When I was growing up, there was a saying among the elders – “the hands that rock the cradle rules the world”. Experience indicated to me that those hands belong to mothers. Mother and son activities – how a mother prepares her son for manhood is crucial to the effectiveness of society.
Both parents are absolutely essential to the preparation of a boy to be a man. The mother’s role is vital since she is the one who carries that embryo that will develop into a fetus that will one day be delivered and grow into a man. What she imparts to him from conception onward, will greatly determine his manhood.
The early years
I shared with you in an earlier post, the effect my mother’s love and training had on me – even from conception. I can still hear her sweet voice singing to me when it was about to rain. You see, as a child I was asthmatic. The attacks usually got worse if I got wet in the rain. So my mom would sing this song to me when it was about to rain and we were in the outdoors:
I will never forget that song. I told me about my mother’s love for me and her desire that no harm come to me in any form. Her love allowed her to begin preparing me for life at an early age. The boys of the family came first. There were five of us and I was the fourth. My mother taught all of us to be men by first teaching us to do what was considered girl’s work.
Each day, when we were through with morning devotions, she outlined our responsibilities for the day. It may be in the house or on the outside. None escaped. And she did not say, “ooo well this is female work, my boys don’t have to learn to do this”. No, we learned how to clean the house – not halfway, or else you had to do it over until you got it right, wash the dishes – the right way again, make the beds after we rolled out of them every morning, and since in those days indoor bathrooms were reserved for the wealthy, we were also taught how to empty the “night cups” and clean them afterward.
As we grew older, the responsibilities increased. I witnessed my elder brothers getting smacked with the wet clothes that they didn’t take the time to wash properly. If that happened today, many people will cry, abuse! But I’ll take that abuse any day, rather than the permissiveness that children are allowed that unfit them for intelligent and purposeful service as adults.
So they – my older brothers – learned to do it right immediately because they did not want a repeat. If you ask any of them today – sorry, one died – if at any time they felt abused, I am certain that the reply will be in the negative. So when they were through washing, sparkling clean, deodorized clothes could be seen flapping in the breeze under the hot sun. What a sight. You don’t see that again.
We also learned to cook. I recall cooking my first meal at age nine (9). Rice and bhagi (some people call it spinach) – I forgot to put salt in the rice. It was eaten by all anyhow and there were no complaints :)). Later on I learned to bake.
My mother had a unique way of teaching me some lessons. I hated washing dishes, absolutely hated it. When she found out that, she told me “from today, your responsibility is to wash the dishes after every meal”. By that time, we were a family of nine. It made no sense complaining to my father. He supported my mother explicitly in her decisions at home. If they disagreed on any of her measures, we did not know.
So imagine this; nine plates, nine cups, nine spoons plus the dishes that the food was placed in for the table, plus the pots and pans and other utensils that were used for preparing and cooking the meal. And if we had visitors over, well. That was my daily duty. When I accepted that this would be my lot for the foreseeable future, washing the dishes became a simple task. It still is today. When people ask the reason, I tell them of how my mom taught me to enjoy washing dishes.
What was her incentive? You don’t wash it, you don’t get to go out and play. Can you imagine hearing your siblings and sometimes the neighbors, playing and laughing in the yard and you, sitting or standing inside the house in front of a never decreasing pile of dishes? ‘Cause the pile didn’t decrease until you began to wash them up. In the mean time, the game was going on and you were missing out.
So I got it done.
Later on she taught me to iron – yes that’s what we called it. You may say “press the clothes”. Back then, there were no electric irons, so I had to learn the skill of using the coal pot and later the stove to heat the iron and yet not blacken or burn the clothes. I mastered that one pretty quickly and some time later we got electricity and my mom bought an electric iron which made it a lot easier.
I would iron for the entire family. When, some time later, my father purchased a television, all I needed was the pile of clothes and a clear line of sight to the television. Before you knew it, well pressed clothes were on the hangers waiting to be worn.
