Mom #1: When I found out that I was having a boy, I was really excited, but also nervous.
Mom #2: Having three sons, there is never a dull moment.
Mom #3: …Out of the blue they’ll just grab you and hug you and say, “I love you mom.”
Mom #4: …Always activity and roughhousing
Mom #5: It’s exciting for a while because you’re the most important woman in his life, but you also know that sometime in the near future you’re no longer going to be that woman.
End of Preview
John Fuller: Well, if you have one or more boys growing up in your home, you can probably relate to some of those comments. If you have one or more boys growing up in your home, you can probably relate to those comments. This is a best of 2021 episode of Focus on the Family, and we’ll be exploring the world of moms and sons and the tremendous influence that a mother can have on her boy. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, I’m all in on this broadcast today because we’ve lived it. We’re still living it. And my poor wife, Jean has to deal with an all-guy family, and she’s learned that boys will often act in ways you don’t expect, especially as mom. I remember wrestling with Trent and Troy in the basement, and Jean would say, I think you’re getting a little rough. You better lighten up. But I said, no, this is what we do as boys, yet throw each other around and across the room and jump on each other until you cry. But man, that is really what it’s about.
John: Well, good memories from when they were little, because now they wrestle with you. they’d hurt you. But Dena, my wife can relate. One night I came home, and she looked at me and she just said he hurt me again. I was just reading to him. He whacked me in the head. So, boys seem to be endless bundles of energy.
Jim: They are and it’s nonstop. But you know what? it’s all good. And that’s why I’m excited to return to a wonderful conversation we recorded earlier this year with Rhonda Stoppe. She has a lot of energy and passion for helping moms.
John: She really does. Rhonda is an author, speaker, evangelist and a pastor’s wife, and she identifies herself as the no regrets woman. She’s been mentoring wives and mothers for more than 20 years, and today we’re going to hear about her book Moms Raising Sons to Be Men. Now this is an important conversation for both moms and dads. So, lean in and listen as we begin this best-of episode
Jim: Uh Rhonda, welcome back to Focus on the Family.
Rhonda Stoppe: Thanks. It’s great to be back with you guys.
Jim: You’re sitting there so quiet and polite.
Jim: Boy, those boys have really trained you well, huh?
Multiple people: (laughter)
Jim: Um, I’ve sure you’ve had a few buttons pushed with bringing up boys. Uh, what- what- what is a memory of yours that really sticks out that’s kind of the funny example of bringing up boys?
Rhonda: Oh, boy. Well, I have had… raised two sons and two daughters, so I’ve gotten to see-
Jim: Right, so you have that perspective.
Rhonda: … the perspective of the two of them. You know, one that just comes to mind, this is (laughs) one of my favorites, I love this story. When my son Brandon was just a little guy, like, six years old, he was in a Christmas program, and he had his little red cardigan sweater on, and he was singing a song up on the stage.
Jim: How handsome.
Rhonda: He was so cute.
Rhonda: And I whistle really loud, we live on an 80-acre ranch, and when the kids, it’s time to come home, I do this whi- whistle. And so, when, uh, you… we… If we’re at Disneyland, I do that whistle and I put my hands up, and they em-… The kids emerge out of the crowd, they find me. So, he’s singing his song, and then I whistled and I’m clapping, and he looks, and he finds me in the audience, and then he winks at me.
Jim: Oh (laughs).
Rhonda: And I’m, like, “Dude.”
Jim: Just like dad (laughs).
Rhonda: And that’s his nickname, is “Dude.” And- and- and so, I over the years whenever Brandon would do anything, he’s a musician, he’s played for some pretty amazing, um, m- worship music and- and toured with some people, and now he’s a worship leader in Southern California. But whenever I get to see him play or be at something, huge room full of people, but I’ll whistle-
John: And he knows.
Rhonda: … and he will find me-
Rhonda: … and he will wink at his mama.
Rhonda: And that’s our thing. And then what I lo- (laughs)… He’s married to Jessie now, and Jessie, uh, he… They lived in Nashville, and she was standing in… at church in a row in front of another woman named Haley, and Brandon was playing. And Haley was reading Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, and she read that little story about Brandon winking at me, and she sent me a picture of Jessie’s back and Brandon on the stage, and she said, “He winks at her now.”
