Along the way, I’ve discovered that masculinity and femininity have much to do with contentment and preparation for the roles that God gives each person. Since those roles and responsibilities (far, far more than just “mom” or “dad”) are often directly related to our gender, we identify them as masculine or feminine.
For example, as I think ahead to the man that my son will become, I am reminded that he needs to grow in his identity as a protector, as a leader of his family. It is especially important to me that our son is given opportunities to grow in independent responsibility. I want him to be ready to leave our home some day and confidently start his own family.
It may sound like a small thing, but one of the things I’ve discovered is that purchasing crickets for his lizard has been a good opportunity for developing his independence. Other parents use different opportunities, of course. In days gone by, mothers sent their sons to the corner market to purchase milk or some other food ingredient. Today, the presence of pornography at those corner stores make that errand more dangerous for a young boy than perhaps it used to be. But our local pet store is perfect– it is a little too far to send him on his bike, but I have been waiting in the car and sending him into the store to purchase the crickets by himself. I can see him the whole time, so I am comfortable that I’m not actually with him. (It helps that I don’t particularly like the sight of sixty or seventy crickets in a plastic bag.)
The other day as I pulled up to the pet store, I wondered whether my efforts to cultivate his independence are profitable. God kindly allowed a glimpse into David’s thinking (something that doesn’t happen often and something I treasure and give thanks for!). David opened the door with the money in hand and said, “I always feel grown up when I go into this store.”
I smiled. That’s exactly what I want. Today I am looking and praying for more opportunities to safely help my children (even my girls!) transition to life as a godly young adult.
I’ve worked on independence for our younger boys by allowing them to walk to the library on our street (less than a mile). I’ve had them walk with their big sister sometimes to be her protector also. I’ve also let them walk or bike to a nearby park alone or just the two of them.
You are doing a good thing for your son!
I’ve been letting the kids return library books on their own while I wait in the car. Sarah has even gone into the small grocery store to pick up milk while one of us waits in the car. She loves it.