Wild Things: The Art of Nuturing Boys with David Thomas

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I’d love to share “ALL THINGS DAVID THOMAS”  with you today, so you can get to know a little about a man who is not only an amazing counselor, author, speaker and expert on boys, but truly one of my heroes!  If you don’t know David and his work, hopefully this introduction can help you with resources that help you understand a boy in your family better. Whether you’re a mom (or a grandmother) of a boy ages 2-22, David can help!

I found a few goodies today that I want to share.First is a link to download an excerpt of Wild Things:The Art of Nuturing Boys. It’s “hands down” the best resource that I know of for a mom of a boy.  I also found a video clip on YouTube from a few years ago where David tells a little about the book.  If you don’t have time to watch all of it, I’d love to encourage you to listen to a few minutes starting at 2:33 where David explains why understanding our sons matters.

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Years ago, I attended a parenting seminar that was invaluable to me as a mom that Daystar Counseling held in Nashville featuring David who was my son’s counselor at the time. For years, David has walked through extremely challenging events with my family.  There were really difficult seasons in our journey that he was truly a ‘lifeline’ for us.  At other times, he was more like an older brother to my now young adult sons.   As a mom, I told people for years that David is a huge reason I’m sane after parenting two boys as a single mom for over 15 years.  In all seriousness on several occasions, I’ve said “should he ever need a kidney, I would gladly give him one of mine“….. that’s how much I owe him.

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2009 photo Kim, Graham & David 

All that to say, we have benefited greatly as a family from David’s work and his life and it is a huge honor for me to be able to share him with a handful of BoyMamas at the events I host at The Nashville Treehouse.  David is an “in-demand” parenting expert and I still pinch myself when I invite him to come and he answers, ‘yes’!  If you can’t make it to Nashville to our October 7-8 event, I’d encourage you to follow him at Raising Boys and Girls to find out about other speaking events around the country and their new book releasing soon.

I’m headed to see the last high schooler in my family, my nephew Drew, play football tonight.  I’ll get to cheer for my alma mater, Evangelical Christian School (Memphis) and Drew here in Nashville. Have a great weekend!

PS. If you don’t have the book yet, click below to order it today!

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Why do BoyMama’s need their own weekend at The Nashville Treehouse?

A few weeks ago a well meaning friend asked me why I’m hosting “BoyMama Weekends” instead of hosting a weekend for Moms of girls, too.  She felt like some of the issues I mentioned in my video a few weeks ago were relevant to any mom.

While I agree, we could all use a dose of honesty and transparency in the crazy world of being a parent, that’s just one of the takeaways that our BoyMamas tell us they receive while focusing specifically on a mom’s relationship with her son.  My experience has been raising sons as a single mom, so it’s become a passion of mine to help other moms build the healthiest relationship they can with their son while they have the time.

One of the unlikely gifts I embraced as a single mom was the acute awareness that my time with my boys was short and mattered more than anything else in my life.  I had an “aha” moment 16 years ago as I drove away from my beautiful home that I’ll never forget…

I knew that my treasure was the two little guys (ages 3 and 6) in the backseat of my car.

Out of the blue this week, an elder from my church who invited us to stay with he and his wife for a while back then, sent me a picture of my boys from those days that I’d never seen.  It was of their grown son with mine in their backyard on the Little Harpeth River.  As I looked at that picture, I was flooded with memories of those days when I was overwhelmed by the enormity of being a single parent responsible for their two lives. As hard as it’s been at times, I’m so grateful for the good things that have come out of our journey and the ways it bonded me to my sons.

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All this to say…that’s why I’m hosting events for BoyMamas. Our events are for ANY mom of a boy whether single, divorced, married (some who operate as a single parent due to a myriad of circumstances) or  widowed.  Many of the moms who have attended our weekend have told us that it’s the only safe place they’ve been able to be honest about their own parenting inadequacies and failures, as well as a place where they’ve learned some ways to be a healthier BoyMama.

I’d love to ask you to watch this 10 min video of one of my favorite BoyMamas, Paige Cotton, as she shares how the weekend changed the course of her relationship with her son, Will.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a monumental weekend in the life of another Mom and would love for you to consider joining us in October at The Nashville Treehouse.

