I read a great article about raising boys. It reminded me of the radio interview I did with Bruce Sallan for January DADuary this year. We talked about boys in the school and how they are not given a fair shake at learning. The school system does not encourage boys growing into men.. not anymore. If you know me personally (and not professionally) then you see an act I put on at school. I am not the alpha-male I exude. I am, in fact, a supportive person, and I feel that the best way to “support” the male populations in the school I go into is to create a male standard. I am the center of my tyrannical despotic dictatorship that is my classroom. Boys are surviving an injustice in the education system. They need men around. They need to be able to learn how to assert themselves appropriately) without tantrums, crying, whining, pouting, etc. They need to learn the value of a firm handshake and a gentle word.
I am not saying that boys are being feminized, but I am saying that the boy is being weakened and unable to properly grow into manhood. I am a strong believer that the strongest woman in the world cannot give a boy what a man can. I can only illustrate this point in a personal story… I did not meet my biological father until I was 22; never met him, and couldn’t pick him out of a crowd. I was raised by my step-dad from age 2, and he was a good dad… to me. I did not think there was anything my own dad could give me that my step-dad couldn’t. I mean, what would this sperm-donor of a stranger (which I once called him) have to offer me? As it turns out… A LOT. When I first met him, I sat at a table in my brother’s house and just looked at him as the two of them talked. The first thing that impacted me was his hands… they were my hands. [Brief History] I was a QB, an artist, and a writer. Everything I did that I valued about myself stemmed from my hands, and in a moment I learned where those hands came from. There was something unpredictable that I got from a man who I had known for literally 30 seconds at the time, and there is something highly profound that a man can give a boy that cannot be quantified. I now have a great relationship with my biological dad.
I read this article, and I had this radio interview, and I had my dad experience, and now I have my own son to raise. How do I do this? What behaviors do I encourage, and what behaviors do I shape, and what behaviors deserve punishment? I do not have a formula for you, but I will go through the observations of the article’s author as she advises moms of boys.
1. Realize boys will, yes, be boys: you keep the toy gun away from the boy, but you can’t keep the boy from turning everything into a toy gun.
2. Respect his individuality: The apple doesn’t always fall far from the tree, but sometimes it does; accept it.
3. Refuse to fall prey to gender-based expectations: Roles have been blurred, and as the SAHD becomes more common, so may the boy who just wants to be a dad… just like his.
4. Help him deal constructively with criticism and prejudice: Be the small voice of encouragement your sons hears when he is being teased.
5. Foster diverse interests: Throw a lot of stuff at your boys and see what sticks.
I found out I was having a boy as my wife and I watched the Tudors (a Showtime Series). Considering the fact that I would not create a new religion or behead my wife if we did not have a boy, I am glad we did, because now I have the great challenge of helping him find the man he is to become.
If you have a boy, what is the best part about raising boys, and what do you worry about?