Little did I realize that my mother was preparing me for the responsibilities of manhood. Today I can say, “what a preparation”. She did it well and she was intentional about it. She knew what she wanted to accomplish and she accomplished it.
So I tell people, “the only thing that a woman can show off on me with, is her body”. I can keep house as good as many of them and better than most, thanks to my mother who had a true concept of what rocking the cradle meant.
Mother and son love
There’s no love like a mother’s love for her son. If properly channeled, it is a love that will teach him to love her and others in return, and more so, how to love his wife. To do so, this teaching must be as intentional as choosing to send him to school to prepare him for his life vocation.
I learned early on that I could go to my mother with anything. In fact, she had a saying; “if you going down the road to commit a crime, tell me where you going, so that if your name call, I can say “he told me he was going there”. If you don’t tell me and your name call, I not coming”. So we all learned to trust her and go to her with anything. Even when we knew that she would be displeased and may even spank us.
Her hugs were sure even if they didn’t come often. So too was her discipline.
She would find different ways to instill lessons into us. One of her favorite means was the use of the Bible. She and her father had a very good relationship and she learned many passages of scripture from him which she often repeated to us.
One that easily comes to mind is “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”. She shared that one with me when I was older and wanted to go against the advice she gave me. Too often – even today – I have had to admit that she was right.
Many have been the times when I have regretted not explicitly following her advice. There is something about a mother’s intuition and wisdom born out of genuine love and heavenly inspiration. She had that.
As I grew older and began to pay attention to the opposite sex, she sought to guide my feet. I never once felt that she was being intrusive. At eleven – when she found a note to a female in my pants pocket, I got a spanking after a lecture about that age being for study. Her adage was “girls and books don’t mix”. I listened then and though I had girlfriends, she taught me to keep them in the right perspective. I finished secondary school with no regrets.
But you know what, even when I saw a girl that I liked or who liked me, I could go to my mom and let her know my feelings. After the spanking at 11, she did not use that method again. It was either that I learned to obey her or she decided that there were gentler and yet just as effective methods.
So she always knew who the girl was that I was looking at. Later on she encouraged me to invite them home. As a good mother, she wanted to evaluate them I guess, but I didn’t realize that back then. She would also casually mention how a man should treat a woman. The wisdom of our “uneducated” parents is unsurpassed. Many times I find them wiser than many of our degreed psychologist, psychiatrist and other learned social scientists.
Yes, she did have a young lady in mind for me. That was after me and my first serious girlfriend had broken up. By that time however, I felt that I knew what was best for me relationship wise and refused to meet the young lady. Years later, when I did meet her, I bit my hand. I should have listened to my mother.
Even in my married years, I could still sit and talk and laugh with my mom. We were that close. Age and wisdom had tempered her approach but she still called a spade a spade. She bound me/us to her with love even as she prepared us to face life on our own.
These were mother and son activities that we engaged in. They were healthy and character forming. O that I had learned and accepted every good thing that she tried to teach me. Life would have been so, so different.
Prepare him to be a Godly man
The wisest man who ever lived – King Solomon – teaches that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding”. Proverbs 9 : 10
While I believe that his father will play a more important role in this area of his son’s life, the mother’s early attachment to her son, allows her the precious responsibility of giving him a foundation in things spiritual. While a father has the responsibility to teach and model the fear of God to his son, a mother’s early teachings lays the foundation for what is to come.
As I reflect, I have concluded that a mother teaches her son the compassionate, tender side of God – if there is such a thing, while the father would impart the discipline and justice of the Almighty. They complement and enhance each other when properly blended.
In order for a mother to pass on that to her son, she must have a relationship with God for herself. She must know personally the Father’s care for her. It is only then that any effort to share it with her son can be effective. If she does, the character of her son will be more in harmony with God and he will be a good model in the society.
Again, teaching these traits even from the cradle makes it so much easier when the boy begins to grow.