Rhonda: I’m crying just to tell
Multiple people: (laughter)
Jim: I know.
Rhonda: … every time.
Jim: That’s so sweet.
Rhonda: That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?
Rhonda: He winks at her now. He plays from the stage, and he finds her, and he… And that’s what we want. We want them to relate to us in a way that it’s gonna transfer to their spouses.
Jim: Well, what’s… Yeah, and what’s funny about that story is your husband Steve, bef- whe- when you met and were kind of interested in him, he winked at you.
Rhonda: That’s right. We’re winkers in our-
Jim: (laughs) You’re winkers.
Rhonda: I- I’m a wink-
Jim: This family.
Rhonda: In fact, I notice my grandkids wink back at me now.
Rhonda: I must have just winked at them (laughs).
Jim: Hey, let me ask you this. Given you mentioned that you had two girls and two boys, you raised two boys and two girls, what are those distinctions? What did you see? I mean, we read all the research, we see all that stuff about how boys will take anything and turn into to kind of a weapon against their brother (laughs), and then the girls sit down and talk and have tea. And, you know, what do you think of that research, and the fact that th- there are these gender distinctions-
Rhonda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: … that are normal, because God does things physiologically-
Rhonda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: … uh, to our brains and our… in the process. He set it up, so men have a testosterone wash, we lose about half the connections in the-
Rhonda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: … left and right side of the brain. Um, that’s why I think women are just… you know, they’re like spaghetti. We’ve heard that before with guests here. And then men, we can-
Rhonda: My friend Pam Farrel. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: Yeah, we can compartmentalize and, you know, we have that ability to do that. He- did you see that as a mom of both girls and boys?
Rhonda: I did, and what’s interesting is our- our two boys were so different-
Rhonda: … and very masculine in their ways.
Jim: Well, it sounds like one’s c- very creative and a musician.
Rhonda: Right, and then Tony did not come to our family till he was 15 years old, and I tell Tony’s story in Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, and it was amazing just to watch the transformation in his life. But Tony was, you know, valedictorian at school, football player, overachiever. You know, he was the- the captain of the football team, roughhouse. Brandon was, uh, more creative. He played the piano, he played the drums, he played the keyboard, he played the guitar, he’s a musician. Uh, he still had a- a love for sports, but his passion was that.
Rhonda: And when Tony moved in with us, he would try to roughhouse with Brandon and wrestle with Brandon-
Jim: Right (laughs).
Rhonda: … and try to, and- and try to, you know, tell Brandon, “You need to go out for football,” and “You need to this, and you need to that.” And academically Tony was like this, and- and I had to pull Tin- Tony aside, Steve and I, and we were like, “He’s not you. You are awesome with the achievements that you are ac- achieving, but you’re not the standard, and we don’t want Brandon,” ’cause Brandon just totally looked up to this new big brother that he had in his family, “We don’t want Brandon to think he has to be like you in order for us to affirm him-”
Jim: Oh, that’s good.
Rhonda: “… as a man.”
Rhonda: And Tony was so precious, ’cause that’s not at all what he intended.
Rhonda: So, he took that information and had to process it and had to celebrate Brandon’s accomplishments even though it wasn’t, you know, playing basketball-
Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rhonda: … or football or all of those things.
Jim: Let me ask you with- with Brandon, the first time you held him as a mother, and here’s your little boy, you just gave birth to Brandon. What’s that like?
Rhonda: I had a daughter first, and, you know, it’s like, I get it, I get her. Uh, a son-
Jim: Why was that scary or intimidating?
Rhonda: ‘Cause you’re raising a man, and I think that’s where this title Moms Raising Sons to Be Men comes from, because we get so caught up in the moments of everyday just survival, we forget that God has called us to this incredible ministry of motherhood to raise a man, and-
Jim: You know, I never thought of that. Is- is it more comfortable you think generally for a mom to raise a daughter?
Rhonda: I don’t know that it’s comfortable, because there’s that whole “we’re so similar” kind of thing-
Jim: Yeah, right (laughs).
Rhonda: going on, but I think we get each other.
Rhonda: But with a son, I was completely out of my wheelhouse. I didn’t know how does this boy think.
