Turtle lessons


Raising sons to be courageous , Godly men is the most frightening I think about my future. It’s our job to raise up a man in the kingdom. A man that will respect and love people, and provide well for his family.

There’s a special privilege for mothers with sons. We get to help shape them into a man we would desire our daughters to marry. Not literally. But when I think of our sons wife I think of someone I would call my daughter. I will love her like I love him. Why not shape him into someone who will serve and love her well? Why not proudly give him to her on their wedding day, knowing full well I’ve done my best to make him a man fit to guide her.

While it’s the most frightening thing for me , it’s a healthy fear . I know the severity of the importance of raising boys to be men. It’s vital to this generation to raise men. Not boys. They must be wise. They must be strong and they must be bold in their faith.

Asher is 6 and we have already had to deal with a number of character issues, while carefully not crushing his strong spirit. I want him to be strong. In fact that’s my favorite part about his spirit. He doesn’t back down when he knows something is correct. I’ve learned to take his word for certain things, usually he is right. There is a fine line we walk as parents not to kill their spunk, but to teach them respect.

Respect to adults , peers and animals. Yes I just said animals. No we are not PETA members and my husband hunts and fishes on the reg, but today I came face to face with my son mistreating an animal. Another lesson in the books. Right next to potty training and saying thank you for party favors.

It was a usual morning , gathering the kids up to go to a birthday party. Asher ran inside from playing and informed me there was a baby turtle outside.

” mom!!! Come see it! It’s sooo cute ! Can I keep him in my room?”
” no buddy, turtles need to stay out doors. ”

Plus mommy doesn’t do reptiles. Or anything that needs to be fed other than humans .

I kept doing my makeup , all the while assuming he was riding his bike outside. About 5 minutes later he runs back inside.

” mom. I think I killed the turtle. He wouldn’t wake up so I hit him.”

The blood splattered pavement as I walked into the backyard hit me like a ton of bricks. He really did kill this turtle. This tiny baby turtle was gushing out blood like a fire hydrant testing and there was nothing I could do about it. My first reaction was to tell him to get into the van. I didn’t yell . I was listening.

I walked back inside , asking The Lord how to handle this situation. I was completely shocked that my son who wouldn’t even squish an ant last week just killed this turtle. He is 6 and innocent, right? He doesn’t know what he just did right?

:: Don’t shame him.::

Ok Lord.

I got him out of the van while my sisters watched the girls. We were going to be late for a birthday party, but this moment couldn’t be prolonged. I brought him over to the dying turtle and asked him to sit beside it. As it struggled to move I asked him to look at it. His face turned away and tears streamed down his face.

:: he is already feeling guilty. Don’t rub it in. Show him love.::

” Do you think he is sad that you hit him buddy?”
” Yes , he’s hurting. I’m so sorry. I just didn’t think I hit him that hard. He was asleep. I wanted him to crawl and be my friend.”

With a towel in hand , I asked Asher to tell the turtle he was sorry. Tell Jesus he was sorry for mistreating an animal. I never once raised my voice as to shame him. I was quiet. Almost a whisper, as I let him confess his guilt. I didn’t have to go searching for it. He knew it was wrong.

What would have happened if I shamed him? I know my son and he would have lashed out. He would have run away down the driveway, gotten on his bike and refused to speak to me. Feeling more awful about himself.

All it took was getting on his level. Letting him feel grief and regret for what he did. But I didn’t leave him in that place. We took the turtle and placed it in the woods. It was dead by this point and I was glad it wasn’t suffering anymore.

Asher placed the turtle on a tree branch and backed away.

” I’m so sorry mom.”

” it’s not me you need to apologize to buddy. What you did doesn’t make you a bad kid. Ok? Do you understand me? I’m not upset with you, just disappointed. But you learned. ”

” I won’t ever hurt a turtle again.”

And you know what ? He won’t. Because he learned in that moment what it’s like to see your actions go into affect. There’s moments where children don’t need to be taught a ” lesson”.

Be quiet and still, calm and gentle. The Holy Spirit in them will do the rest.

I am in no way saying that I never have to punish my children. But I am learning quickly that they are smart little creatures. Often times when we give them a chance to repent they will. To me , teaching them to use their own minds for occasions like this is more helpful in the long run.

When he is an adult and makes a bad choice will I be there to spank him? I wish, but no. He has to learn right now the value of right and wrong and consequences for his actions. Before it’s too late. Or before we break a child’s spirit.

Before he turns into a robot wimp.

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