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Easier than raising a daughter, but still just as challenging.
What's the best thing about raising sons? They are only angry at you until its time for the next meal. It's true. Daughters will walk around pouting, stamping their feet and crying for hours, days or sometimes weeks. But a son will usually be able to put an issue to bed as fast as reading the daily newspaper. It has been said, it is done, now time to move on. At least that is what I am finding in my household where the males outnumber the females.
I say that they outnumber the females, but I did not say that they were in charge. For, if you want to know the truth, females can get whatever they want without men knowing that it was not their idea in the first place. It's a skill handed down from mother to daughter, from best friends whispering at night at sleep overs and sisters who are able to con their dad into buying them whatever their heart desires.
Here's the real challenge of raising a son properly. Balance. So many people want their son to be "manly". A "man's man." An athlete, a strong man ready to do battle each and every day. Wanting him to excel on the field, to be the big man on campus. It's a great fantasy, but it is not as important as one would want to think. What is truly important is to give them a sense of inner strength. Instead of filling the mind completely with sports and body building, add some literature, add some sensitivity. Okay, men, do not get angry with me, I am not suggesting flower arranging classes. I am just urging parents to help their sons get a grip on the macho nonsense and build a brain as well as a body. Build a "whole" person, not just a guy with a remote control waiting for a woman to do the laundry and cook the dinner.
Stop! I can hear the protests from where I sit. This is 2010, women are not cooking, cleaning and waiting on their men anymore! Not so, they still are. Yes, sadly this is true. What is sadder is that these same women who are taking care of the man as if he is another one of the children are doing this in front of their own children. So, are we raising our sons to be WHOLE persons? No, because they will be programmed to think that the woman will do all of this for them and they only have to go to work, play sports, watch sports and play video games. No, no, no. This has to be stopped.
So in an attempt to make my sons WHOLE people, they are learning all sorts of skills. My 14 year old swept the house, loaded the dishwasher while his 12 year old brother washed the pots after HE cooked everyone breakfast that morning. By the way, he is an excellent cook. Their little sister did not sit around, she did her share of the chores as well. Likewise, she has to learn that it is not all her job to handle every household chore. She is learning what tools are and what to do with a car when something happens and it needs repair. The days of stereotyping by gender are far from over. So what I want to make an attempt to do is raise good husbands, and good citizens.
Someone possessing ovaries does not make them especially gifted at cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry. These are chores that many men do and are very good at them. My sons are learning how to change their sheets (they already know how to make their beds). I will not say that they are very good at picking up their things, but neither is their sister, or their dad for that matter. The point I am trying to make is to plant the seed.
Plant the seed. Give them a new mindset. A man who does the laundry, cooks or goes grocery shopping with his spouse will have a far happier relationship. I am not suggesting that he become the maid, all chores should be shared. Partners should sit and do the bills together, know what food is their house, work on repairs on their home together, raise their family together. It makes a difference. Today's world has moved away from togetherness. We are so electronic. We text, we don't talk. We email, we don't write letters, notes or cards they way we did at one time. We facebook for our news and chat online. People go on vacation and continue to send messages. It doesn't stop for us to spend personal, quality time. It changes the way we handle ourselves, our relationships, our children.
Plant the seed. Let your sons know that sports is great and I support it 100%, for my daughter as well. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy spirit. However, pick up a book, and read it. After you read it, let's talk about it. Talk a walk at the beach, pick up shells, examine them, look for animal tracks in the park, learn about the trees we are walking past. Go camping, take a bike ride. Look at flowers, they are not just for girls. Take care of yourself, but also think of those around you. Know that they have feelings too. Understand that life isn't fair, but we just have to shake it off and move on. Getting angry and punching people doesn't do anything but lower you to levels you don't want to ever get to. Be intelligent, look to be challenged each day, look to be an achiever, not someone who just exists. However, don't let work be your life. It isn't your life. Your job helps you live your life by assisting you in paying your bills. Employers want you to make it your life. It is not. Alot of people, mostly men, fall into that trap. At the end of your days, it is the people who you love and love you that mean everything. Not the number of projects you closed in a week. Your boss doesn't care about you. You are replaceable to him or her. But not to your family. Working 10 hour days and traveling around while your family grows up without you seeing it will only cause you to regret missing it when you are older and your children to resent you. Find another way. You are a number in the office. You are somebody in your home. Make your home a wonderful place for your spouse, your children and friends. This is what matters.
So I am making this promise to myself. I will take these next 4 to 6 years before my sons reach the legal age of adulthood and try very hard to give them a sense of balance. When they go out into the world they will know what it important. Earning a good living for yourself, caring for others and yourself. Love, respect, knowledge, taking risks and accepting consequences for what you have done if it doesn't go as planned, or you choose an incorrect path. Weighing out choices before you make them, not after as you try to pick up the pieces and those around you are scarred. Don't except others to do for you, make it happen for yourself. Don't settle, forge ahead, theres always another plan. Balance. Live life, it only happens once.