He is my heart and as the oldest of 3 sister’s makes me proud of the young man he has become. I try so hard to do right by him and with these words I now have a little guidance. Thank You.

  52. 78

    Angie Rice says

    Hi! I just found this on Pinterest and was just so moved by your words! I have two boys and the oldest just turned 11 in February and I wish I had had these words then to say to him or give him. This is so beautiful and totally brought me to tears, even the 2nd time I read it. I hope you don’t mind but I have copied and pasted it into a word document on my computer because I want to be sure to give it to him if not just one night out of the blue or maybe on his next birthday. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  53. 79

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  56. 82

    yasmeen says

    You have just made me cry..I pictured my son and cried he is really tender …and I always told him tobe ttough ..he hates to argue ..he has a goos relationship with people…you’ve really changed my mind I will never ever tell him to be tough again
    Thank you for the great post

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