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10 Things I Hope for My Boys as They Enter High School

by KimHarms 2 Comments
10 Things I Hope for My Boys as They Enter High School
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Photo courtesy of Rachel Vespestad

Every time I drive past the high school building looming by the cornfields on the outskirts of town, my palms start sweating. Maybe because my high school friends scarred me for life by making me watch Children of the Corn in the 90s.

More likely it’s because the sweet six pound baby, whose chest movement I observed closely on a nightly basis to be sure he was not dead, will soon be navigating the gauntlet of secondary education.

It freaks me out a little. And it’s gotten me thinking about the things I hope for all three of my boys as they traverse those formative four years between childhood and adulthood.

I hope they don’t unnecessarily stress out about grades.

Sure, they may get a bit more in college scholarships if they hang onto that 4.0 for 4 straight years, but I’ve seen what the stress of that can do to people, and I’m not sure it’s worth it. I want my boys to work hard of course, but I don’t want them to lose their minds striving for perfection.

In real life a 4.0 just doesn’t matter much. A fulfilling, successful career and a perfect GPA have very little to do with each other.

I hope they have a teacher like Professor Haws.

Professor Haws gave me the biggest boost of encouragement a professor could bestow upon an insecure 20-year-old. He could have easily let me slide through his journalism course at ISU, accept my grade and move on. But instead, he pulled me into his office, told me I was a good writer and suggested I change my journalism minor to a journalism major.

I didn’t take his advice, but his words are still with me. And those words gave me the courage to pursue my first reporting position after college. I moved on from newspaper writing to magazine writing, and now I’m working on my first book. A few words of encouragement from the right person can be immeasurably valuable.

I hope that each of my boys will have a high school teacher like my college professor who sees their potential and then takes the time to pull them aside and say, “I see a talent here, and I encourage you to pursue it.”

I hope they don’t focus so much on the now that they forget to plan for tomorrow.

High school kids are insanely busy. Some of them walk through the school doors before seven a.m. and return home in time to eat, sleep and start all over again. It’s not hard to understand how kids who live in such a harried atmosphere can get stuck in the now. When do they even have time to think about tomorrow if they are always charging full-speed ahead in today?

Though I know my boys will be busy in high school, my hope is that they don’t lose sight of planning for the future. That they will find the balance between being involved in what they love and being overcommitted.

I hope that they don’t focus so much on tomorrow that they forget to live in the now.

On the flip side, I hope my boys don’t get so concerned about growing up that they forget to have fun now. High school is the time to toilet paper friends’ houses in the middle of the night. It’s the time to drink cases of soda and have Lord of the Rings marathons. It’s the time to play basketball in the driveway, and football in the backyard. I hope they enjoy those four years and treasure the fun and friendships that will surely change after graduation.

I hope they learn to enjoy showering.

What a glorious day it will be when my kids happily hop in the shower to wash their sweaty boy smell down the drain. I hope for a day when hygiene is a welcome thing and not a dreaded task that takes precious time away from basketball and video games. (This hope came to fruition shortly after I wrote this. And it was in fact, a glorious day 🙂 )

I hope they appreciate their high rate of metabolism.

Seriously. My boys can drink two cans of Mountain Dew and eat a family-sized bag of Doritos and, as far as I can tell, all it does is make their feet grow. This will not always be the case. One day those washboard abs will decide they need proper nutrition to be maintained.

I hope they don’t outgrow a back scratch from their mama.

We aren’t all that touchy-feely at our house, but every night at bedtime I scratch those ever-growing boy backs. And the scratching motion seems to be directly connected to a mechanism that opens their mouths to give me a glimpse into their thought world. It’s one of those guaranteed moments of connection between me and my boys, and I will miss it dearly when it’s gone.

I hope each pair of crazy expensive sports shoes we purchase last a full season.

I believe their feet are the most expensive part of their bodies. So. Many. Shoes. Remember those unbreakable spray-on shoes Flint Lockwood invented in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? He had something going there. Seriously. Million dollar idea.

I hope they don’t have zits on picture day.

Oh wait. Photoshop. Forget this one. Zits only exist in real life.

I hope they take the Proverbs to heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-7 New Living Translation) So many people will be vying for their attention and allegiance through their teen years. My hope is that my boys keep their Savior at the top of the pile.

