Raising Sons: Using Warrior Language
Posted Apr 27, 2016, Updated Jan 14, 2017
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Today I am branching out from the recipes that I normally share with you and touching on something more personal. (Don’t worry, I’ll be back again tomorrow with a delicious paleo brownie recipe!) I am sharing an aspect of my life that will leave me vulnerable, and if we’re being totally honest here (which is the only way to be) I’m
a little a lot nervous! There is such beauty in the diversity of women in this world. Every one of us has different opinions on how to live, eat & love. The way I mother my children is not something I take lightly. To me, being a Mommy is the most important thing I will do in this life. This post explains one of the ways that I show love to my husband and son. I truly hope this blesses you in some way! So let’s get started…
I remember the moment we found out the gender of our second child. The ultrasound tech said “it’s a boy” and I felt a rush of joy and excitement…we were having a son! I immediately sought counsel from every mom I knew who had boys. I received many helpful words of wisdom, but one in particular really struck me. It has stuck with me over the years and has greatly impacted the way I am both a mother to my son and a wife to my husband. This woman encouraged me to use “warrior language” with both of the men in my life.
Warrior language means speaking to our sons and husbands in ways that make them feel like there’s no mountain too tall, no battle too hard, and no task too dangerous for them to conquer. It’s using our words to celebrate their masculinity.
This doesn’t mean we don’t let Gabe’s older sister parade him around in a princess dress every now and again…but we don’t celebrate that the way we do when he carries something heavy for mommy or protects his sisters from getting hurt. We emphasize and nurture his innate masculine desires to fight for something bigger than himself, to defend justice, and to protect the weak.
Being intentional about the way that we speak to our sons is paramount. We can make simple changes to phrases we use regularly to make our little dudes believe they can take on the world. Some practical ways that we can use warrior language in our everyday lives include (but are not limited to):
We teach our son obedience using warrior language. Instead of simply giving a list of rules, we discuss how warriors behave. We ask him, “Would a warrior whine about sharing his toys? Would a ninja clean up fast or slow? Would a Jedi let fear stop him from going down a slide at the park?”
Warrior language encourages my son to feel confident as a man. A great example of this happened when he was helping my husband carry pieces of wood around the garage. I talked him up big time, telling him how strong he was to be able to lift such huge pieces of wood. You could see his little chest puff up and a satisfied smirk overtake his sweet face. Still to this day if I ask him to carry something for me he says, “Yes I can. I am so strong. I can lift heavy wood.” That kind of confidence isn’t something that just happens, it has to be nurtured into our men both big and small.
We teach him that truly great warriors are not only tough but tender. They are selfless, show mercy, and protect the people in their care.
We teach him that a real man—a warrior—treats women with respect. When we go out on mommy-son dates, my husband gives him money and he pays for our meal. When he gets a little too rough around his baby sister, we explain that his job is to protect her from getting hurt (and definitely NOT be the one to hurt her). My son is going to be someone else’s husband one day. I want him to be a great one.
We teach him that a great warrior does what’s right even if it’s hard. He doesn’t let fear stop him from doing anything. Gabe was afraid of climbing down from the top bunk in his room, so we had him do what we called “ladder training.” We told him he had to train like a Jedi (can you tell Star Wars is pretty huge in our house?) so that he could be brave and climb up and down that ladder, even if he was a little scared. After dinner he would randomly exclaim, “OH! We need to do ladder training!” and my husband would take him upstairs so he could conquer that ladder once and for all. He didn’t want to be afraid, he wanted to be courageous. Now, every time he climbs down that ladder you can see the look of pride in his face, knowing he vanquished that fear in true Jedi fashion.
We encourage his warrior spirit by praising him when he pretends to fight bad guys with his weapon of choice (light sabers, guns, knives, throwing stars…we have weapons abounding (play and real) in our house thanks to both of my men). However, if he tries to fight his mom or sisters we teach him that hurting innocent people is not allowed. We teach him to value life and that it’s not his job to decide who lives and dies.
All this seems deep for our son who is just about to turn three this weekend. ((T.h.r.e.e. (3)!!!). But when I look in his eyes I know he’s taking it all in. We’re laying a foundation now that will affect him the rest of his life. He is a boy. At bedtime when my husband tells the kids a story, Jedi Gabe is always the one who saves the day. He wants to be a hero so you better believe we are going to make him feel like one.