John: There weren’t transferable lessons from your relationship with Steve that you could take to that situation?
Rhonda: It’s different, because-
Rhonda: … you are establishing a daily interaction with them. How they’re gonna perceive women-
John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rhonda: … how they’re gonna perceive the Lord, how they’re going to, you know… Uh, oftentimes our children emulate the marriage that we have in their own marriages. A boy will choose a wife l- that’s a lot like his mom, or if, uh, the opposite pendulum swing is, like, “I want wa- someone who’s nothing like my mom,” which that can’t be healthy sometimes too. Uh, there’s just so much. You’re holding this sweet-faced little boy, and I remember for the first 10 years of his life, you know, that gentle soft little skin, and, you know, I’d take a nap and my daughters would be like, “You took a nap again?” My son would be like, “Mama, did you get a good nap?” I’m like, “Dude.”
Multiple people: (laughter)
Jim: “I love you. You want a cookie?”
Rhonda: “Shmooby, shmooby, shmooby.” But I remember when he started pushing me away when he reached adolescence-
John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rhonda: … and I remember feeling betrayed, ’cause it was like, “You and me, buddy,” you know? And Steve had been in youth ministry for 18 years. I had watched this phenomenon of young boys pushing their moms away at that adolescent age. But in my mind, it’s like, “That’s not gonna happen with Brandon. We are so close.” But here’s what’s interesting. I know we’re skipping ahead in (laughs) what we were gonna talk about, but what’s interesting is this: There’s no coming of man ritual in our culture. I wish there was, I wish you could send them on walkabout, tell them to pee on a rock, kill something, walk on hot coals.
Jim: (laughs) Well, you could tell them that.
Rhonda: We will kill the fatted calf and call you a man, no doubt you’re a man. The main understanding in our culture is don’t be a mama’s boy, so our sons hit about 10, 11, 12, you’ll know when it starts happening, they start smelling funky, they start, you know-
Jim: You don’t go (laughs) in their room.
Rhonda: Yeah, yeah yeah.
Rhonda: And- and- and they start to push mom away.
Rhonda: And I saw this in… so much in youth ministry as well as in my relationship with Brandon. But I needed to have Steve’s perspective in- in that. What does it look like? So, as Brandon started pushing me away, I always tell moms at adolescence, “You have a choice. You either hand them their manhood, or their coming-of-man ritual is they’re gonna fight you for it. They’re going to push you away.” And- and Brandon would say things, and it took me… I didn’t get this right away. I was like, you know, “You… No, you can’t go downtown with those boys and go skateboarding,” and it’s like, he would say, you know, “You never let me…,” or “If you cared about me…,” and I’d be crying, like,
Rhonda: And- and Brandon says this, and I, and I quoted him in Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, he said, “When my mom stopped crying, I knew I had lost the upper hand.” ‘Cause at some point I was just like, “I can’t do this anymore.” He’s… He knew what to say to push my buttons, making… acting like he’s questioning my love for him, which –
Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rhonda: … he was just trying to… He wanted to go skateboarding with those boys.
Jim: Well, it’s independence.
Jim: You’re pushing for independence.
Jim: You know, one of the things, uh, that you mention in your book Moms Raising Sons to Be Men is the, uh, the need, the necessity, for moms to be mentored by other women, especially older women. I think you call it the Mommy Club.
Rhonda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: Describe that. ‘Cause m- m- in our culture today, it’s hard to connect that way, ’cause lives are busy, there’s always a to-do list that’s longer than time, and ha- so, how- how would you encourage a, um, young mom of boys to find that mommy club?
Rhonda: For me, I knew I wasn’t the mom I meant to be, and I knew I was just putting out fires. I wasn’t guiding their hearts; I was just surviving. I was just wanting them to obey ’cause it made my life easier. “Just pick up your socks for goodness’ sake. How hard is that?” And I was insulted when they wouldn’t do it, and I found that I was walking around, uh, expecting them to measure up to my expectations, and when they didn’t, I felt offended by them, or I put too much in my schedule any given day. It’s funny, ’cause I’ve got 10 grandchildren now, and Steve and I just watched a two-year-old and a three-year-old, and then as we dropped those off, we watched the… another two-year-old and four-year-old of- of the other daughters. And all I did was sit with them.
