Monday, August 07, 2006

Raising Men

August 2006

Meet my son.

When I found out I was going to have a son my whole life turned upside down. I was twenty years old and newly married, I wasn't even old enough to purchase alcohol but there I was contemplating what it meant to raise a son. I was scared to death! After all, what did I know about being a man? How could I possibly take this untrained, wild little boy that wasn't even housebroken yet and mold him into the man that I knew he needed to become?

Over the last ten years I've made some mistakes... Okay, a lot of them, but that's part of the process. The thing of it is, until I read the Queen's post today I hadn't really stopped to think about the importance of what I was doing. So once again, I thank her. For making me think. Go read her and then come back. I'll wait.

I have no daughter to raise, I have a son. But I am raising him to be the kind of man that you would want your daughter to marry, and hopefully in doing so, in some small way will change the world.

Let me tell you about him:

He respects women... hell, he doesn't have a choice... he's surrounded! He has been raised to understand that while men and women often have different strengths we are equally intelligent and should be valued equally.

He understands that putting the toilet seat down and holding the door open for the person behind you is just good manners... not a sign of inequality.

He is learning that sometimes the last thing you want to do is the first thing that you should do and that having integrity and honor means all of that and sometimes doing it when no one is looking. He is learning to work hard when alone as well as by my side. That women are strong, beautiful, and capable, and that those qualities should be celebrated in whatever form they happen to take.

He is learning to value all people, regardless of their economic status, religious beliefs, backgrounds, physical stature, or anything else.

He is learning that there is nothing wrong with crying when you're sad or angry and that it takes a strong person to be able to show weakness.

He is learning to treat women as ladies... even when they don't act like it. That there will always be women who will be willing to compromise their own and his integrity for a few cheap thrills or the notoriety that comes with them. But that the cost of those thrills is too high and the consequences too lasting to fathom.

He is learning to look at every woman as someone's mother, sister, daughter, friend, and that sometimes being a man means defending those weaker than yourself... Regardless of gender.

He is learning to stand up for what he believes in and not back away from a fight... No matter how scared he is inside. He is learning that sometimes the most important thing is not whether you win or lose but that you pick yourself up and keep trying.

He is learning that there is strength in walking away and in admitting that he was wrong.

He is learning that the way he feels about himself is a lot more important than the way he believes other people feel about him.

He is learning what it takes to be a man, one day at a time. One year at a time.

Maybe someday, if enough mother's and father's actively get involved and demand a higher standard for their children, videos and men like the Queen was griping about will be a thing of the past.

We can only hope.

2 Comments:

Blogger Queen of Spain said...

You're doing a hell of a job. Keep it up sweets.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Good for you....I had my son when I was 16 (and living on my own while trying to finish high school)....so hard. Sounds like you've done a great job!

2:25 PM  

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