Boys have been getting a bad rap lately. Thanks to some creeps in Hollywood and in government, it looks like men are lewd, lecherous, condescending egomaniacs.
These idiots in the news obviously got lost somewhere along the way. As a mom of a boy, I can’t help but ask “what happened!?!” What can I do to make sure my son stays grounded and maintains respect for not only women, but for all those with different backgrounds than his own?
Well, I am just a mom and a human one at that, so I have, do and will continue to make mistakes. All I can do is the best I can to raise a respectful young man while allowing him to still be all the boy he can be.
I try to parent by these 3 words: Communicate, Relate, and Integrate.
Communicate – We have always been a family of chatterboxes. We talk about everything. In the car, around the dinner table, on the ski lift. From when the kids were just peanuts. Just talk. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we argue, sometimes we cry. But we communicate. If my kids ever stop communicating I know there is a problem.
Relate – I am not a boy, I am not a teen, I am not him. But I can try to relate. Put myself in his shoes, meet him on his level, touch a bug, investigate how a toilet works, go to every lacrosse game, watch Entourage. Listen and try to understand his daily struggles – from troubles with his sister when he was younger, to troubles with his girlfriend now that he’s older. Try to guide him. Give advice on how to handle spats with his friends and teammates, but understand if he handled things in a different way, as long as he handled it respectfully.
Integrate – We try not to shelter our kids. My son has always been outside, playing with the neighbors, having fun, going on adventures, getting into trouble, and dealing with the consequences when things go awry. We get together with cousins – boys and girls – so they all have to play together and learn to get along. We travel. Whether it’s across the Atlantic, across the country, or just across town. We see how others live and teach how to have empathy for those not as fortunate. And to try not to be envious of those more fortunate.
Parenting is tough. And we want to raise our sons right so we don’t end up hearing their names on the news for something other than discovering the cure to cancer. This is why, as well as communicating, relating, and integrating, I congregate. With good friends with boys of their own. So we can communicate, relate, integrate…and commiserate. We can learn from each other, share our stories, strategies, successes and failures.
Use Man in Training as your community. We can share our experiences here as well. If you have a story to share or advice to impart (in other words, a blog post), please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we post it, we will gladly send you out an in-stock t-shirt of your choice.