Rhonda: All I did is play with them.
Jim: A very different approach.
Rhonda: Right. And it’s like that’s-
Jim: “Stop that, don’t do that.”
Jim: (laughs) Now it’s, “Whatever.”
Rhonda: And- and- and you still guide them though, and it’s-
Rhonda: But it’s like it’s different, because you don’t pack so much in your day that you have to get accomplished.
Rhonda: But when we’re moms we’re just trying to do everything that’s on our plate. Sometimes we do too much, and its maybe time to back up and say, “My first priority is this ministry of motherhood and my ministry to my husband,” if you’re still married to the father of your children. But it’s how can I prioritize? So, I knew I needed help. I knew that my family was riding the roller coaster of my emotions, and I knew that I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do as a mom.
Rhonda: So, I looked to other moms, and I asked them for help. And what was interesting, one woman, her name’s Molly, Vaughn and Molly, I talk to… about them in Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, we were at my husband’s mother’s house, and she had those little Hummel glass figure, they’re collector, thing.
Jim: Do you know what, uh, what that is, John? (laughs)
John: I’ve been in homes that have them, but we chose not to.
Rhonda: Yeah (laughs). Knickknacks, or she called it bric-a-brac.
Jim: You’re talking to guys here. What, Hummel what?
Rhonda: Hummels. They’re collectible.
Rhonda: And their little four-year-old son reached up to touch this little figurine, and Vaughn was talking to Steve, and as Vaughn was talking to Steve, he, “Da da da da da, Vaugh- uh, Adam, don’t touch that,” and then he kept talking to Steve. And Steve went, “How’d you do that?” ‘Cause Adam pulled his hand away.
Rhonda: There was no raised voice, there was no… And I was like, “I got to know what you know.” So, Molly and Vaughn became our mentors, and I… Molly was learning to do hair at the time, so I would go in once a week, and she would do my hair-
Rhonda: … to practice on me. It was the ’80s, so perms were in. I mean, I had every hairstyle you can imagine. And she just shared with me, like, “Stop what you’re doing. Get down, look in their eyes and tell them, ‘This is what I want you to do. This is what I don’t want you to do.’”
Jim: That’s a good hairdresser (laughs).
Rhonda: Yes, she was. And then she’d say, “Now, tell me what I just said to you.”
Rhonda: “now, repeat to me. Now, what the consequence I was gonna give you.” I wasn’t doing that. I was going, “Knock it off. How many times I’ve told… Quit it.”? You know, I’m on the phone or whatever. Instead, it’s like, that’s your priority, right? Then make them look you in the eye. That was an a-ha moment for me, but I needed a mentor in my life to tell me that.
Rhonda: Uh, and so, that was the value. Another amazing thing that I think of with Vaughn and Molly, when Meredith… Uh, when one of our kids was… I thi- I think it was Meredith, yeah… She was young and she was skipping around-
Jim: This is your daughter Meredith.
Rhonda: Meredith, yes. She was skipping around after church, I think I was pregnant with Brandon at the time, making noise, and we were just visiting with friends, and she was just giggling and doing her thing. And I kept shushing her, and Vaughn asked me, you know, “Do you have a conviction about her not doing this in the church? Do you feel like it’s a holy place?” “No, I just don’t want her to do it.” He kept pressing me until I said, “I don’t want people to think I’m a bad mom,” and Vaughn said, “Never raise your kids for what people think about you. If you’re not listening to anything else at all today,” I’m gonna say what he said again, ’cause it changed my life, “Never raise your kids for what people think of you.”
John: Rhonda Stoppe is our guest today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and, uh, I’ll direct you to our website to find Rhonda’s book Moms Raising Sons to Be Men. Uh, you’ll find it at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.
Jim: Uh, Rhonda, I was really intrigued by your observations about King David’s mom. We normally don’t… You know, we think of King David… As a guy, I’m thinking of King David.
John: I had never thought about it, yeah.
Jim: You don’t think about his mom. Uh, what caught your attention about the kind of mom King David must have had?
Rhonda: Okay, the first thing is her name is not mentioned in the Bible.
