The MAN he could be

30 Apr 2008

By The Record

Mothers are not irrelevant to their sons – although many seem to assume that they are – at least, compared to a father. Two Record staff (Justine, married with two sons and one daughter) and Caroline (sole parent with one son) review a fascinating book exploring how critical and character-building a mother’s influence can be in her son’s life.

This book is for every mother. It particularly focuses on preparing your son or sons to become the best husband and father that they can be. However all mothers will take something away from this beautifully written book that places life learning at the feet of God, the true father.
Sheri Rose Shepherd is a popular Christian conference speaker in America where she has been featured on Lifetime Television for Women and NBC’s Inside Edition. Her book Life is not a dress rehearsal has been endorsed by Women of Faith.
Reading how Shepherd was inspired to write this book draws at every mother’s heartstrings. She addresses an amazing concept, beginning by asking the crucial question, ‘What kind of husband will your son grow up to be?’
It offers hope to mothers regardless of their family situations.
In a world with a 50 per cent divorce rate both inside and outside the Church, where pornography is no longer a hidden shame but endorsed as acceptable entertainment, where boys have better relationships with their play stations, televisions and computers than they have with their families, this book makes essential reading and gives real hope that you can raise your son to one day love, lead and protect a wife and family in today’s world.
Shepherd argues that it is imperative that a mother builds the spiritual foundations so that her son can become a man with a godly heart.
Shepherd is specific when she says that this book is not meant as a replacement for the role a father plays in his son’s life and that we all know how important a Godly, loving father is. You are blessed if you have one.
But one in four homes today is without a man in the house at all and others have fathers who have given up or never learned the key role they are meant to play.
Shepherd offers hope by saying that although, as a mother, you cannot replace the father role you can raise what she calls a ‘modern day hero’ who will do right by his wife and family. She reasons that it is our responsibility as mothers and that we can build and show our sons, through our own mother-son relationships – that as mothers we need to share a spiritual intimacy with our son to show him how to fight for love, and that it is worth it!
The chapters are short, easy to read and practical, with bible readings and prayers, to inspire.  Shepherd divides each chapter into four sections: Life Happens, A Mother’s Influence, A Mother in Action; divided into age groups relevant to your sons stages of development, which makes it practical and easy to follow. She then concludes chapters with The Big Picture.
Justine: As a mother of sons I found this book particularly heartening as ‘life does happen,’ and sometimes we get lost along the way, becoming caught up in daily chores and forgetting that we are not just meant to survive our children’s childhood, but to parent for our children to become adults.
I found myself guilty, perhaps, of passing off ‘the boy stuff’ to my husband and maybe not being as involved as I should be. Shepherd showed me that I too have a huge role in preparing my son for his future wife and family.
Caroline: As a single parent raising a son I have been bewildered as to the profound influence his father has on him for some years with so little contact. Witnessing first-hand just how deep the male bond can be, I found myself questioning whether I could even compare. I was given this book at a time when my heartache was as its peak only to find that, yes, a mother plays a significant role in her son ‘s life and that it is just as important.  Not only that, it has been able to guide me in how I should approach certain key areas.
Justine: This book also made me consider how my sons related to, and treated their sister and also how my daughter related to them. I found that often if my sons were not particularly nice  to my daughter (perhaps an understatement) I would express my dislike in terms of how they were treating another person. After reading this book I now get them to think about her feelings, her point of view and how their actions may have affected her. In Shepherd’s words ‘preparing him for one of the greatest challenges: understanding that his words and actions have the power to either hurt or heal a woman’s heart’
Caroline: Once, my son turned to me during Sunday Mass and asked why the same man had to take up the collection. I explained it was his job. No sooner had I said that than I saw it as opportunity to elaborate. I explained that this man wanted to do something good for God so that God can be happy with him.  It is not so much about whether the explanation I gave my son could have been said differently, but more about learning to take advantage of life’s opportunities to help my son grow.
This book has enlightened me about ways I can steer him towards a relationship with God, which has been becoming more of an issue to me in establishing his faith with his church.   I foresee myself referring to it many times as guidance and for support.
We have both found this book thought provoking and profoundly moving in many ways. People say that when you read a book you learn only one thing from it. With this book there are a handful of important lessons.
Shepherd has provided a clearer path by channeling a mother’s intuition into practical ways of enhancing the mother-son relationship. It also challenges your thinking and proves that a mother’s role is not to be underestimated, and even more valuable than you may realise. She shows that, with God’s guidance and our prayers, training and influence in our sons’ lives we can equip the next generation of men. We hope you take the time to read it and that it illuminates your role as a mother in your son’s life just as much as it has done for us.