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:
Meaningful relationships with others
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.