Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Raising Boys

I have two boys. Two sweet, amazing, smart and wonderfully different little boys. And like most parents out there, I wonder how I'm doing raising them.

I wonder if they'll hate me when they're older. I wonder if they'll love me later and call home just to talk and see how I'm doing. I wonder how they will do in school. Will they do well in classes? Will they enjoy learning or will it be a chore? Will they have friends; true friends that have their backs? Will they be well liked? well-respected? Will they respect others? Will they be easy targets for bullies and ridicule?

I know that I won't know all these things for years and years. But I worry. I want them to be well-liked and respected. I want them to be kind, compassionate, smart and funny. I want them to feel loved and appreciated by their friends and classmates and also by their teachers and elders. I want them to have fun, and have no stress, no worries. I want them to develop good coping skills so that they can handle the maelstrom of emotions that is middle and high school. I want them to enjoy extra-curricular activities. I want them to have passion for something healthy for them.

I know everyone wants this for their children. Really who wants their kids to grow up being hated, rude, dumb and crass? But I feel so much stress about this raising boys. How do I raise a kind, sensitive boy who won't be mocked relentlessly later? How do I raise a tough boy who is not a bully? How do I raise a boy to have self-confidence but not arrogance? How do I raise a boy to have feelings but not be a sissy? How do I raise a boy to show be respectful, yet think freely, be an individual and also embrace differences of opinion? How do I teach them to trust but be skeptical? How will then know when it's ok to challenge and when it's appropriate to walk away? How do I know?

I know people raising girls have the same questions. But I feel so many things can be "explained away" by saying "oh she's just a girl." Like emotions, affection, manners. And I feel like it's ok to raise a girl to be tougher and not have her be labeled a bully later. I am not pulling the gender card lightly here either. There are still gender stereo-types. Yeah, say they don't exist, whatever. Hello, I'm a GIRL writing this. Yo.

I don't know. And not knowing sometimes freaks me out. The only thing I can do is love them and try to be a good example for them. God the pressure! I can give them bumper lanes to guide them and catch them. When do I take the bumpers off? I don't want to hinder them. I want them to grow and thrive. Thrive in love, life and happiness.

These boys of mine. I love them so.

Love will fly if held too lightly.
Love will die if held too tightly.
Lightly, tightly, how will I know
Whether I'm holding or letting love go.


averygoodyear August 5, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

I so feel for you. I think we've both got a big challenge in front of us w/raising kids, but I agree that raising a son seems difficult. Because no matter how you look at it, there ARE gender inequalities, and there ARE expectations of each gender.

I wish I had something more coherent or helpful to offer.

Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 1:43 PM  

I think all of those same things. I just try to use each individual opportunity that comes up to teach him the right way. I wish I had some insightful, all knowing answer, but I don't think there is one. We just have to do our absolute best, so that they can too.

Ange August 6, 2009 at 11:07 PM  

This is so beautiful, my friend. You tied up my thoughts in a sweet little bow!

Maria Melee August 16, 2009 at 2:08 PM  

Ahhhh. So much.