My mom loved to sing and she sang more about the love of God than anything else. Even while she worked, she sang. You would have to witness that for yourself to understand the peace that her voice brought to our home and heart. The radio and television and other electronic devices have replaced the voice in the home now, sadly.
One of the principles of Godliness that she taught us was to be always occupied doing something valuable. She often reminded us/me, that “an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”. Too many sons are idle today. Sooner rather than later, they get into trouble, and if not reined in early, the trouble escalates. Keep your sons busy with profitable projects.
The handheld mobile device is not the way. It reminds me of that song from my childhood; “sitting on the dock of the bay, wasting time”. Allowing them to spend endless hours playing games is not healthy for good character building.
That first thing in the morning, devotion, is invaluable. When you teach him that there is someone who has a high plan for him and that he can take anything to God in prayer, you are teaching him lessons that will serve him to advantage all his days – if he follows your instructions.
Teach him too, to take instructions from the Source. If you read the Bible to him when he is small and later have him read it to you as he grows older, you teach him to hear the voice of the Divine. As he become familiar with that voice, he will learn to know and obey it as he faces the issues and challenges of life. This will be a strong deterrent against making the wrong decisions especially in tough situations.
My mama taught me the fear of the Lord. It has helped me through many a harrowing time in my adult life.
Pray with and for your son. Let him know and hear you praying for him even when he is not thinking of doing so for himself. I have escaped many tight situations in my life and I know that it was because of the prayer of my mother.
In this post-modern age, when most of the world deny that there is a God, you can be one who stand strong as you rock the cradle and let your son know that God is alive and active in his life.
Include this in your mother and son activities as a part of his preparation for manhood.
Wives detests mamma’s boys and therefore run into trouble with their mothers-in-law as a result of wanting their husbands to break loose from their “mother’s navel string”.
If you have brought up you son in such a manner that he cannot leave you and cleave to his wife, then you have sorely failed him and done a disservice to society. In my estimation, one of the most pathetic sights in life is a “mamma’s boy”.
When I became gainfully employed I was still at home in my parents house. When I received my first cheque, my mother told me that I had to give her a part of it. I was working now and had to learn to contribute to the financial upkeep of the home. The greater lesson according to her, was that I learn to give money to her so that I will give money to my wife. Another lesson, simply taught using a simple method.
All the time, she was preparing me to break that bond that would allow me to be a man, husband and father and care for and protect my home under God. A mother should always keep in mind that she is preparing her son to be the husband of someone’s daughter.
Consider this; if your son had to submit a resume when asking a lady’s hand in marriage, and you knew that that resume would reflect you, what are the truths that you would like to see reflected there? Would you be happy to stand behind or with the character of your “boy” when it is revealed to his wife-to-be, her parents and siblings and the world.
In the second chapter of the Bible, the Creator declares: “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall become one flesh”. This is not possible when a mother does not prepare he son to cut the navel string and cleave to the new woman in his life.
To do this, mothers must be first prepared themselves. If you are not, then you cannot prepare him to be. You will always want to have him run to you. More so if the relationship with his father was not/is not good. So be intentional and accept that this man-child that has been placed in your care, has been given you, for only a short time.
As a matter of fact, he will spend more time being totally devoted to another woman, than to you. And that is all good because that is the way the Father designed it. Accept the fact and do your part heartily. The rewards will be yours.
Keep in mind that there is no love that could substitute the love between a mother and her son. That’s all yours. At the same time, refuse to make his life and that of his wife’s miserable by trying to supersede her in his heart. You have your place, she has hers.
I have an undying love for my mom even though she is resting in the grave because of the training that she gave me. Are you preparing your son or have you prepared him for manhood?
Here’s a very meaningful quote:
“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall”. EG White, Education, pg 57.3
Share with me/us what your experience has been in this area. Maybe there are elements that we can learn from what you have gone through. Let’s grow as we love them up now.
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