“MEN RAISED BY WOMEN: What He Won’t Tell Mom… Humph! I wanna hear this!“ The defiance in her tone was spoken to someone else but meant for me. It was deliberately spoken loud and timed perfectly with my entry into the room.
I had been briefed on the “strong independent woman” that would be there. She was the family matriarch. “She’s a really strong-willed woman…” came again as a whisper from one of the other ladies intent on warning me but also displaying her own fear of being overheard and having to answer for her comment.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be gentle so she can handle it.” I smiled and winked while my host stood shaking her head as if to say, “Okay, it’s your funeral.”
I sat at the head of the table directly opposite our matriarch. Two other ladies sat at her immediate left and right while empty seats adorned my two sides.
Like so many moms before her, she had assumed what my book would say. She had endured the long years of raising her son alone and dealt with the criticisms of family, society and even the church. Pressing through issue after issue alone with a growing boy that grew into something she didn’t understand, it made sense that she was defensive.
Though she wore deep lines of age in her face with streaking gray hair, I saw through the armor, her age, the battle scars and into eyes on the brink of watering.
I saw a young mother holding her baby, crying and asking God to help her. I sensed her many prayers for the boy’s father desperately hoping he would be a real dad. I could hear the late night tears from suffering the unfair world that left her working multiple jobs while the father jumped in and out of relationships escaping the financial burdens, sick nights and unsure decisions for a boy that went horribly astray. A deep fear that her son had become his father steamed like a vapor in the air… and that it was her fault. What had she done wrong?
That’s what they all want to hear and at the same time it is their worst nightmare. She sat there with the oppression, fear and guilt Satan had smeared on her year after year almost any and every time her son had strayed, rebelled and now sat in prison. Her tough façade hiding her hearts terrible condemnation and mumbling the only words she had not been able to dismiss… “Am I a bad mother?”
As gently as I would handle my own mother, I spoke softly with love and sensitivity.
“You can find all kinds of books single moms parenting boys written by women, some that are written by PHD’s, counselors, pastors, and even some from men. You haven’t heard from the boy. This book was written by the boy that was raised by his mother. I am a Man Raised by a Woman and I’m going to tell you why he went silent in his teen years, how he feels about you and what’s wrong with him on the inside.”
But before I got into the book I had to rebuke her oppressors.
“God created man then created woman and called her his helper or helpmeet (I misquoted it on purpose).”
“Ma’am thank you for raising your son the best you could… mistakes included because the greater responsibility should go to the man that was never present. It was his calling to father and because of his great lapse we live in calamity.”
The tears streamed gently and I began…
About John Dennis
JOHN DENNIS was born into a middle-class Christian family with two brothers and one sister in Georgia. When his parents divorced, he saw firsthand the struggle of a single mother. He went on to a very successful career he attributes to specific choices his mother made. Knowing the developmental issues of teen boys, he committed to reaching back. John brings his experiences, parenting, passionate writing and his heart for young men into the book Men Raised by Women.