Author Susan Cottrell On Men
Today I have Susan Cottrell weighing in with an excerpt from her upcoming book. I’ve written before about how men need to have their heart question answered and Susan agrees. I’m grateful she has taken the time to share her thoughts and I highly recommend her new book.
Susan Cottrell is a writer, speaker and teacher. Married 25 years, she and Rob have five (nearly) grown children. Susan homeschooled for some twenty years… until she ran out of energy! She is set to release her newly expanded book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too. Her second book, The Marriage Renovation, is soon to be published. She loves to lead retreats and seminars, teaching women, couples and teens about the freedom for which Christ has set them free (Galatians 5:1). She loves to travel, watch old movies and eat chocolate. Contact her directly at FreedHearts.org.
The following excerpt is from Susan’s upcoming book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too.
Men and Boys
Men are more vulnerable than we realize, and I believe that inside every man is a little boy who needs to know he’s enough. Boys need to hear, regularly and authentically, that they have what it takes to be a man. Whether your son is an athlete, a pianist, a writer or anything else, he needs constant affirmation that God has equipped him fully as a man, and God will faithfully complete the good work He began in him (Philippians 1:6). Dads especially need to engage with their sons – affirming, including and accepting them as the person God designed them to be.
Mom’s job is to let their boys grow up, let them separate, encourage them to take risks and trust them to become men. Tell them you know they can do it. Hold the crown above their head and let them grow into it.
I failed at this when my family was at a rock-climbing wall at the fair. Our David, barely four, wanted to climb. I immediately decided $5 was too much to pay for him to climb two feet and then quit. I foolishly told Rob that Dave was too little and could not do it. He said, “I can do it, Mom.” Rob paid the money and David did climb – all the way to the top. And when he got down, he said, “See Mom? I knew I could do it.” Risking my son’s view of his manhood is not worth $5.
Not only do our boys need to believe they have what it takes to be men and to succeed, they also need to understand that their job is to love and protect the women in their lives – mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. They need to esteem girls, encourage them, treat them with dignity, and not use them for their own pleasure. If boys would treat the girls in their lives as they hope their future wives are being treated, what a sweet impact that would make in our culture. Dads can lead their boys this way, by their own example of kindness and respect.
I learned disdain for men growing up, from my father who was constantly disappointed in my brothers for not reaching his impossible standards. God had to break that old paradigm so His love could prevail. I had to surrender to Him, to let Him do His great healing work in me. But He did. It’s what He does best!
Thank you again Susan. These short paragraphs are packed with great thoughts on what every man needs.
Question: What have you done lately to help the men in your life believe they have what it takes?
This is a great subject. Our society has twisted the definition of a man and a woman. The deep need of each is vastly different. I can’t count the number of men I’ve spoken with in my life to remind them to treat women like they would want their daughters to be treated. Society has inadvertently sought to bury the characteristics that make up men. All boys want to wrestle, climb, conquer. It is the way God designed us. We need to embrace the differences between the sexes. Thanks for the great post and thanks to Audra for hosting.
Floyd, as always I’m extremely grateful for your comments. Great thoughts here. I would add, that with today’s politics, our culture is being very direct about burying the characteristics that make up our men. It’s really frightening. But God’s got this and He will not allow the culture to prosper. One day every single knee will bow. Thanks again Floyd.
Thanks for the comment! Yes, I agree, we try to feminize men, to take out the warrior that, as you said, God put into them. But God put it in them so they could protect their women, not hurt them. The more women can embrace those differences, as you suggest, the more they can be a support to their men and not a bur in their saddle. 🙂
To answer Audra’s great question, I continually have to entrust them to their Savior. Just this week, the Lord showed me two things I was trying to push through because I KNEW it was the right way! I get torqued because I don’t think it’s going to happen. God had to say, “You know, I got this. You want to scoot out of the driver’s seat now? I have a different destination in mind than you do. How about if I drive?” It’s humbling. To surrender the steering wheel (and allow myself to be humbled) is really the biggest thing I can do. Tough!
Yes, we’re always trying to drive, because it seems so much easier! But we learn over and over, that HIS yoke is light, His is the only way. So blessed to have met you Susan!
Oy, I was typing on my phone–enough of that! ;0)
Excellent points, Susan, and great reminders, too. Excellent question at the end, too, Audra.
In so many ways, I have struggled with being life-giving/man affirming to both my husband and my son. I haven’t meant to, of course. God has had a lot of work to do in me, to help peel back the “never trust a man because he will ALWAYS” let you down reality of my youth. Further, my son has some wiring differences which do not place him along the Bell curve for normal social development. I believe, in God’s time, he will have all that manhood requires, but I fear that I have often pulled the over-protection (emasculation?) card on him because his tender feelings have been squashed so many times. It’s a constant push–>towards new experiences and ideas and equally constant pull–>from the harsh reality of people in our culture who don’t have patience with differences.
In His beautiful, infinitely wise way, God has gently soothed the hurts of my heart, allowing me to trust His plan for me. As I realize the importance of my own womanhood and the need to be a helpmeet, rather than the CEO of my family, I can act within those boundaries to bless my husband by allowing him to lead. And, with my son…I’ve learned (and am still learning), that our culture is stupid, with arbitrary timelines for manliness. However, God made my son, and knows his timelines; His work is a masterpiece, and with His love and patience, we’re figuring out the tapestry that is my son, now at 16, and the man he’s becoming.
Lastly, I’m trying to raise my precious daughter with the knowledge that her God is infinite, but her Daddy hung the moon. Her brother is her protector, and she is beautiful as long as she seeks first the Kingdom of God, which usually looks like the acronym, JOY (Jesus, Others, Self).
Gretchen, I want you to know how much it means to me that you “talk” to me through the comments of our different platforms. While it’s not nearly like if we lived by each other, it eases the pain somewhat!
Truly, truly, truly you inspire me! Your writing, your thoughts, your giant heart for God. All of you. I cannot get over how far you and I have come in the past 2o years! We are proof God can do absolutely anything!!! : )
You know it’s interesting, as two roommates who had grown up believing men would always let us down, our lives could have turned out really different. Praise God He got ahold of us and our wrong thinking.
Love your line about being the CEO of your own family, I spent years trying to do just that.
I hope you’re working on your book. The kingdom desperately needs it.
What a timely message to reach my inbox. So thankful you shared this with us today Susan. I especially found truth in these words: “Hold the crown above their head and let them grow into it.”
And, I am equally blessed by the love wrapped in your words about rock-climbing.
Thank you, Audra, for this introduction. A book I must read.
Ginger, I think you will really enjoy this book. I too, loved the phrase you quoted about the crown. Thank you for taking time to comment and to”share the love” on twitter!