I have read a lot of things about raising boys. I have HEARD a lot of things about raising boys. Some I listened to closely, some I disregarded immediately. Maybe I listened when I shouldn’t have. Maybe I ignored when I shouldn’t have. But through this journey that so far is only a decade long, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve done my best. In the end, These things are what I want my sons to know.
I want my boys to be REAL men, not a cardboard cut-out, not a wimp.
I want them to know their softer sides and when to show them, and when not to show them. To know it’s okay to cry sometimes, but to also know there is a time and a place for crying. Being able to cry over things that mean something to you is a strength, not a weakness, but it isn’t always seen as such. They need to know the difference.
I want them to stand up for themselves and their friends and family, and know when to compromise. You can never give in to a bully, but sometimes resolving that conflict needs to be delayed. Again, there is a time and a place.
I also want them to know how not to BE the bully. I want them to know it’s not okay to be mean to those smaller or weaker than you. People, All people, are to be protected, not persecuted.
I want them not to judge people. Tolerance is necessary, or life will be a constant fight. They should stand up for their beliefs, but recognize that other people have different beliefs. No one is always right. Respect the differences, and learn. Ask them to do the same.
I want them to know how to treat a woman with not just respect, but with love. Holding doors, and listening to a woman when she talks is important. But a woman needs to HEAR how her man feels. Not every second of every day, but every so often, he needs to tell her. We need the words. Also, he should hold her hand. Kiss her for no reason. Touch her shoulder as he passes by her. These little touches tell her he cares when he isn’t saying the words. But those little touches mean almost as much as the words. We women doubt ourselves. We doubt our worth. Men need to remember that.
I want them to show respect to Everyone. Especially women and the elderly. And especially to their enemies. Respect can sometimes make a friend from an enemy. But respect given almost always earns respect in return.
I want my boys to know how to change a tire, change the oil in the car, basic electrical and plumbing skills.
I want them to know how to shave with a safety razor and a straight razor. It was good enough for my grandfathers, and my husband. And sometimes, men should go back to the old ways so they aren’t too comfortable and reliant on the conveniences of today.
I want them to carry a pocketknife and know how to use it.
I want them to own several guns. They should know these firearms like they know their wife. They should know just how much pressure pulls the trigger. They should know how to care for it and clean it. They should know how to love it. Yes, guns need love, too. If you care for a firearm like you should, it can be a great friend to you. If not, it can be your worst nightmare.
I want them to know how to fish and how to hunt. They don’t have to like it, but they should have the skills if they ever need them.
I want them to know how to express themselves. They need to be able to communicate. They need the vocabulary, but they also need to know how to Talk to people. They need to be able to chit chat for social occasions, and they need to be able to express themselves when the moment is important.
I want them to be neat. I don’t mean everything has to be spotless. I mean their homes need to be tidy. I mean their manner of dress should be neat. No saggy pants. No untucked button-down shirts.
I want them to be comfortable wearing a suit / tuxedo as well as jeans. You never know what the occasion will be, and men should be comfortable and confident in any setting.
I want them to know the value of their name. Their name carries weight from those before, and will carry weight to those after. They should always Honor Their Word. If they always keep their promises, people will remember. If they never keep your word, people will remember. I want them to be remembered positively.
I want them to know how to dance. I don’t mean this jumping all over the floor that kids do. I want them to know how to hold a woman in their arms and dance her around a room. They don’t have to know how to waltz, or tango. I just want them to know how to dance with care — with care for her heart, and care for her toes.
I want them to know how to pray. I want them to believe in God and to talk to Him. More importantly, I want them to know how to listen to Him. I want them to have Faith, and be strong in that faith. This faith will be tested time and again.
My boys are important to me. My husband and I are doing our best. We make mistakes, but we make them out of love. I want my sons to know all of this I’ve listed above, and so much more that I can’t put into words. My children are my world. And when they go out into the world, I want the world to value them, and I want them to know how to value the world.