The day I noticed my son becoming a man


Dear Jacob,

I saw the man in you emerging this weekend. Little ways you wouldn’t see. Not the growth of facial hair, not a deeper voice or longer legs. Where I saw the man in you is what truly makes a man a man – in my opinion.

It’s rare to see a true gentleman these days. Maybe they are afraid of offending a woman who feels she doesn’t need a man. I’ve never felt that way. I’ve always been grateful for the chivalry of a man, the strength of a man who looks out for the women around him.

The last time I took a flight by myself, I struggled to get my baggage in the overhead. Men sat all around me. Not one stood up to help me. My initial thought went to your dad. He would never sit in his seat while a woman struggled with her bag. He would be out of his seat in nanoseconds taking the weight off her hands and coming to her aid. It’s one of the things I love about your dad that makes him a real man.

Your dad was stranded in Dallas while we found ourselves snowed in. This is when I saw the man in you really begin to emerge.

I saw what you were doing out of the corner of my eye. I saw you go to each door of the house. You checked the locks. You checked the deadbolts. Then you pulled the door to make double sure. You walked by the security system making sure it was armed.

A man protects. He looks out for the safety of those around him. He steps up to that role when the need arises. 

You didn’t think I noticed, but I did.

After 2 days of snow covering the car, you started the car for me to warm it. You came inside and went about what you were doing. After some time, I went outside to begin scraping the ice from the windshield. I had only begun when I heard you say, “Mom, I’ve got this. Let me have it.”

You gave it all you had. Scraping as best you could. I’m sorry I stood over your shoulder critiquing your work. In hindsight, I wish I had simply said thank you and walked away.

Instead, I told you to do it this way or that way. Be careful you don’t scratch the car. Watch out for that big block of ice. At one point you said, “Mom, I don’t really hear you.” I couldn’t help chuckle because how often have I stood over your dad offering him a better way to do something. I’m sure he tunes me out to stay focused on the task.

You are just beginning, and you haven’t gained your confidence yet. After one too many suggestions, you handed the scraper back to me for fear of failing in the job. For that, I’m truly sorry. I was wrong. My way isn’t always right. And even in that you showed the man in you emerging.

A real man is clothed in humility. He is humble and doesn’t allow pride to demand its way is the right way. The way you handled that situation allowed me to see how I was wrong. Had you defended yourself and argued me, I may have never realized what I’d done wrong. Thank you for letting your humility come before pride.

4 days snowed in with 3 boys was tough. The energy, the noise. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it can be a bit much to bear at times. You saw my tension. You tried your best to step in and help me without being asked. Taking on extra chores. Asking me what needed to get done. These are all signs of the man in you growing up. But there was something else.

At times you wanted to help, but you realized there was nothing you could do. You couldn’t stop the arguing of caged up boys. You couldn’t change the attitudes that seemed to be contagious. Some things you just can’t fix. But you did something better than fix my circumstances. You gave me hugs. Lots of hugs.

Each time you saw the stress on my face or heard the tension in my voice, you came and offered me a hug. “Mom, you need a hug.” And I did. And it was the very thing that made all things better right there in that moment.

A real man knows he can’t fix everything. And when he can’t fix it, he can do the next best thing. He can simply give a hug. Sometimes a hug is the thing that makes everything alright that can’t be fixed. A hug makes the unfixable tolerable, even beautiful.

A few things I believe make a man truly a man:






You are these and more. I am grateful for the gift of watching you begin the process of becoming a man. It’s the process that continues your entire life. Some men are 40 years old and still haven’t become real men. Age doesn’t determine manhood.

Keep your eyes on your Heavenly Father. He will show you all you need to know about how to become a real man.

With all my love,