Should I Advocate for My Son?
When should I advocate for my son and when should I just leave it in God’s hands? Should I be the mom who micromanages every detail of my son’s life? Or should I take a more fatalistic approach that says “Well, I guess that’s what God wanted.” Or perhaps somewhere in between?
That’s what we’re going to talk about in today’s episode of Redeeming the Chaos.
I’m your host, Laurie Christine. I’m a mom of 4 boys, an author, a Bible teacher, and a certified Biblical Parenting Coach.
This is the podcast for moms who may feel a bit frazzled and overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising boys. If you want your boys to grow up to be strong, courageous young men who are fully committed to following Jesus, this show is for you.
I’d love for you to join me on this wild, wonderful, chaotic adventure of raising courageous boys and connecting their hearts to Christ.
You can listen to the episode here, or read a blog post version below:
Hey Mommas, it has been quite some time since I have chatted with you all! How was your summer? Has school started yet for your guys? As usual, summer flew by for our family and it was filled with lots of fun and family time.
My boys started school last week here in Pennsylvania. I feel like the start of school is always full of mixed emotions, both for my boys and for their momma! The boys are full of anticipation for the beginning of a new year, yet grieving the end of their vacation. They’re excited to see old friends and meet new teachers, yet they’re nervous about new buildings and busy schedules.
Here are a few first day pictures of my boys! Don’t look too closely at my no-makeup face and greasy hair! Just keepin’ it real, folks. 🙂
I’m curious how your boys felt about school this year? I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email at Laurie @ LaurieChristine.com and tell me about your boys! What grades are your boys are in, do you still have some kids at home, and what type of school do your boys attend?
This year my boys are in 6th, 5th, 2nd and 1st.
New School, New Teachers, New Anxiety
As I said a minute ago, the beginning of school can bring with it a lot of mixed emotions, the biggest of which is often anxiety. Both for mom and boys!
One of my boys is moving to a new school building this year where all six elementary schools in the district converge into one massive fifth and sixth grade building with over a thousand students. It’s a big transition that has instilled anxiety into many a parent and child.
I was worried. Will my son know anyone in his class? Will he have anyone to sit with at lunch? Will he ever see his friends again?
As the summer drew to a close and the new school year approached, I found myself asking myself some hard questions:
Do I really trust God with my kids? Do I trust that he knows what’s best for them? Does he really have their best interest in mind?
The answer is of course, Yes. He loves them more than I ever could. He sees the big picture. He knows what they need. He knows the person he wants them to become. He knows exactly what challenges and hardships they need to become the person he wants them to be.
But do I just sit back and trust God’s sovereign control, OR is it okay to advocate for what I think is best for my kids?
I think the answer is: BOTH
The definition of an advocate is someone who publicly supports or defends another person’s situation. It’s actually a legal term often used to describe lawyers who defend their clients in court.
Of course, our natural mother-bear instincts want to defend our kids to the death. Our tendency is to protect our kids from anything bad or uncomfortable happening to them.
And I think to some extent that is the right thing to do. Obviously we want to keep our kids from physical harm or emotional trauma.
But sometimes situations are beyond our control. It’s fine to make an attempt to change a situation for the best. But ultimately we must trust God with the outcome.
It’s Just Not Fair
I had been praying that my son would end up on the same team as his friends. He has experienced some bullying in the past and tends to be easily influenced by peer pressure. A few weeks before the beginning of school, I found out that his three best friends were all on the same team.
And my son ended up on a different team.
Basically, what that means is, he’ll never, ever see those friends at school. Ever.
Really Lord? How is that fair? Doesn’t that seem like a harsh thing to do do a 10 year old?
I was not happy about this news. More questions went through my head:
Does God care if my son has any friends this year? Did he even hear my prayer?
Now, I realize in the grand scheme of things, this is a very minor issue. I know some of you listening have much heavier, more important matters that you are bringing before the Lord. I don’t want to take that lightly.
But I also know this is an issue that does weigh heavily on many mothers’ hearts. We want what’s best for our boys. We want them to have friends. We want them to have someone to sit with at lunch and play with at recess. We want them to have peers who will influence them to be decent human beings who make good choices and who are kind to others.
So, I had a decision to make. Do I just accept things as they are, trusting that God knew what he was doing, or do I make an attempt to change the situation?
Again, at least in this situation, I think the answer is: BOTH.
I think I could have just let it go and trusted that God would protect my son and provide for him this year. I don’t think it would have been wrong for me to do nothing.
But I also thought this might be a good opportunity to connect with my son on a deeper level and perhaps strengthen his faith.
I decided to contact the school and see if my son could be switched to the other team. (Actually, I made my husband do it, because he’s much more diplomatic in these situations than I am. I was afraid I would get emotional and yell at someone about how the whole system just isn’t fair).
But first, I wanted to talk to my son.
I told him about the situation with his friends. I asked him if he’d like for me to contact the school and see if he could possibly be switched to another team. (I checked with him first, because if he didn’t really care, then it wasn’t worth pursuing). He was excited about the prospect of seeing his friends at school and seemed relieved that I was willing to do something about it.
I did tell him that there was a good chance the school would say no, but I was going to pray about it and see how God might answer our prayer.
Here’s a summary of the conversation we had: (and I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as eloquent as this!)
