Mothers & Sons

I received this amazing email from a mom the other day….

I am a mother of boys. As such I wrestle with questions unique to the mother-son dynamic. Why does everything he picks up turn into a gun? Is this “normal” male behavior? Will personal hygiene ever matter? But one question has haunted me ever since my firstborn was placed in my arms in the hospital. What does it look like for a mother to relate well with her son?

Relating is something that goes beyond getting my sons to obey. Obedience is important but relating well moves beyond that into how I, as a woman, can speak to their God-given male souls. Everything I read said this was father territory. I agree with the primacy of a father in making boys men, but did that leave me completely on the sidelines in this crucial endeavor? Wasn’t there some way I, as a woman, could participate in them becoming men?

This question has followed me for fourteen years. My search for answers began by looking for books.


Yes, there are a lot of books out there on boys. Some are worthwhile but none of them tackled the relational mother-son aspect.

Then, just a few weeks ago I heard about a new book by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs called, Mother and Son: The Respect Effect.  The author hits the mother-son relationship at the EXACT angle I have been looking for. It covers the nuances of how a mother relates to her son and how it can be done in a way to invite him in and improve the overall health of the relationship.  I love this book because it’s purpose is not to teach me how to make my boys “mind” or “behave” but what it looks like for me, as a woman, to truly influence them to become something I am not. To influence them to become men.

Hijacked by Design

We’re gaining more experience with technology- by trial and error- and with that experience comes some wisdom.

Tristan Harris, a former “design ethicist” at Google, has published a great article on technology design. Here’s a quote:

I learned to think this way when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.

And this is exactly what product designers do to your mind. They play your psychological vulnerabilities (consciously and unconsciously) against you in the race to grab your attention.

You can watch his TED speech here:

If you’re like me, you’ll see bits n pieces of yourself in the following lists of concerns. Click on the image to see a life-size diagram of your life


As Tristan says, it tends to lead you to an “all on” or “all off” approach to tech. However, here are some practical steps to “design” your life with technology.

  • Ask someone close to you how they experience you as you interact with technology (get fresh eyes on your habits)
  • Begin to monitor your technology habits in two categories:  1) how am I using it to create and contribute? vs. 2) how am I merely consuming?
  • Ask yourself, “how can I use technology to solve problems?”
  • Identify a way (daily) to attach your self worth to who God is and what He says, rather than the social media train.

Here’s a good article on balance 


The Resurrection of Guys

There’s good news from the porn experiment for a change. And yes, I put good and porn in the same sentence.

Gary Wilson’s TED talk- viewed by 6.4 million and counting- reveals that the consequences of a guy’s rewired brain are finally catching up to the global experiment of viewing porn. And that fallout is leading to what the speaker calls, “the resurrection of guys.”

Consider these stunning facts:

  1.  Researchers have had a difficult time finding a control group (college aged guys who don’t do porn) and as a result had nothing normal to compare the global experiment to
  2. Through addiction, the brain sends weaker and weaker signals to the body
  3. Internet Addiction Disorder shares the same general digression, regardless of how we’re using it
  4. Our brains become hyper-fixated on the dopamine releasing target (your brand of Internet choice) and duller and duller to the real world (boring)
  5. In the case of guys and porn, E.D. (erectile dysfunction) became the tipping point to motivate thousands to exit porn and begin to create a comparative control group
  6. BAM !! Real life returns but….

Perhaps the most stunning thing is the amount of time it takes for guys to recover- defined as 1) noticing and being noticed by real girls and 2) being able to be aroused by them. Here it is:

50-year-olds recover more than twice as fast as guys in their 20’s

Seriously? Seriously! Doesn’t make sense right? Not until you understand the neuroplasticity in the brain. The early years of a boys life are critical due to the development of the brain. And when did Internet porn become widely accessible? For guys in their 20’s, it was there when they were young, at the critical stage of brain development. But for older men, it came longer after the brain was already established. Many men in their 50’s are beginning to return to normal after two months of exiting while younger men are requiring 4-5 months.

Want the good news? The brain can be re-rewired. And therefore, “the resurrection of guys.” This is a critical watch. Make time for it and be ready to take notes for two reasons. You care about the guys in your family and you interact constantly with the Internet: