This is not necessarily a post about Christian living, rather thoughts my thoughts as a father trying of four boys in ages from 16 to 20. I have no experience with girls. I cannot tell you the first thing about the differences between boys and girls. I have however seen significant differences between families who have one male child and those of us with more. I once picked up a book about raising boys and put it down when I read that the author had just one son. While he meant well, there was no way that he understood my life. It possible you have no idea, so I thought I would share a few observations for you to ponder.
1. There is never enough food and drinks. One of my boys once told me that he did not think he could physically make it four hours between meals. They eat and eat and follow that with snacks. For many years, if it were not a value meal, the boys would never have had fast food. Other people would tell us how cheap it was to go out to eat and we would laugh.
2. Injuries happen all the time. There has not been a sport where one of the boys did not get hurt. Right now, one of them has an injury that we are told will take two years to heal completely. No big deal that is our life. We have had broken bones, concussions, tears, stitches, surgeries along with innumerable aches and pains. We no longer overreact to the bumps and bruises of life.
3. Sports are less important. When our oldest was working his way through the various sports at school, it seemed like the most important thing in life. Now as they have all moved through the system, we have developed a different perspective. Sports are fun, but they are short-lived adventures that are forgotten with time. I now encourage the boys to enjoy the moment, to smile and laugh, to make friends with the kids on your team while being kind to the other team. Honestly, not one person will care in your college or adult life what accomplishments you had in junior high or high school.
4. Little things stay little. At first, our family celebrated every milestone as if it were the biggest deal in the world. You won a prize, then let’s have a party. You made the honor roll, then we better announce it to the world. Over time we realized that people love to celebrate everything, and it is exhausting to try to keep up. We have boxes and boxes of printed certificates of accomplishment from our boys that get filed and never looked at again. We do not celebrate anything unless it is huge. Otherwise, we end up celebrating all the time.
5. Brotherly love. My boys have all had friends in their life. They enjoy the company of others, but when you look closely, their brothers are their best friends. One of the reasons I stopped fighting them playing video games is because they always play together. With online features, the younger ones will spend part of their weekend playing with their brothers in college. They celebrate each other, the look for each other and they are good friends to one another.
Through the years my wife and I have shared numerous smiles as we have watched people with one boy. Their perspective on life is so much different from ours. Part of that comes from our faith and the other from the size of our family. If you spent a week in my shoes, you would see that life is different when you have four boys that you are trying to raise into mature men of God.