Tuesday, August 05, 2008

understanding men - part 1

Being a pastor's wife has positioned me to walk along side women who are hurting in their marriages. When in those arenas, I often will choose to be vulnerable and share my own hard places and what I've learned along the way in my own marriage.

Besides my other Titus 2 series on Moms Help 911 and Becoming a Purposeful Home Keeper, I'm going to begin to another mini series I'll call: Understanding Men

Part 1 - Building Blocks to Become Mature
God intended for dads and moms to give their children certain building blocks to use, to help them become mature, giving adults. Those building blocks are intended to grow children into ideal manhood and womanhood.

God intended for mom to give specific blocks and for dad to give specific blocks. If some blocks are not in place, the child's womanhood or manhood identity gets skewed. The presence of passivity or dominance in men and dominance in women easily identify those in American culture who are missing some of their building blocks.

Image Bearers Have Three Main Needs

Every human – created in God’s image has three foundational needs:

Relationship with God
Meaningful relationships with others
A sense of significant purpose (really key)

With that in mind, mom has an important beginning role for little boys and girls. God intended mom to give her little one hugs, food, safety, snuggles, tender touches, kisses, and lots of sweet, “I love you’s.” A child’s sense of being comes from the mom.

If the building blocks are in place, a little person will feel connected to mom. The little boy feels comfortable with his dependency on mom. He likes being close and cuddly. When he’s with mom, he has his sense of being.

About the second year of life, during childhood development, every little person, boy or girl, begins to separate from mom. It has to happen and God uses dad to draw the little person away from a sense of being connected and oneness with mom to becoming their own little person.

At Risk Men
This is where dad’s role and building blocks become important. At about age 2, especially a little boy is supposed to move away from mom and move toward dad. This happens so that his gender identity becomes solid and secure. He must identify with a male identity.

This moving away from mom and toward dad accomplishes two things:
he becomes a separate person, attaching to dad and becoming autonomous
and he gains gender identity – he is BOY—all MALE—made in God’s Image.

The building blocks from dad, that pull him away from mom and say – MALE –are the base of strength for this little boy to continue becoming someone comfortable with connection and dependence on another person, but who is separate enough to be his own person.

The man in a boy’s body engages and disengages between connection and autonomy and becomes secure in his male image bearer identity. He can love mom and be independent from mom, feel like a man and not be “her little boy,” and, at the same time, be secure in his masculinity.

Actually, if he does not pull away, the boy is at risk. Child development experts say that if the separation doesn’t happen, there is the potential for gender identity confusion, alienation from same sex peers, and development of a poor relationship with dad or dad figures.

When these little boys don’t break from mom, the relationship will go from a “mothering one” to become a “smothering one.” Men with “smothering” relationships tend to emulate mom’s effeminate mannerisms or gestures. They become charming and manipulative.

More Understanding Men tomorrow.

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Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

This will be a great study! I realized as soon as my son was born (8 years ago) that boys are different from day one! :-) It has been an interesting journey, raising my son these first years of his life. I'm learning a lot!

My husband is really big on bonding with our son and taking him to do "guy stuff." I love that. Melts my heart. Even though I still grab son and smother him with hugs and kisses, I know how important it is that he develop his sense of becoming a man and all that entails. And in a house of two sisters and a mom, I'm blessed he does have a dad to turn to.

Great series, Lylah!


Mrs. Sidney said...

Interesting... my son is four years old and liked me to be the one to put him to bed and do things for him howevere if we are hanging out and watching a movie he is with dad. If dad goes somewhere he wants to go too. I was begining to think he preferred my husband yet I am seeing this is a good thing for his growth into manhood.

Thank you for sharing!!

Lylah said...

YES! YES! Ronel YES! It's got to happen....wait till you see the rest of the posts...you'll be shoving that boy to dad. If he doesn't reckon with his male identity NOW, he'll walk with a limp THEN.

Amy Bennett said...

Wow, this is going to be a great series. I just found your website recently and have been trying to get through so many posts you have up.

Lylah said...

thanks Amy...yeah...hold on to your coffee cup for this ride :-) thanks for stopping by...

Amydeanne said...

great post! marriages are hard, aren't they?!

Lylah said...

amydeanne ~ YES~!!! :-0 but worth the character we get to develop and grow in. Sunday Michael and I will hit the 21 year mark. We joined hearts as two wounded, rejected people - both having former spouses that decided being with other people was of great value. Add such rejection baggage to the mix and you have quite the party.

And, yet, I look in Michael's eyes and know that for me - he's the best thing and for him - i'm the best thing. It's been hard. But it's been good. I've never had so much opportunity to have develop character had it not been for my marriage to this good and godly man of whom God is big in. I hope you stay along for the Understanding Men "ride."

Audra Krell said...

Hi Lylah! Is it hot enough here for you? It wasn't for me, so I went to Las Vegas where it is even hotter on the concrete and with all the taxis, etc! :) This is a great post. As the mother of three boys, I have watched our youngest detaching from me and I'm cheering him on. It hasn't been easy, but I love to see the healthy bonding with Dad and I know it's what's best, because it's what God wants. And now He has new, great plans for me!

Nancy & Bryan said...

Great post. We have a two year old son and these are the type of topics I've been searching for. As Amy, I just recently came across your blog - love it!

Thank you for your time!

Melissa said...

I so believe this. I saw Tien drawing so much closer to David around 15 months to 2 1/2 (partly because I forced David to step up to being a Father and beginning to take on school and work areas once again plus to initiate a closer bond between them). Tien still came to me, but now I see a perfect attachment to his Daddy, and he even calls Daddy, "MomDee." hahaha Like Mommy/Daddy combined. Is that nuts or weird? Tien got to begin to goto school in February of this past year, and loves attending. I am worried about the separation but now I know it is for the best. I have to let him be the little man he is and calls himself. haha He said, "you princess Mommy. I'm man." hahaha I was like, "what!" in my head, but then chalked it up to him finding his identity in being totally male with all the God-created characteristics of being a man. Tien even says Daddy is a "man." hahaa Love it! Thanks for such a great post!!!!