One all-important lego piece. Like the holy grail of lego pieces. There’s only one.
All three of my boys want it.
Negotiating, arguing, and ultimately fighting ensues.
Here comes mom.
By now they know what I’m going to ask.
“Who’s more important than that Lego?”
They grudgingly speak the name of their brothers.
Yes, good answer. Next question… How are you guys going to figure this out?
Sometimes the guys figure out how to share and work together. Other days Mom has to take the Lego away. (or whatever is the toy/ privilege of the day). I hold out this standard for us, because I want my boys to develop genuine humility.
Humility is challenged regularly when my boys play with kids, outside of our family bubble. They discover that our rules at home are not often followed in the world around them.
It can seem like everybody else is allowed, if not encouraged, to try to be first. And win! Maybe my sons think “Everybody else pushed and shoved for the best toy in the pile. I waited for a turn and ended up with this lame toy.” I see their face and eyes, and posture shout out “Dude, I don’t like how this feels to be last.” My mommy heart breaks to see my sons feel so defeated.
And so it goes at every corner: at sports, in the classroom, on the playground, in the neighborhood and even at church. I can see their repeated confusion: why does mom insist that we put others first when is seems like nobody else is doing it?
Honestly, I do know a few mothers who are teaching their sons to put the needs and wants of others ahead of their own. It is actually a deflating goal to have as a mother of boys. It’s more common to see moms who want their sons to be first. To be winners. To have the best of everything. To be on top.
I am tempted to think, What’s so wrong with that?
Who wants to raise a meek boy anyway? It just doesn’t seem like a very happy or successful kind of life.
Ironically, Jesus says “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the whole earth”. Matthew 5:5.
I have never heard a mom say to her son, “Sweet boy, remember to practice meekness at school today, k? Put others ahead of yourself and be humble.”
But that is the way of Jesus. Jesus will bless the meek with the whole world! That certainly looks like a pretty great reward.
I guess it is no surprise to learn that even moms in the bible got their priorities out of whack sometimes. Matthew, chapter 20, tells us about the mom of James and John, two disciples of Jesus. She too was concerned about the success of her boys. She brought her grown sons to Jesus, knelt down and basically said, “Jesus, since my two awesome sons here have been with you from the beginning, will you make sure they get a place of honor along with you? Like perhaps one can be seated at your left and the other at your right?”
What a bold request! But, I don’t think Jesus was surprised. Jesus knows our self-serving desires to posture and position and move up the ladder. He responds with an All Hands meeting for his 12 disciples.
Jesus called them together and said, “…Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave— for even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Wow! Not exactly what the mom of James and John had in mind. But for us today, wouldn’t it be revolutionary if our boys knew that to become great, you put others first? If they walk like Jesus did, serving others in humility, they will experience also the joy that Jesus had. Instead of hearing, “Me first!” we’d hear that funny exchange of “No, please, after you.”Instead, boys competing for last place!
Isn’t it men with humble and meek hearts who love the broken and destitute?
How else will our sons grow up to take care of the widows and orphans? Who will lead our children’s generation to serve the poor and not forget them?
If we teach our sons to depend on God’s strength rather than their own natural abilities, they could be world changers. Our boys could live counter-cultural lives, just like Jesus did. And be just as revolutionary and impactful too.
Jesus said, “whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these… You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
It’s a different road to take as a mom. To raise up meek and humble sons. Many others won’t get it and might even disregard our sons at times, but God never will. (1 Peter 5:6). We don’t have to define success the same way our culture does. Let’s dare to embrace our promises in Jesus and trust God to lead our sons, and us, in humility. It’s guaranteed to be a truly satisfying and rewarding life.
Want more scripture on humility?