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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I'm Outnumbered!, by Laura Lee Groves (giveaway post)

Awhile back, Barbara H. recommend this book and I put the idea of it on the back burner. Sure! I was very interested in it, but I moved along in the reading year and forgot the exact title. I was looking at Kregel Publications latest releases and saw I'm Outnumbered!: One Mom's Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys and thought it sounded most excellent! After the book arrived, I double checked Barbara's site and discovered that, yup, this was the book she was originally talking about! I knew it was going to be awesome because Barbara wouldn't have said so if it wasn't. As she said, this book is a "treasure trove for any mom of boys" and I heartily concur with that assessment! I'm so glad to have read this book as I am beginning my journey of parenting two (toddler-aged) boys. There was a wealth of information and advice for me to take in and digest.

I cracked open the cover and sighed, audibly. Imagine me running around the room doing fist pumps in the air after reading just the first chapter! (I said imagine it. I didn't say I actually did it. I'm seven months pregnant, after all. But I thought about doing it!)

I have to tell you that the thing that I most love, adore and appreciate about this book is that she repeats the statement several times within the first few chapters of the book that we should "not buy into the myth that 'boys will be boys.'" I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to be the mother of two sons and have people automatically assume that my hands are full of hellions based on their sex alone. Right before we discovered that baby#3 was a girl, we were met in a store by someone asking me if I was having a girl. "I bet you'd like a break from the boys, wouldn't you?" (Of course I was secretly assured that it was indeed a girl, although I did not yet have proof. Nevertheless, upon receiving this statement from a perfect stranger, I almost wished and willed baby #3 to be a BOY just to prove a point!) I get so tired of people assuming that my two sons are incapable of being obedient and mannerly just because they are boys. Of course my sons can be obedient just as much as a girl can, thank you very much. I never intended to have boys and then go insane. I've always told people that we intentionally parent our children (no matter the sex) to love God, and be obedient. It's our desire that they would grow up to be people that other people enjoy being around. I also don't think that they have to reach the age of 16 before others should be able to enjoy them.

I so very much appreciated the attitude that Laura Lee Groves takes on from the get-go that expresses the same sentiment. She intentionally parented her four sons to be fit members of society. She understands that boys are different from girls but she does not give in to the excuse that boys are just born to be bad. I like this very much.

Groves shares a lot of practical advice and tips on how to understand and care for boys, as a mother. One area that I was particularly interested in learning more about was how to teach your sons to treat each other. (It follows that if they learn to treat each other well and with respect, they will also learn how to treat others outside of the home with the same degree of respect.) Now, I'm going to preface the following quote from the book by saying that we do not let our boys fight one another. They are certainly allowed to wrestle in play and good fun, but we closely monitor them when they do and they are not allowed to hurt one another. If the boys start looking a little too feisty, we step in and redirect their play. Hurting each other is simply not allowed. Groves has this to say:

"You don't hit your brother" has always been taken for granted in our house. It was verbalized early and often and reinforced repeatedly.
A more accurate admonition would be "You don't hurt your brother." That covers not only physical but emotional abuse. If we want to raise boys who value home, it must be a place of safety. If an adolescent is to value family above peer concerns, home should be a haven, a place of comfort and stability. If a boy feels he'll be ridiculed at home but praised by his peers, whose value system will be prize? The world can be a hard place, especially for boys who may have a tough time expressing their feelings. Home should be the place where they can express their concerns and fears and talk things out." (page 33-34)


Am I talking (and is Groves talking) about being sissies? No, absolutely not. But we discourage our sons giving each other beatings or hitting and wounding one another physically or by their attitudes and behaviors towards one another. Self-respect and respect for others are both very important.

We don't mean to just train them how to physically behave, but also how to behave towards others in an emotionally correct manner. For example, we believe it is very important for boys to have the opportunity to compete against one another and improve various skills. We want them to be inquisitive about life and the world around them and think accurately. However, we also desire that they not be prideful or self-serving in their endeavors to learn about the Lord or the things - and the people! - He has created. Groves gives an example that I very much appreciated:

". . . one of my sons was convinced he was right about some fact. He badgered a little girl with that information until she cried. He was technically right about the fact in question, but we had a discussion about letting go and simply having confidence in the fact that you're right. I told him, "You may be right about something, but if you have to make someone cry to convince them, that's not right." (page 35)

Always, always boys need to learn to speak the truth in love and be mindful of the feelings and emotions of others. Otherwise they are just resounding gongs and clanging symbols. (1 Cor. 13:1) Coincidentally, that is what the world expects them to be.

There are so many passages in this book that I could quote from but this is getting long so I should wrap things up. I do feel very passionately about this topic though, given the fact that we have been given stewardship over two young men who we desire to see live whole, productive and godly lives. That is our prayer. That is our purpose in parenting them - to direct and guide them faithfully to pursue that which God has for them.

If I could, I would buy every mother of a son a copy of this book! Alas, I cannot do that but I can heartily recommend it to you as well as announce the fact that Kregel Publications has generously offered one copy of I'm Outnumbered! to one Reading to Know reader. This contest will be open through February 8th and is open to U.S. Residents only. Simply leave a comment below to be entered in this drawing.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER (as selected by random.org) IS #14 - SKY. CONGRATULATIONS!