Rhonda: I mean, I’m like, “Are you kidding me right now? (laughs) She raised David, King David, and she doesn’t get a shout-out with her name.” But what I love about the story of King David is, you know, we know the story when he was gonna fight the giant, and-
Rhonda: … he goes to Saul, and he says, “I’ll fight him. I’ll fight him right now.” He’s, like, a 17-year-old. When God gets ahold of a teenager’s heart-
Jim: Maybe younger, actually. Who knows?
Rhonda: Yeah, yeah. But when God gets ahold of a teenager’s heart, right-
Rhonda: … and Satan knows that, and he comes to kill, steal and destroy. And we get to be the- the mother in there that guards them and guides them. But he tells Saul, “God gave me victory over a lion, and he gave me victory over a bear. I know he will give me victory over this giant.” Time out.
Rhonda: This is a teenager. When did this little boy fight a lion and a bear? When he was protecting his father’s sheep on a hillside. Now, I’ve got to tell you, if Brandon came home and said, (laughs) “Hey, Dad, the most amazing thing happened at work today. God gave me the strength to fight-”
Rhonda: “… with my bare hands a lion, and then the next day a bear,” I’d be like, “Awesome!” And then when Brandon left the room I’d say, “He don’t work for you no more.”
Multiple people: (laughter)
Jim: That’s right.
Rhonda: “Find somebody else.”
Jim: Maybe he’s working at Yellowstone. I don’t know.
Rhonda: Yeah (laughs). Because we want to protect our sons. When- when we have to step back and realize this, God sent that lion and God sent that bear.
Rhonda: Because God knew the giant that David was gonna fight one day, and he needed to prepare this young man to fight a giant with faith in God doing it through him. We go jump in and try to protect our kids. We try to, you know, not let any bad circumstances occur, or if it does, we question God. “Why would you let this happen?” And when God doesn’t answer, olf- oftentimes we walk away. I think, um, uh, the story that I tell in Moms Raising Sons to Be Men about the battle that my son Brandon had, uh, we had planted a church in Lakeway, Austin, Texas, and Steve was out of town, and Brandon had a severe seizure, and, uh, he had to be hospitalized. It was a 28-minute seizure, and I didn’t know he had anything wrong with him. It was just out of the blue. They did, uh, EEGs on his brain, and this is an interesting little side note that I love to tell. They did a sleep study, those little things glued to his head, and I went over, and I kissed him on the temple while he was sleeping. And the tech circled with pen on the paper readout and wrote “Mom’s kiss,” and she said, “They know you’re kissing them when they’re sleeping.”
Rhonda: And Brandon was, like, six years old then. So, Brandon was diagnosed with severe seizure activity.
Rhonda: That was devastating, and he had to be medicated, heavily. Whenever he grew, he would have seizures. And so, what happened to our bright, articulate little boy was he became so heavily medicated so that he wouldn’t have seizures that they put him on special-ed at school.
Rhonda: That just pierces your heart, you know-
Rhonda: … when the administrator says it so flippantly.
Rhonda: But as Brandon was having these seizures, uh, he… We kind of got it under control with medication for a while, and then one night he missed one dose of medicine. We had to take it three times a day. I thought Steve gave it to him, Steve thought I did, and he had a severe seizure that night.
Jim: Oh, my goodness.
Rhonda: And this was after four years of medication. And this really changed his personality. The rest of the Stoppe family is kind of crazy, and Brandon’s the cool kind of easygoing kid. But it was during those years of forming his personality that he was heavily medicated.
Rhonda: I was coaching cheerleading at a high school in Lakeway at that time, which is if you’re ever been to a Texas football game, you understand what that means. And we had expected Brandon to, you know, hit one out of the park or run one down the field and hear the crowd glory in our son’s accomplishments as an athlete, and he didn’t even want to play sports.