Click here to watch Paige Cotton

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Much love to y’all this week.

PS. If you are a mom of a freshman in college, know that your tears and fears are a normal part of your journey and you’re not alone!  Check out some of my blogs about the painful process and embracing the new phase of life with your adult son.

For more info and registration for October 7-8 BoyMama Weekend go to www.nashvilletreehouse.com/events.

Good Mom, Bad Mom 

A few moms of boys have been brave enough to ask me about some of the difficult chapters I’ve experienced raising two sons.  We’ve talked about the ways our society rate us as a “good” or “bad” mom. As a result of those experiences (and random encounters with moms of boys that I’ve met at the beach, the grocery store or in Wal-Mart) I realized my 20plus years of experience as a “BoyMama”may have more value than my years as a recording artist. They’ve definitely been harder and more rewarding.

I’ve been hosting BoyMama weekends for small groups of women who want to understand their changing role with their sons in a safe space full of honest conversations, understanding, expert tips, gourmet food, award winning local wine from Arrington Vineyards, amazing local chocolate & more.

I’d love to share a little about why I think it’s worth joining me, one of my heros, Daystar Counseling’s David Thomas and other BoyMamas this October for two life changing days at a beautiful farm in Franklin, Tn. Click on the vimeo link below.

For more info and to register click the link here. www.nashvilletreehouse.com/events

Kim BoyMama Weekend https://vimeo.com/179102778

“Why it’s worth coming to Nashville in October for BoyMama weekend” from my guest BoyMama, Edie Oakley

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The BoyMama Weekend was encouraging, empowering and FUN!!

Kim and Paulette are the “Queens of Nashville Hospitality!!” You will feel loved and connected the moment you walk into the door. They create a warm, beautiful environment, cook delicious food, share their love of story, music, and laughter.

For me, the weekend away energized me to “begin again” with my boys. I realized that I was living as a distracted, disconnected, and sometimes angry mom when it came to really understanding my boys who were 8 and 12yo- emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. Most days, I felt out-numbered and left out when my husband and 2 boys were together. Listening to Kim share about her relationship with her boys and the unique connection each of them had with her- was encouraging and real. She didn’t “sugar coat” her motherhood journey, but she did provide wisdom, humor and practical advice- which I was “drinking in”- for my parched heart longed to connect deeply!

I also loved the session with David Thomas (counselor, author, speaker) who empowered me when he shared that mothers play a VITAL role in the lives of her son- he said that “providing a solid and affectionate relationship with your son gives him the platform of emotional intimacy, relational empathy, and sensitivity he needs to develop mature and secure relationships as an adult.” Hearing his words, shifted my perspective from “no role” to a VITAL one- a life-giving one. My presence, my hugs, my driving them all over town to their sporting events, etc- these are the unique roles I have been given as his mom.

I absolutely LOVE being a BoyMama and encourage any mom of a son to attend a BoyMama event if they can. It is an investment that I am so glad that I made a couple of years ago and I am experiencing the benefits today of living intentionally with my two “Wild Things.”

Edie Oakley, RN, BSN, MA
Duke certified Integrative Health coach

Please click here to register and find out more about The Nashville Treehouse BoyMama Weekend October 7-8,2016. Limited space to 25 BoyMamas. Early Bird pricing through August 15th.  Also, on the Nashville Treehouse website, there’s an audio version of this testimonial read by Edie.

 

 

Kissing him goodbye

Last night I had a dinner date with my 23 year old son, Graham.  We were both worn out and just happy to be sitting at the same table to eat, which is a rarity for us these days.  We talked of his new opportunities as a recent Stanford graduate — and yes,forgive me as I brag on his enormous accomplishment.  I’m so proud of Graham for his ability to be a student  while starting as Center in football at the highest college level (3 Rose Bowls in his 4 years!). As many of you know, he’s decided to pass on his last year of playing college and chose not to pursue the NFL with many of his teammates a few months ago.

