Raising a Man

My son is 12. He is quiet and thoughtful. Overly mature for his age, adventurous, rugged, and yet within him is a special kind of kindred spirit. As a mother I want to raise him to be more than just a good man, I want him to be an exceptional man.

When my first husband passed away, I  faced the realization that I, was the sole responsible parent to raise my boy into a man. I do have help. I remarried, I have my dad, my brothers and my previous father-in-law. I appreciate these men and their role in assisting me in raising a man. Somehow, even with the backup help, I feel like I am alone in raising my son to be a quality man with good moral traits.

Raising a man is more than just teaching them, “yes ma’am, no ma’am, thank you, no thank you”. Boys need to be taught how to be respectful, independent, financially responsible and emotionally strong. I use everyday  life as teaching lessons for my son. Examples are everywhere to teach him what is good behavior or choices, and what is not.

One weekend a skate boarding tournament came through town. Since my son is an avid skateboarder, I bought tickets for him and I to go on a date. As we waited in line to get in, there were two “young men” standing behind us. The conversation between these two 20-something young men was appalling. They were bragging about being so drunk they weren’t sure how they got where they were, who they woke up next to and hoped they didn’t catch anything from the girl. My son kept casually looking at me (probably knowing a talk was brewing within me), and then just past me at the men. My inner mama just could handle no more. I decided to teach my son a lesson, and maybe the “young men” behind me.

Me: (in a not so quiet voice) Son, these “boys” are a perfect example of what you should not aspire to be. Drinking like an idiot, and then driving, is far from cool, in fact only immature people with low self-esteem would find it cool to drink that much and then drive. People die every day by idiots who drink and drive. Never lower yourself to the point of thinking it is okay to sleep with a woman you have never met just because you can or because she is drunk. Sex is not something you just do, it is a special moment between two people who love each other and are committed to each other, preferably married. STD’s are no laughing matter and you never want to be the accidental daddy to a baby that was not planned. Use your brains son, don’t act like an idiot.

The “young men” behind me promptly shut their mouths and my son just smiled and said “Mom, I’m smarter than that, and they just sound dumb talking like that”.

You may think that talking about sex or STD’s is a little over the top for a 12-year-old, I say NO WAY. Kids these day’s sadly are not being taught to wait, or at least be selective with someone special. Teens and pre-teens are inundated with sexuality everywhere. I feel it is so important to have age appropriate communication about sex, what it’s about, ramification etc so they have the knowledge to make the right choice when faced with peer and societies pressure.

I also teach my son about money matters; budgeting, coupon clipping and sale watching. He works for an allowance; I don’t pay him unless he has done his job. If he wants something and is short a little money, he often asks if I will cover the rest for him. I always tell him no; not because I am some scrooge of a mother or because we are poor. I want him to know that I am not a line of credit, and life should not be lived on credit. If you are short the funds for said item, you need to wait until you have enough. When we are out shopping I have him look at the price of what he wants. I set a budget of what he can spend. He can then decide if one pair of jeans for $65 is worth it or is there something he likes on the clearance rack where he can get 4 for $65.

I teach him kindness through empathy. Every Christmas I give him the option to give up a small amount of his allowed budget to give to a charity of some kind. I do not force him to give, that defeats the point of teaching empathy. I let him choose. Every year he chooses to give. Last year he got to pick what his money was used for. He thought about it and decided donating some for a box of shoes, a seed bank, and two chickens would be the most helpful to the children in a village in Haiti. His thoughts were, the kids who could wear the shoes now could pass them to another kid when they no longer fit. The seeds could keep feeding a village for years because they “re-seed”. The chickens, they would lay eggs and make new chickens, thus feeding a village for years.

I teach him to love and forgive. That it’s okay to be angry about something, but it’s never okay to demean or degrade another just because you feel they deserve vengeance.

I remind him that Jesus sees and hears all; his actions should always show the love and kindness that Jesus would give even when the choices are difficult.

I teach him it’s ok to be the kid that says no, that sticks up for the smaller kid, that chooses to pass on drugs or alcohol if offered. It’s ok to be the “good” kid.

