Creating An Army
When my oldest son was twelve years old, I made the mistake of purchasing him a shirt without him being present. I thought it would look so great on him. I came home with a huge smile on my face as I shared with him that I had a surprise. His giant smile turned to a disgusted face as I pulled a pink polo shirt out of the bag.
“Are you serious?” he said with the disgust still lingering on his face. I loved it when boys wore pink, and I spent the next few minutes explaining to him that it was cool for boys to wear pink and that he should just give it a try. He did not give it a try. He did not think that his mother’s style advice was worth taking.
So that adorable pink polo hung in his closet for months until one day everything changed. It was early on a Sunday morning and we were rushing around to head out the door for church when I saw him walking down the stairs. His black Converse shoes and denim jeans were a normal sight, but I stopped in my tracks when I noticed he was wearing the pink polo. I tried to act calm and not make a scene, but he noticed my shock and confusion and casually said, “Donnie told me real men wear pink.”
I could write a whole book about moments like this. Moments when I get so tired of trying to convince my boys of something, but then another important person in their life says it just one time and they’re all in. This, among many other reasons, is why I believe it is so important to create an “army” around your children.
You see, Donnie worked with me at the church and would often hang out with my boys and play video games with them. I scheduled these moments on purpose. I had a handful of men I trusted and unapologetically asked to spend time with my boys. I would ask them to take them to do simple things, such as let my boys help clean out the garage or join them for a simple Saturday lunch.
So the shirt was more than a pink polo to me. It was a symbol of an army that surrounded my boys, showing them what a godly man looks like in the day-in and day-out happenings. I wanted them to believe that real men do wear pink, are kind to other people, clean out their cars, tip the waitress, and spend time pouring into boys being raised by single moms. I wanted them to believe that real men exist. I wanted them to believe they could easily grow up to be one of those men.
That little pink-shirt-wearing twelve-year-old is now a senior in high school. One night, feeling overwhelmed with all the things happening in his life, he laid down next to me on the bed and said, “I think I need to call Randy and ask him to lunch.” I knew what this meant. It meant that he was at the end of his rope and he needed more than his momma to listen to him. He needed Randy, a guy who had poured into him for 10 years, to listen and give him advice. He needed others to walk alongside him at this moment. He needed his army.
We are not raising children; we are raising men and women. We must show our children what it looks like to grow up and be good. We need to be adamant about surrounding our children with trusted adults who are on the same page as we are. Be unapologetic about finding an army to help you raise your children. Otherwise, you might waste $20 on a pink polo that will never be worn.