As I kissed Graham goodbye last night (after his whirlwind visit home to Nashville), my heart was flooded with memories of so many of the times I kissed him goodbye. Now, I go for months without seeing one of my favorite faces on the planet.

I remember kissing that little face at the door of his Kindergarten class, as he and his little brother left with their dad on Christmas Day the first year we were divorced, at his first overnight camp, at his new school in 7th grade and as he left 4 years ago for Stanford.  I cried many times when I said goodbye to Graham, especially in that first year in California when he was struggling to adjust and “red-shirted” which means you work as hard as everyone, but you don’t get to play the first year so that you can play if/when they need you a fifth year.

Last night, I didn’t cry.  We’re beyond that now (well, he is and most of the time I am), but my heart still aches a bit when he leaves.  This morning my eyes have filled with tears several times as I’ve thought about him and all the life we’ve experienced together.  As an empty nester, there are days I long for some of those sweet nights I sat on his bed talking with him for what seemed like hours (he was a brilliant philosopher at bedtime) while he ate my “homemade” slice and bake cookies and milk.

We had a little text this morning (my gentle giant even uses emojis now with me because he knows I love them!) as he was leaving town. As I wrote back to him, my heart was overwhelmed.  I texted “ I love you more than you’ll probably ever really know”. Graham knows I love and adore him, but as much as he knows, I don’t know if he really believes how unconditional my mother love is for him.  I didn’t plan to say it, it just popped out as my heart was flooded with that same love I’ve had since I first saw his face on that 10lb 4 oz body, 23 years ago after a long delivery that turned into a C-section.

Like most moms I know, we haven’t had an easy ride.  We’ve “been to hell and back” as they say on more than one occasion and he’s broken my heart in ways he doesn’t even know. And, I’m very aware that even in my best attempts at being a great mom, I’m not without fault and have failed him and wounded his tender heart.  But, at the end of the day, we have a lot of love for each other that covers both of our faults and mistakes.  Early on, we began building a real relationship that is now becoming a friendship and as he enters into the adult world.  We’ve both worked on letting go, forgiveness, understanding and speak as honestly as we know how.  I look forward to everytime I get to be with my adult son. I’ve also done the painful and rewarding work to truly let him go to become the best version of himself that he can be.

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I’ve had tears in my eyes writing this blog this morning as I’m continually reminded of my life’s work…. being a mom to Graham and Benji. That’s one of the main reasons I’m hosting another BoyMama Weekend with The Nashville Treehouse this Fall.  It’s a safe place for us to be honest about the “good, bad and ugly” of raising a son.  I want to help moms like you have the tools and tips to have a great relationship with your son. I’ve enlisted the help of an expert, David Thomas, and other seasoned BoyMamas.  I hope you’ll check out the info at the BoyMama Weekend link above and consider joining us at one of the most beautiful farms in Franklin, TN in October.

 

 

All of Our Sons

 

Today, like many of you my heart is still reeling from all of the events last week.As I scrolled through my Facebook feed and watched the news this morning, I felt the heaviness of all that is going on pushing down on my heart again.

We’ve been praying and grieving with those in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas, but many are calling for us to do more than that.

As I watched this morning as two of the hosts of The View talk about the difference between “fearing for the life of one’s son when he leaves the house” because he’s black verses not fearing because one is white, it was again a reminder to me that we must find ways to unify our country instead of being part of dividing it.  If we truly believe we are ALL God’s children, we have to find a way for us to love and respect all lives, all of our sons and right now, that means doing what ever we can for those who have not been respected, protected and treated fairly and joining those who are crying out for us to see their pain as they protest “Black Lives Matter“in our streets.

My heart breaks for my friends who represent the millions of mothers who are fearful that their sons (and husbands) may not come home from work or school today. This unspeakable reality should not be acceptable in our society. As a mom of two privileged white sons, I can’t imagine how it feels to fear for their safety on a daily basis.I believe that as mothers in America, we need to wake up and speak up about the injustice going on around us!