“Hey, buddy, this is an opportunity for us to trust God and see God at work. I’m going to pray about this. Will you pray too? I would love for you to be on a team with your friends, but I don’t know if that is God’s will for you this year. God always hears us when we pray. Sometimes his answer is yes, but sometimes his answer is no.
If the answer is yes, we will thank God for his mercy and gracious kindness. But if the answer is no, we’re going to trust that God knows what he’s doing; that God has something better in mind for you this year. It’s possible that God wants to teach you to trust him and rely on him in a scary situation. We’re going to pray about this and trust God, even if he does not give us the answer we hope for.”
I didn’t know what God had planned for my son this year, or how he would work in his heart. Maybe God wanted to demonstrate to my son that he answers prayer and he is powerful, or maybe he wanted my son to learn to trust God in the midst of a difficult circumstance.
Either way, my prayer was that he would grow closer to God, and that God would continue to bring situations into his life that would strengthen his character and make him more like Jesus. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if it’s not my first choice. Even if it’s hard.
And the truth is, God used this situation to test my own faith as well. (Haha, who am I kidding. God’s whole purpose in this situation was likely to test my own faith!)
Can I trust God with the lives of my kids? Do I trust that he is working in their lives? Do I trust that God cares about their hearts and their friendships, as much as I do?
So, How Did God Answer Your Prayer?
Well, I’m sure you’re eager to hear the end of the story.
As it turned out, we were not able to change my son’s team this year. After multiple phone calls and emails with the guidance counselor and principal, they very politely and emphatically said, “No.”
(Again, I made my husband do most of the communicating, so that I wouldn’t burst into tears or burn any bridges with the principal).
But now, two weeks into school, I can see God’s hand in the situation. My son was very gracious and took the news quite well when we told him. He is adjusting to his new classes and new school, and he is making new friends.
Here are just a few of the ways God showed kindness to us:
- We were able to have my son’s seat on the bus switched so that he could at least sit with one of his best friends on the bus. (another story, but yet again, another situation where we advocated for our son, and this time, action was taken).
- We found out that one of the boys from his Cub Scout troop is in his homeroom.
- My son came home the first week of school, talking about several new boys he had gotten to know and was playing with at recess.
I’m confident that God is working, and he is holding all my boys in his hands. He allows just the right amount of stress and anxiety and difficulty into our lives, in order to bring us closer to him and to transform us into the person he has created us to be.
How to Advocate for Your Kids
Now, just a few more words about advocating for your kids…
As a mom, you know your boys better than anyone. If you think a situation is unjust, or just doesn’t sit right with you, take the steps needed to change the situation. Email the principal. Talk to the mom of the other kid involved. There’s nothing wrong with being “that mom.”
(Especially when your kids are younger… I don’t have teenagers yet, but I imagine there will come a time when it is no longer appropriate for me to call the mom of the kid who was being mean to my son on the bus… what 16 year old wants that??)
Now, on the other extreme, you don’t want to be the mom who never lets your son fail, or who never lets him struggle through anything in life. This can also be detrimental to your son’s development. I could probably do a whole episode on the importance of allowing your son to fail. Maybe I’ll cover that topic in an upcoming episode.
But the bottom line is… God is ultimately in control. Do what you can to change a situation, while humbly trusting God with the outcome of your son’s life.
Another Way to Advocate for Your Son
But there is another way that we should advocate for our boys – and that is through prayer.
Did you know that the Bible says Jesus is our advocate? He goes before God the Father on our behalf.
I John 2:1 says: “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”
What a beautiful picture of Jesus, pleading our case before the Father.
But you know what? We can take our boys before the Father as well! We can advocate for our sons and plead their case before our Father in heaven.
Hebrews 4:16 says that we can come boldly before the throne of God and he will give us mercy and grace!
So, mommas, let’s boldly bring our boys before the throne of our gracious God and advocate on their behalf!
Free Ebook: Confident Prayers
If you need help knowing how to pray for your boys, I have a free ebook for you called Confident Prayers: Using Scripture to Pray for Your Children.
This book is a collection of 10 scripture passages, with accompanying prayers based on those same passages.
These prayers will help you use the actual words of the Bible to pray for your boys.
I John 5:14-15 says, “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”
Ephesians 3:12 says, “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”
After a long break from podcasting over the summer, I am excited to jump back in with some great content for you mommas. By the way, did you know this is the 50th episode of Redeeming the Chaos! Woo hoo!
In the past, I have not been consistent with my goal of posting new content every-other-week. My goal this year (and by year, I mean “school year”, because that’s how my life is organized these days) … My goal this year is to be consistent in producing weekly podcast episodes for you gals.
I’m really excited about some of the upcoming topics and guests we will be having on the show.
In our next episode, I will be interviewing Hannah Hall, author of the devotional Thirsty: 12 weeks of drinking deeply from God’s word.
Other upcoming topics and guests include:
- Trusting God with my son’s heart – my personal story of my oldest son who was born with a congenital heart defect
- An interview with Steph Thurling, author of the book Prayerful Kids
- A second interview with David Thomas – Author of Wild Things – and his new book: Raising Emotionally Strong Boys
- Lastly – I am working on a new devotional book for middle grade boys that I will be giving away for FREE. I’m super excited to tell you all about it later this fall… but for now, let me just tell you… it’s a devotional Bible story… and there are dragons. I mean, what 10 year old boy doesn’t want to read that??