I teach him to respect nature. We recycle. We don’t litter. We are conscience of wild life and animals. We respect life. I call him my bird whisperer; birds often get into our house through the dryer vent. He can calmly, quietly, whisper to the bird, catch it in his bare hands and set it free. This seems like a small act, nothing special, but every time I see him do it I am filled with an emotional pride at how gentle his soul is.

I teach him all these things, and more, not for accolades for the mother of the year award, because I am far from that (hence my f-bomb posting). I teach him these things in hopes that he will grow up to be a better Human than I have been. That he will make better choices than I made. That he will care more than the rest of the generation growing up with him. That maybe he will be the ONE person that will stand up and make a change for the right when everything around him seems wrong. I teach him so he will not just be a male boy who grew into an “adult” yet remained in boyish ways. I teach him so he will grow up an exceptional MAN.

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About Little Mom BIG World

I am a mother of 2, business owner and all around juggler of the daily chaos of life. DISCLAIMER: I am an expert on nothing, I'm just a mom here to blog about real life. If you share the same opinions and likes, WONDERFUL we will be great blogger friends! However if you do not share the same opinions I will like you as well as long as you are respectful in your differing opinions :) ALSO I am a mom so I reference motherhood in my blog, if you are a single dad or stay at home dad just replace MOM with DAD while you read and it all applies to you as well!
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19 Responses to Raising a Man

  1. edenatticus says:

    Nice post – I am a single mother to a little boy. Right now I am mostly concerned about whether I;m going to have to teach him to pee standing up…! But as he gets older, there will be so much more = I love your part about empathy and using his Christmas money to donate to charity x

  2. Maggie O'C says:

    I love this and I love that little tiny you told those dumbass skate boarders what for!!! You have a big job, little mom.

    • Hey, if their momma’s won’t say what needs to be said, I will step up to the plate! I think what irritated me the most was that clearly a majority of people attending were kids. And these boys were boasting as though the way they acted was “cool”.

  3. This is a powerful post! I love all the messages and the way you are raising your son! Of course I am particularly fond of the way you taught him a lesson in front of the 20 year olds!!! High Five!!

  4. This is so lovely. I thank you in the name of his future girlfriends and his future wife. 🙂

  5. This is one of the best posts I’ve read all week. I think you’re amazing and a great inspiration for moms who might find themselves in a similar situation. I now have no doubt what I should do if encountered with something like this.

  6. monica923 says:

    I love this…and what a smart and effective way to teach your child! You should not only be proud of the child you raised but of yourself for raising him! =)

  7. Sonya says:

    Everything you are sharing with your son is going to shape him into the man he should be, be proud of that! I feel like I would be so mad at those 20 something’s I wouldn’t even know what to say. “Hey Braggy Mc.Baggy Pants you can see there are children here, and adults that don’t care to hear about your “ extracurricular activities, this crap is supposed to be shared through text message and instead of being here maybe you should be at a clinic because you could be literally dying right now.”

    Years ago my boyfriend and I took his daughter to the Renaissance Festival. I am used to all walks of life traipsing around and I am fine with it, but I didn’t know it got as out of hand as that day. Two boys couldn’t have been older than 18 stood in the middle of the bleachers in the jousting arena (they came in after us). One boy was wearing a thong, chaps, a ball gag, no shirt and a dog collar with a leash attached to it. The other boy was holding the leash and his clothes were not much better. I was in shock; I never thought I had to protect a child from S&M crap in a public situation. It was horrible, she was asking all kinds of questions and we ended up leaving. I really don’t think people should be shoved into a bubble but they have to be aware of their surroundings, it isn’t fair to subject children to talks of sex nor acts of sex. How very disappointing.

  8. racingspoons says:

    nice way of pointing out the challenge of raising a child into a man. i don’t think i’ll be raising any, though i will be closer to a baby than i’ve ever been, watching my sister’s newborn a couple days a week. for some reason your words remind me of “home movies.” a bit of blue comedy, but a lot about a single mother and her kid talking to eachother on (sort of) the same level. one of my favorite shows of all time and anything that reminds me of it i have to appreciate. interesting blog.

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