I hear many leaders speaking out saying that American racism is being exposed at a new level and that we are being given the opportunity to do something about it… to speak… to act… to stand against hate and division.Racism is epidemic and not something that is going to change immediately, but we have to rise up and speak out or be held responsible for the injustice around us.I believe if we look for ways to love and promote unity in our corner of the world and to support everyone who is doing the same, we can make a difference. I’m grateful to hear from men like the police chief  Kerr Putney from Charlotte, NC http://www.wbtv.com/clip/12579721/raw-video-cmpd-chief-kerr-putney-speaks and TD Jakes speaking a few days ago in Dallas http://www.tdjakes.com/posts/a-time-to-stand-together.

It is time for a new day in America.We can chose to be part of the solution or part of the problem, but as far as I see it, those are our only two choices.We have much more work to do to be the nation that we claim to be.

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are” Benjamin Franklin.

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Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

Peace to you today, Kim

PS. I’ve been AWOL on my blog for a while and will share more of that with you next time, but in light of all that’s going on, I felt like this was more important than anything else I could say to you today.

Christmas Back To You

2014 Christmas card pic from Stanford football game Fall 2014

2014 Christmas card pic from Stanford football game Fall 2014

I hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season and having fun counting down the days with your family and friends.  I’ve been out on the road doing some Christmas concerts and celebrating Thanksgiving with my sons and the Stanford football team in California, so I’ve just finally put up my tree!

For so many of us, the Christmas season is bittersweet.  We experience the joy and the pain in technicolor as we hold sweet memories, sadness, songs and our Savior’s birth in our frail, very human hearts.  Just ten days ago, my family marked 10 years since my daddy went to heaven at the age of 65.  It hit me harder than I’d expected and I found myself crying on and off for days thinking about how much I miss him.

Since 2004, Christmas has never been the same for me and my family.  But, like many of you, we hold on to the hope that we will be together again.  That part of my story helped me realize that what we all are really longing for at Christmas is heaven.

No tears…no pain…EVERYONE we love in the room, and as we sing in the carol, O Come Emmanuel, “bid envy, strife and quarrels cease, fill the whole world with heaven’s peace”.  As my family waits for my 94 year old grandmother to head there soon, I’m again reminded of that reality.  No matter how pretty we make our homes, how perfect everything looks, it’s only going to last long enough to get some good pictures and hopefully build a few memories around the table with those we love.

Late last night, after a fun night with friends, I sat in the stillness by the tree.  I felt like a kid on Christmas eve looking at the lights and counting down the days until my son, Graham gets home from college for a few days.  Since he plays football, he’ll barely be here before he has to return to prep for their bowl game, Dec. 30th in the 49ers new stadium.

So many memories flooded my mind and heart and I just sat in those feelings for a while until I wandered off to bed.  I’m grateful to finally be at a place in my life where I can allow myself feel the joy and the pain of life on this earth for 50 years and all that it’s held for me and my boys. I hope and pray that you may be able to do the same this year… in the midst of it all, even if it’s mostly pain.  I’ve learned the hard way that if you “block the pain“, the also “block the joy, love and life” that helps us get up and face this crazy world another day.  (I know you’re probably bombarded with a million things today, so I’m trying to keep this short, but please know that I know it’s not an easy 1-2-3 process that I’m talking about.)

I want to share a few songs via video from my Christmas tour, Christmas Back To You.  I wrote the title cut when Graham was a Senior and I realized it was his “last Christmas” at home with me and Benji — just the 3 of us– as my “little boy”.   It’s a tear jerker…. even this past Sunday night, at a concert in Birmingham, I couldn’t sing it without crying at the end.

That’s why I’m also posting the second one, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas featuring my son, Benji (as a 14 year old who’ll turn 18 in a few weeks.)  We had so much fun recording it and when I do it live Benji appears via video and steals the show every night!  I’m also including a little video (Benji “Being Loud”) that I show before we do the song of Benji as a preschooler.  It should’ve been a major clue to me that one day he’d inform me he wanted to be a rapper! He was “free-styling” as a four year old!  Some big news will be announced in early 2015, so keep your ears open for more news on his music.

Click here for the Christmas Back to You video.

Click here for the Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas video.

Click here for Benji “Being Loud” video.

I truly hope that God’s peace and joy bring Christmas back to you this year.

Much love from my house to yours.