Denise, in your book No Ordinary Child, you talk about how parents indulge their children just to keep them happy, ending up with spoiled and immature young adults. Our society seems filled with men in their 40s who never really grew up. How can parents raise mature men?
Well, Mike, I think I would urge parents, and especially perhaps, mothers out there: “Stop rescuing your boys at every turn!” There is a quality and a substance of character that we so long for our boys to have, which can only be worked into them through difficulty. My husband says, “so many men are still being mothered because they were never really fathered.” Mothers “mother”; they tend to be nurture and care. Fathers “father”, bringing strength, direction and impetus to their sons. I want to move things around to make the way easy for them. But muscle is built by resistance. Patience is produced by painful endurance. And character, I think, is cultivated when circumstances bring disappointment. If we remove every trial and tribulation, every hard thing from their path, then there is nothing left for them to resist, to oppose, or endure. Often, the best thing I can do to prepare them for adulthood, is to allow them to experience life’s hard knocks. James reminds us that “perseverance must finish its work so that we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” And I know we want that for our children. We’ve got to love them enough to allow them to struggle.
Denise, that’s so wise. Thank you for joining me this week. Until next time, I’m Mike Smith.