Rhonda: But what we found was while we were ha- planting this church, we had praise band practice in our home, and Brandon would sit behind the different musicians, and he could just play. And this kid is so talented musically. But one day he had this severe seizure, and we had kids coming to Christ, 200 teenagers in our house every Wednesday night. They trashed it. And I went in my room, and I wept at the foot of my bed, and I s- I told God, “I quit. I’m done. We’re serving you, we’re leading these kids to Christ, and you can’t heal my son?” And then in a moment, if you’ve ha- hidden God’s word in your heart, you won’t sin against Him. When you’re ready to walk, His word will speak to your heart, and in the stillness and quietness of my mind I heard, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God and Christ Jesus concerning you.” And I wish I would have said, “Okay,” but I didn’t. I said, “I have no idea how any good can come of this. I don’t know how to say thank you. But I will say thank you with my lips, and I will leave it for you to change my heart, because I’m ready to walk.”
Rhonda: But God calls us to obey because it’s what He calls us to do, not because we feel it. And as I said thank you with my lips, and as I chose to think on what was good, eventually we started noticing this amazing musician emerge out of our son Brandon. And I would have raised an arrogant little athlete. I wanted to hear the crowd glory in my son’s accomplishments. God got me out of the way, that helicopter mom, the one that would have, you know, mad because the lion and the bear f- came, but God sent that ’cause he was molding my son’s character, and God said, “I don’t want to bring the cloud… crowd to glory in your son’s accomplishments. I’m gonna use Brandon, I’m gonna raise him up to bring the crowd to glory in my son’s accomplishments through worship.”
Rhonda: And my son Brandon has- has grown up, and, uh, he- he serves the Lord as a musician and he leads worship at a church in Southern California, and he’s toured with some amazing Christian bands. But what if I’d have walked? Mom, if you’re listening right now and you’re in a difficult situation, we’ve been in ministry long enough that we’ve seen moms walk away when God lets them down. When that lion and that bear comes and you’re like, “If you’re a good God, how could you? How would you?” Isn’t that the sin that the serpent betrayed and-
Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rhonda: … deceived Eve, by questioning God’s goodness? “If God were good, he would let you have this fruit.” But what happens, I’ve seen it over and over, is w- moms walk away, dads do too, because if God loved my kid, he wouldn’t let this, whatever that circumstance is. But if we’re truly His, we will come back. He will work and draw us to repentance cost.
Jim: And at what… How long did that take, though? I mean, it sound… You’re putting that together, it’s beautiful-
Rhonda: S- yeah, in a little nutshell, yeah.
Jim: … and it’s- it’s the right path, but are you talking a couple years with Brandon, or was it four or five years? I mean, as this began to emerge for you, months? I mean, uh, give it perspective –
Rhonda: He… It was a four-year process of him coming to this place where we could actually see him becoming this musician. But it was r- really pretty… When I, when I wept at my bed and God convicted me to be thankful, when I chose to say yes and be thankful, He began doing the work on my heart. Because resentment steals, kills and destroys all that God wants to do. We can’t even pray powerfully. In fact, the book of James says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much.” But when I’m holding onto resentment, unforgiveness, uh, bitterness against God for allowing a circumstance in my life, or my husband for not measuring up to my expectations or being the dad, I think he should be, that renders my prayers powerless.
Rhonda: I am exchanging being Moses on a hillside with my arms in the air interceding for my children who are down there fighting the battle, I’m exchanging that powerful prayer to hold onto a resentment. And Satan loves that, because he knows the most powerful resource we have as parents at our disposal is a powerful prayer life for our kids. And so, I… It wasn’t long after I a- told God I will choose to say thank you that He began working on my heart. But you have to meet Him at that point where He’s calling you to obedience-
Rhonda: … and let Him change your heart.
Jim: Rhonda, as we wrap up day one, and I want to come back next time and we’ll continue the discussion and talk about some of those Biblical observations, and- and… You know, this is good stuff, and it’s again right in the wheelhouse of those of-
John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: … us living the dream, uh, Moms Raising Sons to Be Men.
Jim: And for us husbands, I mean, we’re watching that too, and of course we have our role to play as husbands. But today we’re concentrating on that unique relationship between moms and, uh, their- their boys. Uh, explain that concept of appealing to the man he will become. I mean, if you put that in air quotes, “appealing to the man he will become.”
Rhonda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: Um, w- what does it mean, first of all, and- and can you share a story about how you did that with Brandon?
Rhonda: I think we have to realize the… Our sons think, “Oh, you just want to control me, you just don’t want me to live my life.”
Jim: That’s exactly what they think (laughs).
