Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Growth into Manhood

A friend has a friend with a three year old who exhibits what her friend calls homosexual tendencies. The little boy likes girls’ clothes and mom’s makeup, seems overly sensitive etc… The mother and father are already talking about what it will be like to have a gay son. Imagine, the tragedy unfolding here! These uninformed parents are already foisting a gay identity on their little boy, and this labeling of their toddler may greatly affect and even retard the masculine maturation of their child when consciously and unconsciously they encourage and entertain certain behaviors, while neglecting the development of other behaviors such as male bonding, imitation of males (especially the father), and male skills. Alan Medinger in his book Growth into Manhood explains the process of the way a man develops, and he examines the various roadblocks, especially in our modern society, that can thwart a boy’s growth into a man.
“The following two hypothesis are necessary to support the concept of growth into manhood put forth in this book. …
1. Boys have a biological destiny to grow into men: men who are different from women in ways that go well beyond genital design and reproductive functions.
2. Societal structures have always existed to guide the process of growth from boyhood to manhood.
Taken together, these hypotheses do not reflect an extreme viewpoint. I am not claiming that manhood is either all genetic or all learned. ... Boys are genetically destined to become men, but guidance along the way is necessary or the process may not work out satisfactorily.”

Medinger outlines the process of male maturation from the early years of separating from the mother and identifying with the father and/or other males, to the trials and testing of his manhood, to his manhood being affirmed, and finally accepting his manhood. Medinger, himself a former homosexual, goes on to explain that the most crucial step in the whole process is the affirmation of his manhood.
“Surely some things went wrong in the early years of most of our lives (homosexuals), but most of us did separate from our mothers, and most of us did have some sort of men with whom we could identify. If we did not bond, so be it. In fact, except for the rare transsexual, everyone came to know at some level that we were male. And even today, an adult man who has been in gender confusion for much of his life can easily identify himself intellectually as a man. But what is really needed is affirmation of that identification. This is where our emphasis should lie. This is where the struggles occur, for it is through affirmation that our sense of manhood comes to dwell in our deepest parts.”

The toddler described is actually not exhibiting any odd behavior considering he has not even reached the age of separating from his mother. Sometimes dress up is just dress up. But his parents who are already labeling him, risk a train wreck of gender confusion and identity crisis for him.
Thankfully, the growth into manhood that Medinger describes is circular not linear. In other words, a boy tests his skills, his bonding, his manhood, and receives affirmation by every success or encouragement from other males. The process testing-affirmation repeats and repeats as the male identity grows stronger. And Medinger assures,
“Just because it was skipped in childhood, don’t conclude it cannot be gone through later. It is not too late for you!”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Down but Never Out

Is it ironic that I can not help my own son, but God sends me other young men who welcome my prayers and bit of encouragement? Not really, God's plan becomes painfully obvious at times, that is when I'm not driving myself crazy trying to figure the Big Guy out.
Anyway, I'm copying a snippet of a response I gave to a 19 year old whose struggle would rival a saint's, not because of his triumph but because of his desire to triumph. His humility and pure yearning for God struck me the most. In the midst of enormous temptations, his every fall causes him excruciating pain and regret, and then in his humilty he called himself "bad." It broke my heart to read it, especially as it was so clear to me reading his letter that this beautiful soul was so much closer to God than I.

"By His perfect example,Christ teaches us to rise after each fall, never to give in, and when we are too weak to rise, our willingness to and desire to do so will suffice.

Mateus, you are never so close to Our Lord as when you are lying there in the dust with all your weakness, failure and temptations weighing you down. Your sufferins IS drawing you closer to Him. Your falls are His falls, and you must not beat yourself up over them, but instead rejoice that He is there to help you up each and every time. You are not bad, you are good! You are a child of God. Our failures matter nothing to
God. Only our willingness to serve and to love Him. You have that Mateus! Praise God!"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Twisting the Knife

Today was tough. Our 17 year old son now calls us by our first names. Today I heard him say it again. It kills, and I wonder if he really knows how he is twisting the knife in my heart.
You see our son claims we can not be his parents as long as we remain Catholic, as long as we refuse to renounce our faith, a faith he feels condemns the practice of homosexuality. No amount of reasoning or reasonableness seems to get through to him. He wants something we can not give, he wants us to deny truth and to condone acts contrary to truth. I would give him anything, anything else, my very life, the very heart he pains, anything, but my faith.
We continue to give him unconditional love as we have since learning he feels he is gay, and he continues to reject us. He will not eat with us, he will not stay in a room with us, he will not speak to us unless he needs something - and he goes out of his way NOT to need anything from us.

He intends to live away at colllege, which of course will take loans. College will necessarily involve us, as he is beginning to realize. My husband gets justifiably hurt by our son's rejection, which is why I wasn't going to bring up my personal pain at having to hear him refer to us by our first names again. I had every intention of sparing my husband and even managed to bite it down when a natuaral segue opened. Then somehow after the family rosary, we got talking about pain and it just came out. His gut reaction was, " Well, if we're not his parents, we don't have to help him with college." But I knew he didn't mean it. We understand the term "unconditional love." Haven't we been living it these past two years through excruciating pain? We will continue to show our son love and to give him all the same help we give to any of our eight childen as they need it.
We will be Christ for him, let Christ love him through us (and others), and one day.. one day, because I believe God has a plan and I trust in Jesus, our son will call us mom and dad again. That day he will see that our love is bigger than his homosexuality.

God is bigger than homosexuality.

God is bigger than all our trials, all our sins, all our faults, bigger than our past, and He is our only present and future.

Pray for us dear reader, and pray for all who suffer SSA and their families.