Monday, February 7, 2011

Be a Man, Reprise

If I could teach a boy to be a man, I'd tell him to play football. Or take up theater. I hope he'd learn that neither measures the man.

I'd tell him his mother may have read his mind when he was eight, but it was an easy guess that he felt sad after losing his soccer game. Mature men must communicate their feelings and needs--with mature words.

I'd advise him that sending flowers is always, always good. Sending them for no reason at all? Even better. And when he calls the florist, he should be sure to remember his mom.

I'd explain that being a father requires that he discipline. And also that he hug. Real men know the appropriate time for each and that the two actions are not mutually exclusive.

I would tell him to compromise when he should and apologize when he's wrong. Being a man does not mean command and control. Nor does it mean blind surrender.

I'd suggest that it's all hunky-dory if she cooks and he mows the lawn, but that defined roles only work if both partners embrace them. I'd add that raising children is a tag-team sport, even if she happens to be a stay-at-home mom. I'd remind him, softly, that his six-year-old son won't be there for bedtime stories forever.

I'd warn him that being a hard worker is an asset, but caring about nothing but his career will just make him an ass.

I would ask him to call his mother--and his father--more often. Mothers may be more vocal about it, but fathers miss their grown children too.

I'd let him know that it's OK to cry if his favorite pet dies. Tears won't make him less manly, only more human.

I would tell him he's free to ignore anyone's advice or opinion. But a real man takes the time to listen before he disagrees.

And if he disagrees with me, I hope I'm woman enough to admit if I am wrong.

If you could teach a boy to be a man, what would you tell him?


  1. Downith: Thanks! I'm full of all kinds of advice. Good judgment regarding my own decisions? Not so much.

  2. Yes, excellent, well written advice. I have a 24 year old son and it's amazing to see where I, the world and Dad have influenced him.

  3. I LOVE this. I'd tell him that women will rule the world one day so be kind, respectful and always remember that they are whole people not objects for your amusement no matter what it looks like on the internet and TV.


  4. Deb: Yes, watching your children evolve is thrilling, gratifying and frightening all at once. As their mothers, I think we should take credit for all their positive attributes and blame the negatives on someone else...

    Bobbi: Exactly. You sure have to wonder how young people's attitudes and beliefs are affected by the ever present influences of media and entertainment. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This was pretty heavy for my Wednesday ready SSS, But highly valuable. We teach Brady to be nice to girls, to not pick his nose and that Amanda is always the boss. It seems to work in our house and hopefully it will make him a better man someday. When he gets older we may have to change what we teach him.

    BTW - I love the new you.

  6. I had to come back because I just remembered one. Do not buy bouquets of carnations for Valentine's Day.

  7. Amanda and Deb: You both make good points. How about we suggest, "On Valentine's Day, pick roses over carnations, and never ever pick your nose."

  8. Love this. I tell my boys that, while women are perfectly capable of doing for themselves, a real man takes responsibility for the people around him.

  9. This is so good. I'd also tell him that it's okay to say you don't know. No one knows everything.

    P.S. I love the photo of the watermelon eaters on the sidebar!

  10. this is golden stuff!! I'd tell it's okay to feel your feelings, whatever they are.

  11. Glasseye: Yes, I think responsibility (for many things in one's life) is one of the most important qualities of all.

    Lisa: Except mothers, right?

    Paul: Amen.

    All these great additions! I might have to revise the post...