Mel’s Book Review of
Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys
by Stephen James & David Thomas
For nine years I raised my two little boys alone as a single mom. I knew one day these two stinky little boys would grow up to be men, and that terrified me. One of the greatest resources I found on my journey was a book called Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. This book is unique as it breaks up the age groups and allows you to read the section that your boy is currently in. And although it’s about raising boys, we can all learn from the following quote. I remember underlining this little paragraph with tears in my eyes.
The book of Proverbs says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it (Prov. 26:2).” This is not (despite what we wish) a warranty for a boy’s happiness. It does not mean, “If you do all the right things as a parent, your son will be happy when he grows up.” It does not mean that there is a simple formula for success. Because every boy is different, each one requires that we take a unique approach toward guiding him. Any great teacher will tell you that it’s foolish to instruct a quiet, reserved, or shy boy the same way you would discipline an outgoing, rambunctious, or aggressive boy. To nurture and discipline a boy effectively, we must see his unique heart and adapt our approach. Nurturing boys requires that our discipline be geared toward lovingly unveiling their strength and courage, according to how these characteristics are uniquely present. Whenever we discipline boys, we must do so in a way that addresses them as the unique, noble creatures they truly are—in ways that honor them and their masculinity. By disciplining our boys in ways that do not shame them, we honor their desire for strength, reinforce their sensitivity, and encourage them toward valor. If our boys are to stand a fair chance at life, they need to enter manhood believing that they are good men. If they don’t, they will be starting out behind the eight ball.*
I circled the phrase “they need to enter manhood believing that they are good men.” This book taught me to look at my little boys as good men. To speak that life into them and not to take any season for granted.
If you are raising a good man, I highly suggest you grab this book. There’s even a section in the back just for single moms. You’ll finish this book feeling empowered as a single mom, and one day when your little guy is grown, I am sure he will thank you for believing in him.
As I sit back and look at my boys, I’m fully aware that I missed the mark on many things. But keeping this book on my nightstand even to this day was something I did right. It’s almost like I had a manual for “what in the world do I do with this wild little boy?” Every time I would feel helpless, I could find some form of relief that guided me with encouragement and knowledge as I faced the next day. Moms of boys, may your nightstand now hold two books: The Bible and Wild Things.
And to you moms raising girls, I’m sorry this mom of two boys doesn’t have a resource for you. But if you’ve found something great out there, please let us know!
We have two of these books to give away! To enter the drawing text arisebook to 31996.
*James, Stephen and David Thomas. Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2009
About Mel Hiett
Hi friends, I’m Mel Hiett. I like to believe that my nine years of being a single mom to two rowdy boys helped prepare me for Arise MInistries. Just in case raising those two wild boys wasn’t enough training God allowed me to work with teenagers in the local church for sixteen years. If nothing else I have a handful of wild stories and God moments to share with all of you. My husband Trae and I decided to make life more interesting in 2017 when we got married. Together we have five children, two dogs, and some chickens. We have a family group text affectionately named “The Zoo”. Please feel free to follow my adventures on Facebook or Instagram @themelymel.