Sunday, June 26, 2016

Raising Men

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"Boys will be boys, or so they say, but I'm raising my boys to be men one day..."
I have 3 boys I get to call my own. 3 boys that my husband and myself are trying to raise in a world full of violence, evil, hatred, lust, and selfishness.
But also a world with hope, kindness, charity, and love.

Hopefully these 3 boys that have been entrusted to us will grow up to be kind-hearted, hard working, loving men one day.
That is my goal.
That is what my life revolves around right now.
Making sure my husband and myself take every opportunity, every small moment, every unspoken action to teach these future men how to be good human beings.
They say behind every good kid is a mom who's sure she is screwing it all up.
I hope that's the case because I feel like I am screwing it up on a daily basis.
This has been weighing on my mind a lot lately.
Our children are growing up in a different world than we did, and I hope and pray daily that we are doing our best to give them the tools and knowledge to make it through successfully.


I am so blessed with the opportunity to stay home with my boys all day while my husband works hard to support our little family.
Being the one at home the most, I feel like it is my main responsibility to teach them, especially from a woman's point of view, how to have empathy and how to do some good in the world.
There are a million and 1 different things that I want to try and cram into their little brains before I blink and they are already moving out of the house, but right now I'm trying to focus mainly on the following:

Don't force love/affection on others
This one has always been on my mind, but even more so now with everything going on in the media.
I am trying to teach my boys that their body is just that, it's their body. They are in control of what they do with it. They are in control of how they use it. Each person has a body that is their own property. That they are in charge of.
I feel like this can be elaborated on in a lot of different levels, but right now for us we are dealing with showing affection. Our oldest is incredibly affectionate and always wants to grab his younger brother for a hug. Younger brother doesn't always want to even be touched let alone smothered in a hug, and a wrestling match will ensue. It's in these moments when I try to sit my boys down and explain the following:
If someone doesn't want to be touched, they don't want to be touched.
Don't force them to come in for a hug, don't hold them down to hug them. No force whatsoever.
It's as simple as that.
The same goes with showing/receiving affection to/from family members, friends, or whomever. I am trying to teach my boys that they are not required to give physical affection if they are not comfortable with it.
I am also trying to help them understand that just because they, or someone else, might not want physical affection at that moment it doesn't mean they love/like the other person any less. No ones feelings should be hurt, that's just not something they want at the moment.

Say sorry
This one is more than just 'saying sorry' but I feel like that's a good way to sum it up.
This is taking responsibility for your actions.
This is trying to fix any wrong done. If you did something, either on purpose or by accident, say sorry.
I want my boys to understand that they have the capability of hurting someone else without even maybe knowing they have.
One of my boys might hit the other and say something along the lines of 'that didn't really hurt you'. When I hear this I want to help them understand that they don't know what the other person felt. To them it might have not been a big deal, but to the other person it was.
This also goes with taking a punishment if necessary.
 There are always consequences for actions, and it's important to learn from the mistake that was made.

Not everyone is raised the same, and that's ok
Since my boys were very young I have always tried to point out differences in others.
Difference in culture, difference in religion, difference in home dynamic, difference in family rules, etc. There are differences in the family down the street, or half-way around the world.
I am doing this to help them understand that everyone is raised differently, and there is nothing wrong with that. I hope this will help them have open minds. Open minds to others thoughts, opinions, teachings, and way of life.
I hope that they can accept others for who they are and not look down on someone because they have a different view of the world.

Look and listen...communicate
I want my boys to understand the importance of communication.
Communication both ways.
I want them to talk to me about their feelings, their thoughts, their concerns, their dreams. I want them to know that I am listening.
I want them to feel listened to, but I also want them to be able to do the listening.
Pushing pause and looking up from an electronic device when someone is talking to you is expected.
Actually listening, with comprehension, when someone is talking to you is expected.
Easier said than done though.
I'd say this one drives me the most nuts.
This one takes a lot of my patience.
I try to remind my boys, on a daily basis, that communication is incredibly important and will help them in all areas of life.
I want my boys to show others that they are being considerate of their time.
When we sit down to dinner every night I don't allow any devices at the table.
The tv still does manage to stay on in the background though...always on ESPN...I'm still working on my husband with that one ;)

Hold the door, give up your seat...
Basically, I want them to know what chivalry is, and that it isn't dead.
If they walk through a door, I want my boys to turn around and see if they need to briefly hold it for someone else.
If an older person, pregnant lady, or anyone needs a hand, a seat, whatever, help them!
Look for ways to help or serve others.

Be a hard, honest worker
My boys see my husband leave for work every day.
As often as I can, I try to remind them that their daddy is out there providing for his family. Their daddy went to school for years, while working full time, to be able to have a good job to provide for us.
His motivation for working hard and being successful is so that I can stay home with our children, so we can have food in our bellies, a roof over our head, and be able to spend quality time together.
My boys have daily chores. They know that they need to help out around the house.
If they want to earn money to buy something, they must first complete their regular chores and then they can do 'money chores'.

Attitude is a choice

"Not every day will be great, but great things can be found in every day."
I try to tell my son this whenever he says he is having a bad day. I try to help him look back at all of the positives. I try to teach them that one small bad thing shouldn't ruin their outlook on the whole day.
I know there will be times when they will be down and sad. I want my boys to know they are allowed to have those feelings. It's ok, it's normal. You can't be sunshine and rainbows a full 24/7.
I want them to know though, that if they are sad, or mad, or upset, that they shouldn't take those feelings out on other people.
I want my boys to still be kind to others and try to stay positive even when things are hard.
I basically don't want them to take their anger out on someone else.
I want them to learn how to step back from a situation, take a deep breath, and then move forward.

Some days it seems pretty overwhelming.
I just want them to be good people. I want them to genuinely care for others. I want them to experience the joy of serving others.
I just want the best for them.
I hope I am doing enough.
I hope I am raising some good men.

6 comments:

  1. As a mom whose kid will be growing up in a world occupied by kids the same age as your brood, and as an aunt of many nieces, I thank you so much for doing the hard work of teaching your young boys to be respectful and thoughtful men.

    It's a harsh world out there, full of pain and worry, but it can be a better one with kids like yours growing up in it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words! I hope and pray that I am doing it right!

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  2. I LOVE this! I have 3 boys as well and I try to teach them many of these things too. Great post!

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  3. Your points really resonate with me especially now that I have a baby boy in the house. "How to turn him into a gentleman?", I always wonder. Especially love your last two points: chivalry is not dead and attitude is choice. Fantastic.

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