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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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

Especially for BoyMamas of Seniors

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As you all can tell if you read this blog, I’m not doing too well at keeping up.  Last year, I was hopeful that I could give this some attention and be a resource for some of the moms of boys that I meet not only around the country at events, but the “members of the boymama club” that I recognize in the park or in the grocery store.

But, due to many factors in my life the past 5 months or so, I have really dropped the ball.  I also had a big transition going on with my youngest son, Benji that I couldn’t share publicly until his band was announced and had their official launch party.  Since that was last week, my “gag order” is now expired!  I’ll be sharing more about this part of our journey next week.

But, that’s not what I want to write about today… this is a quick post for moms of SENIOR boys.

I know you’re already exhausted and are either in the middle of preparations for graduation or you’re just trying to remember your name after all the hoopla last weekend!

Regardless of where you are in the “May Madness”, take a breath for a couple minutes.  Rest in the fact that you have given your son everything you have to be a successful human being.  Yes, you’ve made mistakes, but you’ve just crossed a major finish line and deserve a huge pat on the back!  If you still have a party to throw or lunch to cook for 50 relatives, “hang in there” and know that at the end of the day, making sure your son feels celebrated (and whether or not you’re stressed out) that day is more important than the college water bottle labels being perfect or the personalized cupcakes you’ve made or ordered.

Some of you may feel like a zombie because this year has been a painful one as your son has pushed so hard in his attempts to “get ready to launch” that he’s bruised your heart and crushed parts of it that you didn’t even realize he could.  Or maybe, like some Mamas I know,  you’re secretly grateful (and ashamed) that he’s about to go because you’re “rung out” from a tough year of navigating life with him.

I know that my last year with Graham was the hardest one we EVER had!  He turned 18 in May before his Senior year and thought he was a ‘full grown man who didn’t need a mama interfering in his life or decisions’. It was so bad that I almost kicked him out of the house before he left for college.  He apologized to me soon after (his vision cleared when he was thousands of miles away at school enduring his first summer preparing to play college football) and we’ve healed from that difficult year.   We both have some scars that remind us it was not a ‘bad dream’, but actually part of our journey as mother and son.  If this is you… please hear me say, “this is not the end of your story with your son!“.  I was broken-hearted and didn’t know if I could recover from the pain of that year, but I did.  I now have a great relationship today with my son who’s turning 22 tomorrow!  I’ve also been able to let go of my boys in a more purposeful way in the past 4 years as a result of what I began to learn that year.

David Thomas, author of Wild Things and DayStar Counseling in Nashville, has been a huge part of my journey with my sons helped me understand that it’s necessary for boys development to want to get out from under their parents roof.  That as a 17 or 18 year old, it’s critical that he separates and feels the desire to go out on his own into the world.  Sometimes, in order to do that, they push really hard… especially against the one holding on the tightest.

So, my advice here is pretty simple…. “Lean in” to the reality that he wants to go and that’s a good thing.  If you need a reminder of the alternative, check out the movie “Failure to Launch“.  While as Mamas, we may not want our kids to go, that’s the goal we’ve been working towards since their birth.  Remember, we want them to go out into the world and be a functioning adult.   We want our sons to make their own path and become the best version of himself!   Also, be aware that his heart is full of mixed emotions of being “ready to go” and “scared to death“!  He’s probably been operating on very little sleep with all the hoopla and is running on a low tank of emotional fuel, so give him some grace when he snaps at you.  I’m sure you’re tired too, so try to take care of yourself and ask for help from your husband, family and friends.

Enjoy these days as much as you can!   Celebrating HIM with joy is truly the best gift you can give him.  How he feels when he’s in the kitchen with you or in the car riding home from an event will be what his memories are made of twenty years from now.  Be patient if he wants you to wait while he takes 1000 pictures with his friends, or back off if he only wants you to take a few.  I promise he won’t care so much about all the Pintrest projects, but he will care that you recognized he was becoming a man and you let him go with as much grace as you could muster while loving him with all of your heart!

