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.

None.

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

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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