Monday, September 5, 2011

for mothers of boys (and mothers of girls)

almost all of the children in our lives that are my son's age are girls. and although he spends a majority of his time with these girls, he is somehow still all "boy." masculine in every way. 

for the first 2 1/2 years of his life i've compared him to all these other little girls, sometimes to the point of driving myself crazy wondering why i can't get him to act or do things a certain way that i see these calm, prim and proper, sweet little darlings acting. it's only recently that i've realized that to compare my son with a girl is like comparing peas to carrots. 

so i've started to do some reading and research on boys, and now i realize that my friends who only have girls and no boys, just cannot understand my world. and for good reason...they have girls! it's just that raising a girl is a whole different ball game. neither is more difficult or more important, they are just different. 

but what i am saying is not PC at all. recently i read an article about parents who are raising a "gender-less" child. they are not telling anyone the gender of their child, and are allowing this child to be completely free in choosing what to wear and what to play with. and i'm sure many are applauding this couple's choice to do so. see there is this idea that is growing in society, that we force a gender-identity into individuals from infancy by doing things like dressing them in blue or pink, by encouraging them to either play with dolls or play with balls and guns. but this idea has done nothing but caused confusion about what the role of a man is, and society is suffering because of it. that's why we have to take seriously our roles of raising boys--raising men. Dr. Michael Gurian said, "Every time you raise a loving, wise, and responsible man, you have created a better world for women. Women today are having to bond to half-men, with boys who were not fully raised to manhood, don't know how to bond, don't know what their responsibilities are to humanity, and don't have a strong sense of service."

mother's (like me) of the 'typical' boy know that there is something just inherently 'boy' about him from a very young age. one time while my husband was away traveling for months at a time, when i was concerned for him always being around only his mama and little girls, he woke up one morning completely and utterly obsessed with trucks. he's aggressive, he doesn't know the meaning of gentle, he is constantly being reprimanded for being too rough with me and hurting me, and he wants nothing but to be just like his daddy. not mama, not baby sister--daddy. i did not instill this into him. (in fact i'll go ahead and admit right here that i did buy him a baby doll because i noticed he liked playing with them. but even when he gets the urge to play with that doll, he's still very masculine about it, if you know what i mean. basically, he pretends she's his baby sister and he takes care of her like he would his real baby sister if she were allowed to be thrown in the air and flipped and dropped and folded and so on...) he's around girly me all day long, and i even must admit that i hug and kiss him and baby him way more than i should. he can certainly be kind and sweet and precious, but he is 100% without a doubt, a boy.

this is what Dr. James Dobson, in his book "Bringing up Boys" says about why raising boys is different than girls, and why the task must be taken so seriously:

"...boys are more likely to get off-course when they are not guided and supervised carefully. They are inherently more volatile and less stable emotionally. They founder in chaotic, unsupervised, and undisciplined circumstances. Boys are like automobiles that need a driver at the steering wheel every moment of the journey, gently turning a half inch here and a quarter inch there. They will need this guidance for at least sixteen or eighteen years, or even longer. When left to their own devices, they tend to drift toward the center divider and into the ditch, toward misbehavior or danger....Your task as a mother, in conjunction with your husband, is to build a man out of the raw materials available in this delightful little boy, stone upon stone upon stone. Never assume for a moment that you can 'do your own thing' without serious consequences for him and his sister. I believe this task must be your highest priority for a period of time. It will not always be required of you. Before you know it, that child at your feet will become a young man who will pack his bags and take his first halting steps into the adult world. Then it will be your turn. By all expectations, you should have decades of health and vigor left to invest in whatever God calls you to do. But for now, there is a higher calling. I feel obligated to tell you this, whether my words are popular or not. Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility. Besides, living by that priority when kids are small will produce the greatest rewards at maturity."

phew, what a daunting task! 
so mothers of girls, you may give me that "why is your son acting that way" look as much as you want, you can judge me, you can judge my son, you can call him wild or even my means of discipline too stern. but you can also thank me later for trying my best to raise a good man for the future of your daughters! 

(and now, i have to also learn how to raise a woman!  advice, please, mothers of girls?!) 

love you you ladies, and cheers to all of us mothers trying our best! 

and, just for giggles:

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