*This post was actually written a couple years ago when my two oldest were in middle school. I found it buried in my files of written-but-unpublished-stuff and decided it was worth sharing 🙂

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 17 – Forgiveness

 Proverbs 16

Proverbs 17:9 He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Without forgiveness friendships become superficial. They become catty. They can even fall completely apart.

When I began dating Corey, I kind of dropped the ball on a friendship with a close friend. Where I used to eat with Rachel at our kitchen table, I now would head over to Corey’s apartment or go out to eat with him. My study dates with Rach became my study dates with Corey. And all the movie nights Rach and I used to have? Well, now I was having them with Corey.

Rachel could have gotten angry with me. She could have started talking behind my back to others. She could have given up on our friendship. But instead she confronted me.

After that confrontation, I could have gotten defensive. I could have gotten angry. I could have walked out on our friendship. But I knew she was right, and I knew I had to ask her forgiveness because I didn’t want to lose one of my dearest friends.

Asking for forgiveness is tough. I’m not a big fan of admitting I am wrong. But I did ask for Rachel’s forgiveness, and she readily gave it.

That was years ago, and Rachel and I only see each other once or twice year now, but we can always pick right up where we left off. And this year our friendship has taken on a whole new depth because of breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy about four years ago, and she has been invaluable to me as I’ve been on that road this year.

I hate to think of what I’d be missing out on if I had let my selfishness ruin our friendship, or if she had chosen not to forgive.

As my boys grow into young adults and their friendships deepen alongside their voices, I hope they leave room for forgiveness. I hope they will value their friends enough to work out their differences and understand that covering an offense does indeed promote love, but excluding forgiveness can ruin friendships.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray that you will help my boys to understand the value of forgiving their friends when they have been wronged. That they will both offer forgiveness to others and ask forgiveness when it is needed. Amen.

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 7:4-5 PURITY

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Proverbs 7: 4-5 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman; they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words.

 

I willingly admit that I was a little boy crazy in my early teen years. I passed some notes in class and called boys on occasion. But it was all pretty harmless; aside from the fact that a few boys probably found me annoying.

The ease and impersonal nature of texting and social media has made both boys and girls bolder. Without the awkwardness of face-to-face interaction, many feel more comfortable seeking the attention of the opposite sex in ways generations past would have considered appalling.

In addition to this ease of communication, aggressive girls may be seeking a male companion because they are missing a supportive father figure in their life. Aggressive boys may be missing a loving mother. Or maybe it’s the effect of decades of women’s lib or the failure of parents to be involved in guiding their kids through puberty and beyond. Most likely, it’s a combination of many factors.

Regardless the cause, the world our kids live in is not an innocent place, and we need to be guiding and protecting our boys.

It is not uncommon in high schools across our country for girls to send provocative messages and even pornographic photos of themselves to boys via phone apps. It also not uncommon for boys to create data bases of these photos to share with each other. (This is not an exaggeration. One such data base was discovered right here in Central Iowa in 2014.)

Even boys who would never be involved in such a thing are continually bombarded with messages that encourage them to devalue women. And the girls who wouldn’t think of exposing themselves to such an extent are inundated with propaganda that tells them the tighter, sheerer and shorter the clothes they wear, the higher they will be esteemed. And they are Eating. It. Up.

It’s a big fat lie, but it is oh so pervasive.

All of this makes it challenging for kids to navigate their way through puberty and the early teen years .  In a perfect world, modesty and respectfulness would be the rule of the day, and we would all love Jesus above all else. But this is earth, not heaven.

Our world is broken, and it will be until the day Jesus returns.

We parents cannot give in to the brokenness. We need to be more diligent about standing against it. In addition to being involved in the lives of our boys-turning-into-men, we need to be on our knees in prayer for them.

My hope and prayer for my sons is that they will respect themselves and the girls in their lives, that they will have the strength to stay pure in a world that mocks purity and that as Proverbs 7:4 says, they will call wisdom their sister and understanding their kinsman.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I fear for the sex-saturated gauntlet otherwise known as high school that my boys will soon be entering. I ask you to help them to be wise when it comes to purity, and to seek you when temptations come their way. Amen.

Suggested Further Reading

Protecting Your Son From Aggressive Girls

To the Middle School Girls at the Pool Who Told My Son He Is Hot

11 Facts About Sexting

 

 

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