If I had a graduation cap to throw in your honor, I’d do it right now!

Bravo BoyMamas! Much love and peace from here.

Bigger Than His Body

I know most of you know that my son, Graham is #52, the starting Center for Stanford Football.  It’s been such a thrill watching him play this fall live and on national tv.  It’s especially rewarding to see him stepping into so much of what I’ve always known he was meant to do beyond football as well.  Graham was “Red-shirted” his Freshman year, which means he practiced every single practice with “all that he had” knowing that no matter what… he wasn’t going to play in the game.  I really can’t imagine what kind of discipline that takes.  Especially, when you’ve been an All American in high school with more offers than you can count coming out of high school.

Graham’s worked really hard the past few years at Stanford and has learned several lessons the hard way.  His journey is his to share if and when he chooses, but as his Mama, I’m really grateful he’s made it to his “sweet spot!”  I’m so grateful to get to see him not only play his heart out on the field, but see him stepping up as a leader on and off it.   Graham’s always been a people person. He’s able to relate and talk to anyone and willing to help, so it’s not surprising to me that every time I go to Stanford, other parents tell me how much Graham has helped their son with the huge adjustment of college football.

This week, this video (Shuler on Stanford) was released by Stanford Football and I’d love to share it with you.  A friend of mine in Dallas tweeted me after seeing it that “Graham’s heart was bigger than his body” and it made my day because Craig saw what I’ve always known about my “mountain of a man”.   I was reminded again that God does above and beyond what we can ask or think when He opens doors for our sons that lead them to be the best versions of themselves and step into their own unique calling.

Graham would be the first to say it’s been a rocky road the past few years… again, his story to tell.  But, if you have a son enduring some of those times, I hope this encourages you to step out of the way and trust God with his journey.  I’m incredibly grateful for the coaches at Stanford, especially Head Coach David Shaw for creating a football culture that is as concerned with my son’s character and education as with his football abilities. They’ve raised the bar for Graham and his teammates and my son is benefiting from that environment in more ways than I can count.  It’s definitely helped me rest easier knowing that they truly care about Graham now and who he’s becoming as he enters adulthood.

This morning, I did a radio interview for WBYN (107.5 FM) for a benefit concert that I’m part of in a few weeks in the Philadelphia area.   The host started off our conversation telling me that he’d seen Graham’s video this week and wanted to talk to me about him and his perspective on being at Stanford.  Of course, a delight to this mama’s ears!  I’ve shared it on facebook, but it prompted me to write this and share it here too.

Last week, I was at their game against Notre Dame (tough game in horrible weather) and I tried to endure it in my ski jacket and rain gear, but wimped out and joined the old folks in the gym watching the big screens.  I’m grateful that Friday night, I can watch Graham in my pjs on ESPN 8pm CST kickoff vs Washington State.  I’m hoping for an easy win, though I know in the PAC-12 that doesn’t happen too often, but my stomach has just recovered from the tension of the last game.  My sweet mama is hoping for that too. She text me during the last game and said, “Graham needs to play a different position… this is too intense!”  My mom doesn’t watch football, but is watching Stanford this fall with her 94 year old mother.  They’re cheering for Graham along with all of our family and friends!

After the game in the 30 something degree rain.

After the game in the 30 something degree rain.

Hope you’ll join us cheering for #52 and Stanford if you’re home tomorrow night and are able to catch the game!

Peace and love from here, Kim

Next weekend, I’ll be hosting our last “BoyMama Weekend” at The Nashville Treehouse.  We still have a few spots available if you are within driving distance of Nashville, would love to invite you to join us.  David Thomas (Wild Things, The Art of Nuturing Boys) who’s my special guest is worth coming for alone!  We also have real conversations about parenting, great music, gourmet food and a wine tasting woven into a few days of R&R for moms of boys.  www.nashvilletreehouse.com/boymama