Releasing Boys to Be Men

Aug 24, 2016 | Faith

It’s been a full week. To the naked eye it seems like things are normal but as I listened to my heart I realized I am holding on to my emotional strings tightly, trying to hold things together.

Big transitions are happening at our house this summer and I can’t keep the moments in my hands. 

Some moments in life are so routine, we hurry them on. Some moments are so big we don’t realize what they are until they’re past, never to return.

This is one of those big-moment times.

First we moved the girl to the mission field, and now I’m releasing my second son as we move him to college for the first time. Somehow I feel like he left a long time ago even though he’s in his bed every night. I don’t want it any different because I don’t want my sons tied to my apron strings.  My son’s grown into a capable leader, a responsible young man, and a role model to those he’s mentored in sports.

Somewhere in the last six yearsI let go of his hand as it grew bigger so he could make decisions on his own and develop into the man he’s created to be.

As I let go of his hand, I’ve learned to stand on the sidelines and be there when needed while allowing him to stand on his own.

I grew up in a family with all girls.  My firstborn is a girl. Releasing boys is different. I don’t want to hover. But I also don’t want to give a firm hand-shake and say, “Have a nice life, son.”

Girls come back to their mamas a little more when they’re older for wisdom and insight, at least mine has. Boys rightfully seek wisdom from other male figures as they get older.  Mamas of boys learn their roles change as boys leave their nest. We silently sew part of ourselves into their heart whether they realize it or not. Wherever he goes, his mama will always be there. Part of her heart ripped out, attached to his for safe keeping.

So today I’m a mess as I join the ranks of millions of moms who’ve sent their sons off on their own – to the military, to college, to the home they’re making with their chosen girl or to pursue their dreams in a distant place.

I rest in knowing I’ve worked hard at making time for little-big moments along the way.

  • Moments when he needed to talk
  • Moments when he needed me to stand beside him instead of in front of him
  • Moments when I stood my ground for his character training
  • Moments when I sat in the dark and cried because he couldn’t.

I rest in knowing he’s chosen good friends and mentors who’ve helped him sift through the things I may never know about.

For a few days yet, I’ll let myself cry. I’ll move to the next phase with this child while holding a little tighter to the son I still have at home. His time will be here soon.

Like Aerosmith, I don’t want to miss a thing.

How about you?  How do you capture moments, make transitions with your child, and let go? What have been your experiences?  We’d love to hear your journey as you’ve released boys or  your children who are ready to fly.


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  1. Darlene

    I have 4 sons. All of whom I’ve had to release to some degree. Two have moved out only to move back for a season. My oldest, a senior in college, reported to me today that his last semester grades are in. Straight A’s he told me with a wide grin. I treasured his smile in my heart. My youngest, a freshman in high school is on the cross country team. I have to let him experience sports on his own without Mom watching his practices. They do let me come to his races though, if I I’m not obnoxious with my cheering. My middle sons are in the work world. I have learned not to wake them up but let them get up on their own with their alarm. Even if they forget to set their alarm. If they are late for work once, they usually are never again. But it’s hard not to do things for them. I guess I should look at the bright side: I’m working myself out of a job. So I can focus on new tasks in this new season. Next month my youngest gets his driver’s permit. Yikes! A year from now I will no longer have to be the taxi driver. Yippee! There are some positives about releasing sons into the world. I’m not really a mess about it. I’ve learned not to cry when they leave because they always move back!

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thanks Darlene! Our kids are similar ages. Releasing them is a definite process, and releasing them to adulthood is the goal to be productive and contributing men in our culture. You’re doing it well. And sounds like you’re enjoying every part.

  2. Robin

    I wholeheartedly agree that releasing boys is different! Thank you for sharing this post today.
    Also, love “Like Aerosmith, I don’t want to miss a thing.”

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you so much Robin. Blessings to you as you don’t miss what’s left with yours!

  3. Cari

    My oldest is entering high school this year so I am soaking up all this advice on releasing sons.
    I love the thought of us sowing parts of ourselves into our sons. They may never acknowledge it, but it’s there non-the-less.
    Thank you!

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you Cari. Yes, their big tough guy won’t acknowledge it. But it’s there. Always.

  4. Lynn

    You said it all perfectly Brenda.


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