Wild Things: The Art of Nuturing Boys with David Thomas

dtsquare

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.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-11-30-40-am

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.

david-t-kim-graham-2009

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!

1413298355465

 

Advertisements

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.

Sweet Sunday Surprise

 

photo

Sunday Chorus concert Brentwood Academy

This past Sunday, I had one of those ‘unexpected mama moments’ when you wish you could freeze time. I was blindsided by my emotions as I sat at Benji’s school chorus concert. He led his choir in Paul Baloche’s well known worship song, “Open The Eyes of My Heart”. Benji had a life changing experience in Haiti this January on a winterim trip with his school, so he sang it in Creole and in English.

I knew he had the solo, but I had no idea how it would feel to watch him lead this song that I had sung countless times through the years as a worship leader myself. Since he could talk (and sing), Benji always sang his heart out in the car and at church, school, anywhere he could… very much like I did as a kid.

Some of my favorite moments from his childhood were hearing him sing praise songs while raising his little hand, as he had his own “church service” in the backseat of my car.

Sometimes, he would even chime in if he heard a lyric on the radio that didn’t fit his ‘preschool theology’. I remember one time when Sheryl Crow sang “I’m still the king of me” in one of her songs and he interrupted her song and said, “No, your not, God is!”

Benji  elementary school

Benji elementary school

Though he loved music, like a lot of kids in Nashville with parents in Christian music, Benji told me early on that he didn’t necessarily want to” follow in my footsteps into the Christian music scene”. He announced to me that he wanted to be a “hip hop/pop artist in mainstream music as a Christian”. Earlier it was “just rap”, but we’ve thankfully progressed from there.  He went on to say that “when he wasrich and famoushe’d give money to orphans in Russia”. (Side note—I’d visited orphanages in Russia around that time and he and Graham both begged me to bring home brothers for them, but as a single mom, I had to tell them that wasn’t something I could take on.)

For the past several years, I’ve supported Benji doing what his heart tells him to do with his music. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve had to trust God with a bigger plan than what Benji has or what I could have for him.   It helped that he promised me that “he talked to Jesus about it,  that he’d keep his lyrics clean and his pants pulled up”, but I also know the pitfalls of ANY genre in the music world, so I spent many nights praying for protection and wisdom for him and those of us helping to guide him.

It’s been a tough couple of years for him as he’s learned some things the hard way, but that’s a whole other story for another day….

Anyway, on Sunday, as soon as Benji opened his mouth to sing, a steady stream of tears poured down my face. I was so happy, so full of joy and gratitude, that I could barely handle it. I was trying to video him and trying not to embarrass him, since I was sitting on the front row. It was one of those moments as Mama that you see a little piece of the fruit of your labor and a glimpse into who your child has grown up to be.   To see the same little heart that used to sing at the top of his lungs in his car seat now singing as a 17-year-old young man was a truly priceless gift on an otherwise normal Sunday afternoon.

If you’re a Mama, you’ve probably had one of these moments where you get to “see” your child operating in their gifts and talents, as well as in their own unique personality. It truly is more precious than anything you can describe when they happen. Sometimes they’re in public and sometimes in private. When you see your child do something kind for a stranger or to a sibling, it’s pure healing oil for our “road weary” mama hearts.  Many of you saw the videos I posted earlier this week and sent so many kind words, so I wanted to share a little more in the hope that it encourages you today if you may be in the ‘hidden and dark places’ of the “growing” season with a son.

I don’t know what the future holds for Benji, but I do know that I can trust God to help him find his way. I’m grateful that several years ago when he dropped the “I want to be a rapper bomb on me” (before LeCrae and TobyMac showed you can do positive rap and hip hop), that I didn’t react out of my own desires for him.

I’m grateful for some of the brave folks in my world that told me not to limit what God had for Benji or to “put him in a box”. I found a way to trust Proverbs 22:6 that says “train up a child in the way he should go”, not necessarily the way “I think he needs to go”, but the way God uniquely designed him.  For my son to go into the world as his own “original version of himself” – bringing what only he can bring is what I believe I’m to train him for!

I may never see Benji led a worship song again, or it may be what he ultimately does for a career, I don’t have a blueprint for his life and calling. But, for me as his Mama and biggest fan, those 2 minutes and 30 seconds on Sunday, were a little taste of heaven and reminded me that God’s timing and plans are much better than mine.

photo

Here’s a little video snippet. Click here to watch.