On Boys Becoming Men

We were running later than we’d hoped.

Three paper plates full of hot dogs, grapes and pretzels had been gobbled up by my three hungry little birds.  Each boy sun-screened up and ready to head to the pool.

Our goal – leave at 11:20.

It was 11:10.

“Grant, would you help mommy collect the plates from the table?  And put the cold things inside the fridge?”

Speaking of birds….chirp chirp.  Silence.

My voice a bit sharper, “Grant?  Did you hear me?”

He was no longer in the kitchen.  Instead he was found belly down, plopped on the couch.  One arm dangling off of the side.  Face buried in a pillow.

A muffled voice, “Can’t Ethan help?  I am so tired.”

My blood now rolling to a slow boil.

“Grant, I need you to come help me, son.  You are not tired.  We are trying to leave for the pool.  In order to get out of the door, I need your cooperation.”

No movement.

{Sassy mom fighting her way out now…}

“OK Grant.  The next time you are hungry and ask for a snack I will lay down on the couch and tell you I am much too tired.  I just can’t do it.  And your dinner?  Don’t I fix that all of the time?  Maybe I will be too tired later to fix that, too.  Isn’t it Daddy’s turn?  Or Ethan’s?  Yes, it’s Ethan’s turn to fix dinner.  Fruit loops and trail mix for all.”

A little grin. “Mom.”

With a  huff, “Just go on upstairs, Grant.  Seriously.  I am bummed out about your attitude right now.  Just go on up.  I need to talk to Daddy about your unwillingness to serve.”

Dragging his feet, he headed up the steps.  Still grumbling about his terrible fatigue.

I took my cup and held it up to the ice maker.  I glanced at Brent.

“I keep waiting on it to kick in.”

Brent – “For what to kick in?”

“His desire to serve.  A little more maturity.  I keep waiting on his bend to be towards service and not passivity.”

Brent stopped the running water and put down his plate.  His looked me square in the eye.  As serious as the summer day is long.

“It will never kick in.”


“It will never kick in.  Men are made.  It will take a childhood of doing hard thing after hard thing.  Training after training.  I was the same way.  I had to do so many hard things before I understood being a man.  I’ve worked with hundreds of college guys…and trust me…it doesn’t just kick in.”

It’s true.  Men are made.  Not born.  Even the apostle Paul speaks of his own turning point.

When I was a child I spoke like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11

In the Greek the word for became is ginomai.  And specifically in this particular passage it is defined as being made.  To prove oneself.  To arise.  To come to pass.” 

And this isn’t just a boy thing.  The word for man also refers to both genders.  There is a “becoming” for both male and female.  A process of being made mature.  Of proving of oneself mature.  An arising of the servant-heart. 
And maturity will, bless God, come to pass.

So parents be encouraged.  It may take 100 times of clearing plates from the table.  It may take 100 mowed lawns or 100 loads of laundry, but there is a “becoming” going on in the heart of your child.  Behind the grumbles and slouched shoulders, there is a man fighting his way to the surface.  Maturity is coming to pass.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Lord, forgive me for not operating in patience toward my sweet boy.  Give me mind to remember that he is still in training.  I believe, in faith, that you are molding his servant’s heart.  That you are molding him into a man.  I pray that , every single day, I will shepherd his heart to yours.  Please allow all of our children to bear your image Jesus. Let them grow into men and women who do the hard thing, who pick up their cross daily, and follow hard after you.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Can you share a time when you have seen this maturity come to pass through doing hard things?

2 thoughts on “On Boys Becoming Men

  1. So good to be home where I can read your blog – I've missed it (no blog access in China). And this was a GREAT one! We haven't hit the major "non-servant" stage that you talk about (right now it's more about pleasing mom and dad), but I know it's coming. And let me say, no wonder you love Brent! What a wise man and great response. BTW, have thought of you often since returning home Thurs night. 3 kids. Whew. Thanks for your many prayers. All have done a great job adjusting thus far. Happy Sabboth Day and Fathers Day (Brent 🙂 !

I means so much to hear from you!

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