Thursday, March 17, 2011

The men they grow up to be.

I've had a sudden interest in all things "Parenting". Not that I'm just now interested IN parenting, especially since I have a 7 year old and another arriving in just a matter of a couple of months! I mean an interest in clearly defining my role in my child's life. We have a 7 year old son and another boy on the way, so to say I'll be surrounded by testosterone is an understatement. I've found myself not just concerned about their childhood but the type of men they will grow up to be. Kid #1 (how we now describe our oldest); is a complete open book and can hold no secrets, has a strong imagination and a flare for the dramatics. We've also noticed that he does not hesitate in serving as the "moral police" to those around him whether he knows them or not. Most recently, we had to talk with him about using the word "fat". He wasn't using it intentionally to be hurtful but he WAS using it to describe people. Of course, I talked with him about how that word can be a hurtful word and advised that he not use it so freely. As any child would, he then blanketed my correction to every usage of the word "fat". While at the zoo, he overheard another kid describe one of the Koi fish in the pond as a "fat fish" and the next thing I know, he looks at the boy in his most sincere, admonishing facial expression and said, "Ok, so that word you used just now, you know that "fat word"... well, that's not a good word to use." To avoid any further awkwardness, we decided our view of the Koi pond was over and it was time to move on. We then had to add an addendum to the previous talk about the word's usage and remind Kid #1 as we often do, that he's not the moral police for all and please worry about HIS actions and words. We also added that fish could not hear the verbal description of themselves and are void of all feelings about their appearance.

For me, this was an example that we are bent (especially as Christians) to teach our children, just right and wrong and some times only stress the importance of the surface level of the spiritual soul. I realize the usage of the word spiritual soul and the above story may not seem to match but allow me to indulge in one other example. We've never watched the show "Toddlers and Tiaras" but if you watch Cable television you can't avoid little blurbs and commercials about it which is ENOUGH for me. After one blurb, I looked at Kid #1 and strongly encouraged him to stay away from little girls who are demanding such as the little girls on TV, hoping that this statement alone would somehow instill a lifelong jewel of wisdom. After a second though, I realized that probably wasn't enough and it would take a few years of guidance in the home as well. I also then thought of how much he thinks of me (I'm still the coolest girl he knows for now) and how much he wants to be like his Dad and immediately followed it up with an example of one of the reasons I think his Dad is so cool. My husband has the ability of seeing the ENTIRE person and I described how he can see someone who is incredibly beautiful in appearance and match it with the person they are. If that person is hurtful, sneaky, demanding or just plain mean then they are automatically ugly to him. I am daily impressed by this attribute because it really is true; he can find the most beautiful of women disgusting. THIS example was what seemed to have the biggest impact.

I find myself not relating too well with some parents because they are so concerned about their child hanging out with the wrong crowd and finding a good Christian influence. Do not misunderstand, I pray my children find an encouraging group of friends, but I'm concerned sometimes we teach our children to make snap decisions based on the basic evils of drinking, cursing, smoking and sexual promiscuousness and not grasping the fact that those behaviors can be an evidence of deeper issues in life that need to be addressed. Let's also teach our children that arrogance, manipulation and thoughtlessness of another's feelings is a lifestyle that can damage that inner spiritual soul. Why not lead by example of high levels of honesty and moral integrity? When this is successfully incorporated into my household, I will feel a bit better about the Men my Sons will grow up to be. I'm sure we have woeful days of teenager-hood to look forward to and I may wonder why my sanity (and theirs) have disappeared, but they've been given to us and are our gift and responsibility. It's a role not for the faint of heart, but it's one that has great rewards.

No comments:

Post a Comment