In the meantime, I offer my thanks to Kregel Publications for sending me a copy of this book to read devour. I'll be keeping this one on my home bookshelf to pull out for refresher courses as my boys grow up!

27 comments:

debbie said...

I would love to read this book, it sounds really good.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Annette W. said...

Seriously, how can someone read your review and not hope to be chosen as the giveaway winner? It will be on my wish list, too. Thank you for sharing this book. I had not heard of it. But it sounds like a book that would be a great gift, too.

My husband was one of three boys. I'm sure his mom heard a lot of what you are already hearing. My daughter is very physical...and taught my son to hurt and hit a few months ago. Now that she has MUCH better self control...she has already taught him this behavior...so hard. Anyway, though I may not have heard that boys will be boys with my daughter, I heard plenty that she was just acting like any other 2-3--or 4 year old.

Anyway, I agree, we need not accept excuses...but must train our children to do the right-and godly-thing.

Barbara H. said...

I'm so glad you loved it! I wished, too, that I could give a copy to everyone I know with boys.

We didn't allow our sons to hit or wound each other with words, either. I was amazed to hear the attitude among teens and grown men that verbal put downs and insults are part of being a guy and one needed to "take it like a man." Taking it like a man is one thing, but it's not manly to give it! I think we have to be careful about even teasing in an insulting, put-down way, because that can wound even while the recipient is smiling. Whatever happened to letting one's words be seasoned with grace.

Forgive the rant. :-) All that to say I like the principle of not wounding, either with words or blows.

No need to enter me in the giveaway, of course, since I've read it.

Oh -- did you know the author has a blog at http://www.outnumberedmom.com/? That's how I first "met" her before I even knew she was writing a book.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I'm not outnumbered by boys (just girls--is there a book for that?), but I'd love to read this book as inspiration in raising our son. Sign me up!

Alison said...

Sounds like a book I have to read. :-)

Melinda said...

Sounds like an interesting book...thanks for offering this giveaway.

Monica said...

Oh yes!!! Please sign me up!!! I would love to receive encouragement and advice from a momma of 4 for this momma of 1 (boy)(for now)!

Thank you!
m_duenes@hotmail.com

Dani said...

Thanks for sharing the recommendation ... I have some friends that I'm sure would be interested in it. I think I may have to pick it up (even though at the moment, we just have a girl but who knows what the future will bring).

Sharon said...

I'd love to win this book!

Bluerose said...

I would love to read this one! You gave such a wonderful review.
Soon, we'll have 2 little boys in our family, so this book would be very useful.
bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

Taia Gelhaus said...

I hope I win and if I don't, I hope you'll put me in line to read your copy. Much of the advice sounds like good parenting.

Ruby's Mom said...

I would love to read this book.If I don't win it I will be buying it.

Renee said...

Sign me up, please ~ this book sounds fantastic! I'm in the middle years of raising my boys. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Sky said...

I would love to read that!

Beth said...

With two boys myself, I know I would greatly benefit from this book. As a kid, I only had my brother and a bunch of boy cousins to play with so I really felt "outnumbered". I suppose it prepared me in way for raising my boys and left a lot to learn in raising girls!

Shonya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice@Supratentorial said...

Sounds like a great book! I completely know what you mean about the comments when pregnant. I had two boys and then when pregnant with my third I got so tired of the "oh, clearly you are hoping for a girl" comments or the "trying for a girl?". It kind of made me wish for a third boy. Although I'm awfully fond of the girl we had. :)

Our boys are physical and I do find that they enjoy wrestling and being physical. But we have a very clear rule about it only being fun as long as it's fun. It can't be in anger or to hurt. And you protect your brother always.

SF said...

I only have one little boy but I feel outnumbered sometimes...

Laura said...

Carrie, thanks SO much for this review! It looks like you and I speak the same language.

My door is open at OutnumberedMom.com. All of you, come visit anytime!

Kae said...

I am the mother of a 13 year old boy, and he is driving me CRAZY!! I would love to read this book!

apple blossom said...

Please include me in this giveaway thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I LOVE being a boy mom and was terrified when I learned I was having a girl. Boys are different and require different parenting but that's not bad. Different personalities require different parenting. I don't mean different rules, just different approaches.

I think I need this book. I can't tell you how many times I say "we do not hurt our brother" or "hitting our brother is never ok. No matter what he did to you it's not ok to hit him." We talk a lot about using our words with love, kindness and respect.

Krista said...

Oh, yes please! Sign me up! And if I don't win it's going on my Amazon wish list immediately anyway! I have a friend with 3 little boys that might like it as well...

fiction-books said...

What a great book this sounds, I am thinking of a particular friend when I say that.
She has two teenage sons, her only brother is the father of four teenage sons and his new partner brings three teenage sons with her.
Now that's definitely outnumbered!

Yvonne

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian said...

"If a boy feels he'll be ridiculed at home but praised by his peers, whose value system will he prize? "

I love that!!! True for boys or girls. And here I am pregnant and hoping for a boy:)

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