Somewhere along the way, my sons learned the idea of princes and princesses. One day after I picked the boys up from the nursery at church, Ethan asked me to put his blanket around him like a princess. I thought it was just precious!
I’ve never been worried about gender specific things like making sure the boys only like blue, sports and dirt. While they do love all things boy related, they also love pink, Frozen, Sofia the First, and being sweet to their mama. These things all fall under the very good category in my opinion. So when my son says he wants to be a princess, I’m cool with it.
The other night, the boys corrected themselves and said that they wanted to be princes. So we had a whole make believe session where they were the princes and I was the Queen. They laid down on the floor and covered themselves in their “capes” and said, “Goodnight prince!” It was adorable.
After I tucked in my princes and kissed their sweet faces for the last time that evening, I thought about this idea of my sons as princes and me as a Queen.
I realized that until my sons came along, I never deemed myself worthy of any such title or treatment. I lacked a great deal of self respect and self worth; therefore, I chose men who lacked respect for me as well. In relationships, I was never treated like a Queen. The concept makes me slightly uncomfortable to be honest, because I still struggle with my worth at times. However, a failed marriage and my 3 amazing boys helped me regain a sense of value, purpose and meaning. I now understand what it means to be treated like a queen.
It means respect, loyalty, honor, kindness, dignity and attention. In truth, these are basic things everyone deserves. Unfortunately, they seem rare.
I spend my days making sure the boys know how loved they are. I want them to never question that I not only loved and cared for them, but that I also respected and valued them. I believe that boys who are taught early on to both love and respect their mother, as well as themselves, grow up to be wonderful men. Real men. Sensitive men. Men who appreciate women rather than use them. Men who respect women rather than degrade them. Men who uphold and support women rather than seeing them as an obstacle. Men who honor and dignify women rather than manipulate and abuse them. Men who see the true beauty in women, not just their sex appeal.
These kind of men exist in the world because they were raised by strong and courageous women who understood their worth and value. Prince Charming isn’t just born. He is raised.
What I have observed in my life, not only through personal experience but through professional and observational experience as well, is that so much brokenness in relationships stems from broken men.
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick”. Brene Brown
Men who grow up without strong role models, be it male or female, are often left to fend for themselves. In my experience, this doesn’t typically go well. Sure, they make it. They survive. They may even go on to marry and have successful families of their own. But much of the time, broken little boys grow up to be wounded men.
Hurting, wounded men hurt and wound women. Then hurt and wounded women find other damaged, busted men who they want to heal, save and change, and then the cycle continues. It continues through their pained and wrecked children who struggle to find their place among the shattered pieces of their parent’s hearts.
Again, that’s not to say it all falls on men. My broken pieces came from all over the place, and of course I already had a few cracks before I met my husband. But when I laid his wounded heart on top of mine, the weight was too much and it shattered me.
When I met him, I saw pain in his eyes. Deep, soul crushing pain. I saw a wounded, scared little boy. I thought I could protect those scars and heal him into a strong, brave, courageous man. What I learned is that retrospectively trying to raise a wounded little boy into a man is hard, if not impossible. A traumatic childhood doesn’t just damage the boy. It often ruins the man.
In my guts, I believe that my purpose for my boys is to ensure that they are not only raised by a whole, healthy, self respecting mama; but that they also grow into whole, healthy, self respecting men. One of my biggest fears through my divorce has been the damaging impact it will have on them. I have feared that no matter how great of a job I do, there will be inevitable pain and brokenness that stems from this awful situation. That they will grow up in a fragmented home, wounded and confused by the reality of their father and my inability to maintain our family as a whole. And then, that they will follow his troubled footsteps.
The truth is, I have no idea how this will all impact them later in life. All I have is today. What I do know is that my boys are learning the value of a woman through me. They are learning the value of themselves through me. They are learning what mutual respect looks like, the importance of kindness, and the significance of relationships. They are learning how to love and be loved. How to be vulnerable and allow themselves to feel. How to have compassion and empathy for others. How to care about someone besides themselves, while also caring for themselves. How to be a prince and how to treat a woman like a queen. And most importantly, how to serve their King and submit themselves to God and His authority.
I think good queens treat others with the same dignity and respect she expects and deserves. I believe in life you get back what you put out. So I’m going to treat my boys like the princes they are. I’m their queen and it’s my job to teach them how to treat their princesses some day.
The world is full of douche bags. It’s crawling with wolves covered in sheep’s clothing. But these wolf-like douche bags didn’t come out that way. At least not entirely.
They were created. They were wounded, neglected, unloved, abandoned, abused, and tossed aside. Or they were simply given no limits, no boundaries and no expectations. They were taught that they ruled. They were shown that women don’t respect themselves, and neither should they. Or they were shown that men don’t respect women, and neither should they. They were taught that women were a means to an end. Second class citizens. Less than.
Unfortunately, I married the broken boy hoping I could turn him into a whole, healed man. I learned the hard way it just doesn’t work that way. So I’m on a mission.
I’m the first woman my boys will ever know and love. I’m their example. It is through me that they will either understand or misunderstand women. They’ll learn to respect or disrespect women because of me.
Unfortunately their father didn’t treat me like a queen. He wasn’t raised by one, and he wasn’t treated like a prince. But my boys are being raised differently. My sons treat me like their queen because they understand they are princes. Royalty. Heirs to the throne. Loved, cherished, valued, respected, honored. Not just by me, but by God. They’re chosen by the one true king. The one who chose me to be their mother. Their example. Their everything in these early years.
And so, I will rise to the occasion. I will wear the crown with pride. I will cherish this role God has placed me in and nurture these boys He has entrusted to me. I will raise them to be God-fearing, self-respecting men. I will teach them to be loving, compassionate, gentle, and kind. I will show them how to be dignified in their behavior, to have integrity, to respect people, and to care about the hearts of others.
I will demonstrate what true beauty means and that it’s found much deeper than the surface. I will embed a sense of honor, pride, and morality into my sons. I will give them boundaries, limits and an understanding of their place in the world. I will teach them that they are not better than, but they are also never less than. That women are life givers who should be honored and respected.
I will teach them that nothing comes before God and that we are all submitted to His authority. That He is the King, who made me their queen, who made them the princes that they are.
I wasn’t able to provide the perfect picture of marriage to my boys, but I don’t have to. With God’s help and the influence of amazing men who understand women are queens and princesses, I will raise these princes to take their place in the kingdom some day as true prince charmings. And I think we’re doing pretty good so far!