I’m so grateful for my big warrior who is an amazing example for Gabe. I truly believe that my hubby could defeat 30 men at once if he needed to. He can fix anything and everything. Like I’ve said before, I wouldn’t be surprised if 30 years from now he told me he’s been a secret agent all along. He’s tough and capable, yet sweet and tender. He loves his girls and treats them like princesses. My son really gets the opportunity to learn from the best of men. For all of this I am truly, truly grateful!
I love my boy so much it hurts.
Yes! As a mom of a teenage boy, this is so important. I want a strong but tender warrior son just like his father. Thank you for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.
God only gave me daughters, possibly because I might have raised sons as sissies. ha. It’s good that you’re being so intentional about the words you use with your children; it DOES make a difference.
I have two daughters too! 🙂 I completely agree! Our words have so much power on their sweet little souls. Love my girls! We try to nurture and encourage their femininity! 🙂 <3
I absolutely love this! You are so right and so wise!! Thanks for sharing this very significant truth!
I love this! I think this is so important, too. I think that the virtues of both masculinity and femininity are ignored or degraded in society today. I want to raise my son with a warrior spirit (well.. nurture it anyway.. he’s already a little fighter ;)) I think it’s great for confidence and in instilling a sense of duty and responsibility to be accountable to more than just himself. Thank you for this!
I couldn’t agree more Leah! Isn’t it amazing their innate desire to turn everything into a fight or battle? 🙂 I LOVE that my husband is dude’s dude! Him embracing his masculinity helps me embrace my femininity! In a culture where things are so backwards, I am grateful for a man who opens jars and doors and protects me and our babies. He encourages me to be the woman God created me to be too! 🙂
These are wonderful suggestions! I love the chart with the different phrases to use instead of the normal ones that pop into my head. I have a 1 1/2 year old boy and another boy coming in June, so I need some masculine-training! And these will always be helpful when speaking to my husband too. Thanks for your insight! AND that picture of your son with the lightsaber is ADORABLE.
OoOooOo Congrats on your sweet baby! You’re getting so close! Enjoy every kick and punch and roll! 🙂 <3 Thank you! That boy has my heart for sure!! 🙂
Visiting from Intentional Tuesday linkup! 🙂 I LOVE this post. I am a mom to a son and a step mom to two more sons. I am the only female in a house of 4 boys/men. I really love the encouragement you give your son and the way you word things – definitely something I’d like to implement in my own boys’ life. Have a blessed week!!
Thank you Chelsey! I love implementing this with my hubby too! 🙂 Telling him how safe I feel with him, how amazing he is at fixing things, etc. I can embrace my femininity best when I celebrate his masculinity! 🙂
Yes! I love the idea of using warrior language. We use “superhero” language a lot and my 4 year old son seems to connect with that the most at this point, but I love the idea of using words that will draw out that God-given masculinity and inspire him to fight for something bigger than himself. Thank you for posting.
Thank you Brooke! Isn’t it amazing the power our words have in our kids’ lives? My boy is always wearing some sort of superhero attire…love it! 🙂 We truly want to teach our kids to embrace who God made them to be even when it’s countercultural, and especially so they can withstand persecution for doing what’s right. <3
I think this is such an important thing to teach our sons. The world we are raising our kids in is so different from when we grew up – I especially loved “We teach him that a real man—a warrior—treats women with respect” – respect for women is becoming less and less. Thanks for sharing!
I wholeheartedly agree! In a world where women are told to be like men and men are applauded when they say they’re women, I want my son to feel confident being who he was made to be…a tough but tender goofy silly crazy little BOY!
As this boy’s Nana, I can tell you that he was a warrior from the first day of his life! He was born a little early, but very hearty. As the mom of two daughters (and only growing up with sisters), he was very different from what I knew, but oh so charming! Even before the “Warrior Speak” , one of he first full sentences he said to me on one of my visits to Utah was, “Nana, Fight!” He was barely 2, and had a huge smile on his face and a stick in his hand which served as his sword (he turned EVERYthing into a sword). He was also in a “stance” like “on guard!” I just burst out laughing, and hugged him and said that Nana’s are for hugging, not fighting. He was fine with that because we like to build things together too. This little warrior is taught that it’s okay to show and share your feelings, and in an understandable and constructive way. He has a great example in his own father. When I first heard about this, I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t let him just be himself, but I found out quickly, the opposite was true! It helps him be who he wants to and was meant to be. Love this little warrior so much.