Friday, November 12, 2010

Raising a Man

Today I read two beautifully written pieces about raising children and boys in this world.  All the time I look into my son's pool-blue eyes and wonder what kind of man he will become.  Will he be as kind-hearted as his dad?  Will he have his uncle's senses of humor?  Will he have my love of the outdoors? Will he have compassion, kindness, hope, happiness? One of the things I so love about mothering is watching all of his many layers develop and open through time.  I can now see how he will be a big-hearted soul...he is so loving as a three-year old boy, and has an innate sense of how to comfort those who are sad.  I think that (and his giggles) is my favorite quality about him at this age. 

But I also worry.  How do I arm this man-child for life in the big, bad world?  How do I provide him with the skills needed to be a good partner, parent, citizen?  There is a plethora of information available for parenting girls.  How to arm them with "girl-power."  Don't misunderstand me-I love that.  I love that I see girl-power in my students all the time.  But I still want to raise a man who can be a wonderful human, and I don't know if there has been much thought given to this.  The article I read on The Daily Beast today confirmed my worries.  I think so many parents are in the same predicament that we are-and there just are not resources dedicated to helping out boys.  I know...they've dominated the world for years.  I'm not looking to raise a neanderthal here.  But a happy medium.  The kind of man I can look at and burst with pride because of his sheer goodness.  It isn't easy. 

On Girl's Gone Child  today Rebecca Woolf wrote about arming our kids so that they feel ready to take on the world.  I think she nailed it. So I will continue to nurture my son's big heart; but I will also work towards giving him the knowledge that he is a beautiful, wonderful human that we all cannot possibly imagine our lives without.  And when I tell him that he's loved, he remembers all the kisses, hugs, and words we've shared through the years and feels it.

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