Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at SidewaysQ.com

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Raising Boys to Be Men

The story about the Canadian family who’s raising a genderless child broke awhile ago, but it’s still nagging in my head.

“It’s Pat” was an SNL favorite. Pat’s androgyny was a mystery that no one could unravel in the comedy sketches.

ONE:  I feel sorry for a kid whose parents don’t want to make decisions for him/her.  That’s what parents do — they guide, direct, teach.  They make decisions for the child until the child has been taught enough to go off and make educated decisions on his/her own.  That’s how the world works.  Birds, bears, wolves, humans.  All have parents who teach and direct their young.

TWO:  Why do they think it’s their decision to choose a gender?  It’s already been chosen by simple biology.  See, when the sperm implanted in the egg, it held XX or XY chromosomes…blahblahblah…estrogen and testosterone…you know the science, maybe they don’t.

I hate the role that media plays into all of this.  The sexes don’t have to be pitted against one another, fighting for the upper hand.  The feminization of men is destroying their spirit.  Remember the story that lambasted a mom for painting her son’s toenails pink.  Really?  Pink is suddenly evil?  Such an outcry about a color is evidence of a very shaky idea of what makes a man a man and a woman a woman.

As a mom of two young boys, I’ve thought about all of this and more.  Knowing I’ll make mistakes in their upbringing, here are some things that I want to adhere to.

  1. Boys have loud voices and lots of energy.  Let them roar, growl, run, jump and wrestle.
  2. If they want to snuggle or cry, let them and comfort them.
  3. Boys are sensitive.  Don’t make fun of them unless there’s a huge sense of love and silliness known to all.
  4. Mud, bugs and blood are cool.
  5. Guns and swords are a part of play.  Deal with it on a family level and be safe.

    Yes, that is my 2-year-old son using a real saw. He wanted to make real cuts and real saw dust with Daddy, so we taught him to use it.

  6. Pink is not gay.  But if my son is, he won’t be afraid to tell me because he’ll already know that my love knows no bounds.
  7. Boys do need firm behavioral expectations.  The way they speak to and treat their mom often determines how they treat their wife.  They also should know how to behave at a store or restaurant.
  8. Laughing at yourself and going against the crowd are two invaluable abilities in life.
  9. Pray for your boys in all they do.  Start praying for their wives now, because those little girls are having experiences now that will determine what kind of women they become.
  10. Boys will always be your sons, but they’re not yours forever.  Be sure to make friends with the wife/partner.  It’s imperative.
  11. Give boys space.  Don’t pick them up from every fall or smother them if they’re in a bad mood.
  12. Make sure they read classic adventure stories to inspire their imaginations.
  13. Give them responsibility and keep them accountable.
  14. Encourage boys and be proud of them for real accomplishments.
  15. Give them a good example of marriage in our own home, and surround them with strong role models outside of the home.
Many of these points can be applied to girls too, but I really am concerned with boys here.  It’s not up to teachers or movies or friends to shape our kids into adults.  It’s up to us.  Whether we’re human parents or animal parents, it’s important that we parent.  Lead.  Instruct.  Raise.  Shape.  Love.
Because one day, our little boys will hold their own babies, and begin shaping a new generation of men.
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Comments (10)

  1. Pingback: Sister Wives: Christine's Daughter Lives with Meri TodaysMama

  2. RL 10/17/2011 at 1:37 pm

    AMEN! Well said and THANK YOU!!!!!

  3. Petit Elefant 10/17/2011 at 1:28 pm

    What a precious photo! I agree about the crying thing. Why should boys be allowed to cry/feel less than girls? That’s a huge irk for me when I hear parents say: don’t be a sissy! Boys don’t cry!

  4. hcg activator 10/17/2011 at 9:22 am

    You gave him real saw. I mean, is he trained to handle that saw or you just gave him that saw for the pic. He is so small to handle such dangerous things


    hcg activator

    • Erica Fehrman 10/17/2011 at 9:53 am

      It’s a real saw, and it came in a kit of real tools that are scaled down for kids sizes. He eschewed fake plastic tools as soon as he could tell the difference. As you can see in the picture, he’s holding it correctly and has both parents (I’m behind the camera) within a few feet of him. The saw isn’t kept out when we’re not around, and he had a great time helping daddy. He’s now 4 and still has all 10 fingers.

  5. Shannon 10/15/2011 at 12:29 am

    This is great advice for our new little guy. Loved it, great one!

  6. Erin Oltmanns 10/14/2011 at 8:58 pm

    I agree that most of this could be applied to girls, but I get my girl because I’m a woman. She is a carbon-copy of me. But my son? How do I raise him to be a good man? This is uncharted territory for me…

  7. stephanie peterson 10/14/2011 at 12:22 pm

    Erica, You hit the nail on the head! Loved a book called Wild Things: The Art Of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas.

    • Erica Fehrman 10/17/2011 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks! I just started reading Wild At Heart by John Eldredge, and plan to read Captivating by the same author after that.

  8. Katy 10/14/2011 at 8:07 am

    Wow, thanks for that! I feel the same way! I have a daughter and son and they are so different. It isn’t just personality, boys and girls are wired differently and I think it is so cool and amazing that God made them that way. I read a good book called, “That’s My Son” by Rick Johnson that helps mothers to know what makes their boys tick and how to use that to develop them into strong responsible Godly men. Anyway, loved your post.