Growing up I never imagined myself having more than two kids let alone five. I wasn't completely convinced that I would be blessed with any boys. Surely God wouldn't do that to them since I am not an expert on things that involve boys. I wasn't even sure if I knew how to handle boys, so you could only imagine the nervousness and sense of panic that set in when we discovered that The Boy was just that. A BOY.
Sure, I grew up around boys. I had plenty of friends who were boys, not “boyfriends” per se, but friends who were boys. Unfortunately, none of this actually prepared me for the task of raising boys. I watch football, I know how to fish, use a hammer, and drink beer. All these skills would be useful for raising a pair of gassy, irreverent, beer drinking, football watching boys. But, my goal here is to raise men. Strong, loving, amazingly confident men.
When I think about what I can teach my boys, I automatically think of the “girly” things. Important things like how to cook and clean their pee off the floor around the toilet. How to properly make a bed, do laundry, run the vacuum, and bake a cake. All these are good tools to have in your arsenal, but these are not the skills that make them a good man. It is imperative that they know how to respect, how to show love, and most importantly to have self-worth and confidence in themselves.
We must teach them to not only have respect for themselves, but for those around them. Show them that in order to get respect, you must give it first. Instruct them how to use their manners, to say please and thank you, to hold the door open for others, that ladies go first, and that hair pulling and gut punching is not the way to show a girl that you like them. That they deserve the best a woman can give them, but it isn't required for her to give up “everything” in order for it to be considered her best. That they are not defined by how good they are at sports, but by how good their heart is. That girls and friends will come and go, but mama will always be here. That when they begin to doubt themselves, just look in the mirror and know that you are loved, that you are strong, that you have a wonderful heart. That hard work and dedication will take you so many more places than a bad attitude and a sense of entitlement. That standing up for what you believe is right, not what everyone else tells you to believe only makes you stronger and more attractive.
My hope as I muddle through this journey with my husband and my two boys is that I can live up to my part of the bargain. That I can teach them how to make chocolate cake and not turn their socks pink. That I can demonstrate to them that outwardly showing compassion and that love doesn’t make you weak. That together, the Hubs and I can instill in them the value of hard work, of dedication, of respect, love, and self worth. That together, we will raise two confident, amazing, wonderful men.
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