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Look Mom, no hands!

Today’s Guest Contributor is Marie Bellet, friend of Bellator Society.


Boys! They can’t stop moving, always forget to close the door and make too much NOISE!

Heaven to them is a $5 plastic sword, an old broken lawnmower motor, and the freedom of an unsupervised afternoon.  It’s a shame that  boys’ impulsive energy and clumsy attempts at mastery are often taken the wrong way – as if they were evidence of a malicious desire to disrupt order and decency, instead of the seeds of masculine, self-sacrificing love. Problem solvers, risk takers, loyal to a fault; I LOVE boys.

They are made ultimately to defend what is good, beautiful and true.

It is lurking there in their design. It is the femininity of a mother, her receptivity to goodness, and her way of being in the world that channels a boy’s intensity and inspires him to do the difficult things that men must do.

Women are mysterious, unpredictable and worth knowing.  Every now and then, when your son least expects it, there is a laugh instead of a reprimand. There is an apology instead of a fight. There is a note in the lunch box for no special reason at all. Our world contains a secret that men do not understand. It is the pursuit of this secret – from the love of a mother, to the mystery of a first crush, to the call to a life’s vocation, that gives the striving of men’s lives meaning.

And what about when you notice that young man’s jaw begin to tense, see him longing for even more independence- a first girlfriend, a first job? No matter how reckless or successful he may become, everyone needs a witness.

As the years go by, that is the most important thing we mothers do.

We notice the tone of the voice, the look in the eye, the need not to be asked. We see it all and we pronounce that it is good- that nothing is wasted, that they gave it their best. We notice what it is that they have to give and ask for it. Let them open the jelly jar, pump the gas, use the screwdriver to fix something- even if there is a good chance they might mess it up. There is a spark in their eyes when they discover they can supply what is needed. The pleasure of being a provider- a protector! We receive them. We do not ask them to be like us- we welcome their difference.

Do not hover over him- that does not feel like love to him.

Let him show you what he can do. Let him earn the money to buy that thing he wants.  He will feel respected as a man. Let him try out for a sport he might not be good at and let him fail. Let him have his suffering- it will form him. Let him be the one to talk to the teacher when he gets a bad grade. You don’t have to control everything. Say your rosary. When he sees that you trust him to deal with the hard things, he will know that he can do it and will not be afraid of the world. Seen through loving eyes, a man can do anything, or give his life trying.

The peace with which we give our time and attention to our sons proves that they, personally, are worth our very lives. It is the face-saving remark that forgives and hides their shame at an unexpected blunder that will inspire them to overcome setbacks and rise above themselves. It is the acknowledgment that they are trying to do what is good, no matter how awkwardly. If we do not see the goodness in them, who will?


Marie is a singer/songwriter and mother of eight sons and one daughter. She has written and recorded five albums about the reality of family life and the peace to be found in giving to one another. “I want to tell others that sacrifice is not stupidity or victimization. It is noble. It is transformative. It is love.” Marie lives in Nashville, TN with her husband of 33 years, Bill, a psychologist with sense.

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