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Raising a Little Napoleon ~ Five Minute Friday

He’s a little Napoleon. He belts out orders, negotiates with authority figures like parents and teachers, and wields his voice like a sword. He craves control (just like his mama). He came out of the womb feisty, and I rejoiced.

this boy is bad to the bone

He has a physical issue, a thing that could slow him down. In hospitals, they call them “wimpy white boys” — the Caucasian male babies are notoriously weakest when faced with healthy crises. It scares me a little when he declares, “I don’t want to grow up, mom. I just want to be 5 so I can do the climbing wall.” If you’ve ever read “Little Women” you know why that scares me.

But he has grit. He doesn’t give up easily, or at all if he had his druthers. I butt my head against his all day long, and some days I want to bang my head on a wall for all the battles we have.

But way down deep, I am thankful for his spirit. I pray for the wisdom to guide him and help him learn when to fight and when to sit back, when to speak up and when to zip it. I pray for a generous dose of discernment for him, and most of all, I pray that he will live long and prosper.


Written for The Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday, on the writing prompt grit.

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  1. As soon as I read your title, I got the picture. I know the head-banging thing! My little one didn’t belt out orders, but held his stubborn ground in his own clever ways as a little guy. And that did translate to adult determination against difficult odds. God bless you and “Little Napoleon”!

  2. Yes, my first born boy is notorious for his strong-willed ways and “grit”. He sounds (your son) so wonderfully complex and spirited. I like spirited too. It takes grit to be a parent too. Wonderful attribute to your child.

  3. Oh, it sounds like you have a bold leader on your hands. Congratulations, he just may change the world, one person at a time. Such a wonderful tribute to your son by a mama who loves him good.

  4. Thank goodness for his Napoleonic spirit! Loved this, Joy. I have a boy like him as well (my only son).

  5. I love what we can learn from children. “He has grit. He doesn’t give up easily, or at all if he had his druthers.” I need to do that more often. I find myself stuck in a rut because I’m afraid of failing.

    Thank you for sharing your story today.

  6. I love this, Joy. My daughter has this spirit and relentless determination that can be overpowering. But it is also awesome, in the true meaning of that word. Somedays it’s hard to guide though…

  7. I had one like this, too. Female, 2nd girl. Loved her (and all 3 of mine) intensely, but sometimes wondered whatever would become of her, she fought me so hard! Well…today she is one of the most beautiful, intelligent, loving, generous people I’ve ever known in my life, building a really solid marriage, raising three fine sons, working full-time as a special ed teacher to blind students, serving as an elder in their church, entertaining people constantly and folding them into their home and their life. HANG IN THERE. It will serve him very well, not only in his physical struggles, but all through life. Grit is a gift of God. Believe it. After all, he’s just like you, RIGHT?? (By the way, her name is Joy, too.)

  8. When you describe him, I can almost picture him. How wonderful! And it seems like all of the most spirited kids I knew growing up ended up becoming the coolest adults.

  9. after raising a little napoleon, who now has 3 children of her own, i can say that there are benefits to raising them. (not that her sisters were less strong willed. they just didn’t try to buck me on nearly everything!)

    this is the child who isn’t afraid to say “no” to her friends who want to do drugs, who want to move into intimate situations beyond where they are comfortable…to name a few!

    she isn’t afraid of that little word “no”…even around her friends. she loves them deeply and well, but will tell them when they are wrong according to their own standards. in a world where many of them don’t even believe in an objective truth, she can relate to them, yet isn’t run over or intimidated by their beliefs that are different from hers.

    there is no question, it was a challenge to raise her. it challenged me re many of my beliefs. what were the issues on which to be immovable? which were the ones to be flexible? that was such new territory for me. flexibility was not something that was prevalent in my home. it is something we must learn when raising our napoleons…in the right way!

    yes, there are some truths that are basic to life. we must be firm on them. but there is a lot of room for flexibility too. these are usually smart kids…sometimes smarter than we are! they also need our love.

    i love your sweet son. he carries a burden…so do you. he may not live to adulthood…but he might. we will hope and pray that he will and be a strong man…whether it is physically strong or emotionally and wisely strong. it is a challenge to prepare him for a future when not certain he has a long one. may GOD give you grace to be wise, as you have been so far! you are a good woman joy. my admiration for you is immense! I say that both as a mom and a nurse.