Rhonda: “I just want to do my thing. You want me to be your little boy forever.” It’s like, “Uh, no I don’t. I want you to not live here forever.” (laughs)
Jim: Let’s start there (laughs).
Rhonda: And- and, yeah, and helping them understand. I remember telling Brandon, “We don’t want you to be here forever.” He was probably, I think he was 15 years old, because he had his permit and I was driving, and we live in a canyon, mountain… winding road, which you want to take your life in your hands, sit in a car with a 15-year-old boy-
Rhonda: … on a mountain road.
Jim: I’d say take him to the desert, a nice, straight-
John: Yeah (laughs).
Jim: … road. That’s the way to go.
Rhonda: But that was our drive home every day. And, you know, men communicate shoulder to shoulder.
Jim: Meaning you’re not looking eye-to-eye, yeah.
Rhonda: So, when they’re up to about 10 years old, you get them to look you in the eye like we talked about earlier, Vaughn and Molly telling me, “Look in the eye.” But it’s not rebellion when they start not necessarily looking at you, not out of a, you know, but they’re just… So, as Brandon would drive his car, I would be able to have great conversations with him, and I remember one day he was saying, “Why can’t I listen to secular music?” And “My friends get to listen to secular music, and you won’t let me,” and I’m not, uh, you know, I’m not gonna say you should or shouldn’t. I will say this: In 18 years of youth ministry, when kids started rebelling, my husband’s first question is, “What kind of music are they listening to?”
Rhonda: Because it gets in their heart and their mind. So, as we’re driving, I’m like, “Brandon, we want you to be the man God’s calling you to be. We’re here to help you get there. And I remember the work that God did in you to raise you up to be a musician for the Lord, and if the Bible says, ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,’ if we let you feast on the music that the world has, that’s what’s gonna come out of you. That’s the songs you’re gonna write, that’s the- the way you’re gonna use your talent, and we really believe God has a calling on your life, and we’re for you becoming the man God wants you to be. But we have to help you guard your heart and your mind.” And so, Brandon later says, “I wanted to argue with that, but I knew you were right.” So, he just got real quiet and, you know, just kept driving. But the reality is, we have to point them toward the man they’re gonna be. I was like, “If I let you listen to secular music, you might play some high school band, you know, dance, and that be it. That’s your glory days. But if you use this talent that God has given you for the Lord, I know in your heart that’s what God has created you for, and it’s what you long for. And we’re here to help you get there, we’re heli- here to help you become that man.”
John: Well, mom, that’s one of the best things you can do to help your son become the man God made him to be. We really do appreciate Rhonda Stoppe’s encouragement on this best-of episode of Focus on the Family.
Jim: Rhonda has a gift for connecting with a mom’s heart and spurring her on to be a godly example to her family. And I think it’s obvious why this was one of our most popular programs of the year, and we’d like to help you become the best mom you can be by sending you a copy of Rhonda’s book Mom’s Raising Sons to Be Men. We’ve only scratched the surface of this wonderful content, and we’ll continue the conversation with Rhonda next time. If you can send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family today, we’ll put a copy of her book into your hands. That’s our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry. We also have our team of great Christian counselors. If you’re dealing with an issue in your marriage or your family that needs that kind of one-on-one discussion, one of our counselors can listen to your story, pray with you and direct you to additional help. And that’s why we’re here. It is to help your family.
John: We really do want to assist in any way we can. And our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Or donate and get Rhonda’s book or connect with one of our counseling team members at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And something we’ve developed here at Focus for both moms and dads is our free parenting assessment. It’s online. It’s really easy to fill out and it gives you a good overview of what’s working in your family and maybe an area or two where you can improve, and we’re going to link over to that assessment on the website.
Jim: John, our listeners most likely are aware of the matching gift opportunity we have going on right now. Some generous friends are willing to match your gift dollar for dollar, which means anything you give is going to be doubled. So please prayerfully consider your year in giving to Focus on the Family. Working together we can give many more families hope in the coming year.
John: And again, we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Plan to join us next time for part two of our conversation with Rhonda Stoppe. For now, on behalf of Jim Daly and the rest of the team here, thanks for joining us today for focus on the family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we continue the conversation with Rhonda Stoppe and once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.