I hope you enjoy today’s Table Talk by Kathleen Fischer.  She provides encouragment and insight into our boys.  Thanks, Kathleen!

… and thanks for walking the road with me.  -Kay


I’m holding the frame with the picture of me and my darling 3 year old son.He is seated in my lap, holding my arms wrapped around him, head relaxed intomy shoulder with a look on his face that seemed to say, “This is my spot on theplanet. With her, I am safe and secure.” Idyllic? I recall a night about the time ofthat photo when he had talked so much all day, I swore to my husband that I hadbloody nubs where my ears had been.

Well, twenty years hence, things have changed. . . and not.

During those intervening twenty years, there were certainly days I longed forhim to chat with me. And in my recent “most favorite picture” of him, he is far, farout of the reach of my loving embrace (see the picture below). Who is this man-o-the-world? The one with a beard, for heaven’s sake!? How secure he seems to takeon Life. . . .

In that time, he and I have learned some important lessons.

Some of mine are:

1.  A boy struggles with how to be attached to his mother and become a strongman. We moms begin to notice that he consults us less often, hugs us moresurreptiously, walks a step or two away from us. Sometimes we feel the ache in ourhearts before we process it in our heads. I view this as the beginning of the orbitwhich he must take away from mom, much as the moon moves away from theearth. For a time, he may even be gone from our sight. But as his confidence in hisown strength, his own ability to handle Life, grows, the orbit begins to turnhomeward once more. A mom can experience mixed feelings as her son movesaway from her but toward his father. Yet it makes sense that if you want to knowhow to be a man, you wouldn’t seek your mom! Some mothers hurry after theirsons, swallowing what feels like rejection at almost every step. How much wiser

those who “see” the emerging man and acknowledge him, “Wow, your dad wouldreally be proud of the way you put the tools in order.” Or, “I know the little cousinswill look forward to your playing with them. It’s great to have a Big Guy around!”Best to wait as affirmingly and positively as one can. . . the orbit does circle backaround.

2.  Hormones create challenges for our sons too. Often as parents we get sweptaway by our daughters’ hormonal swings, assuming that our sons have it muchsimpler. One view of the impact of testosterone is that, along with physicalmaturation, it increases four important social/psychological attributes:competitiveness, sex drive, aggression and risk-taking. It can make a parentwonder, “What was the Creator thinking! All this in a sixteen year old body!” Atthat point of quandary, it’s useful to recall that each of these attributes has a “gift”and a “shadow.” Risk-taking can mean racing your mom’s car on the Tollway ortrying out for the school play. Competition can mean who’s the meanest dude inthe ‘hood … or which class raised the most money for the charity. Our teen boy isall about figuring out how to harness those four fierce forces inside himself andshaping them into honorable manhood. From that vantage point, it’s easy to seehow important dad’s and other men’s connections become to our son. 


3.  The three-sentence rule is essential to practice. While speaking, gossiping,chattering are the “coin of the realm” in a female’s world, not so among guys. Wemoms approach our sons like we would our girl friends, sisters or daughters.Talking equates with connecting. But as dear friend/therapist told me many yearsago, “Boys only listen to the first three sentences. Choose them carefully.”  Whenmoms of teen sons attend my classes, I give them the homework assignment oflimiting themselves to three sentences and then stopping, especially during “hot”times, disagreements, disciplinary events, etc. Mom after mom returns to classfrustrated: “I can’t do it!” they decl
are. Hundreds of moms into this experiment, I
agree that it is hard but I reassure them that practice helps. One mom told a classthat she had notice an interesting pattern in her home: her son only heard in three-sentence bytes; her husband only spoke in three-sentence bytes. “Greatobservation,” I congratulated her. “I’d say it’s just the indication you need to letyour husband handle more of the communication with your son! Yippee, you’reout of the loop!”

Today, I hold those two photos in my heart: arms wrapped around my dear

boy; strong young man gazing into his own future. My mom’s wise voice echoes tome, “A good parent’s job is to put themselves out of a job.” May we watch,encourage and wait with faith as our precious boys begin their orbits. May wewelcome back the fine men they become.

Special note: You may have heard me say that the “secret weapon” in raising a teenage son is his father. Toward that end, I’ll be leading a seminar entitled “DudesBeing Dudes” for 8th and 9th grade sons and dads, coming up August 20th. It’ll be a fun way to get into those oh-so-important guy conversations, with humor, variedages of guys present, on a basis of faith.

Also, for the first time this fall, I’ll be offering “tele-forums” and individual

and group coaching. For information, check my website,www.kathleenfischer.com, or email to put your name on the e-flyer list,

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