Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Don't ask them to be men, when they're just little boys."

My 3 year old and I passed a daddy playing with his very young baby the other day. The sweet baby was cooing and laughing at his father who was eagerly entertaining him. My son looked up at me and said what I was thinking, "I wish we had our baby"- the baby that was in my tummy just a little over a month ago. It made my heart ache a little. A little for my loss and also for the beauty of my child's intuition. My kids really did get that I was expecting a wasn't just some abstract was a life that was fully welcome into our family the moment we knew I was pregnant.

"Nurturing" is not a typical trait expected from little boys. But my three sons have hearts the size of their birthplace (Texas)! I love that. It reminds me that I am still in a delicate part of their lives, teaching them lessons and helping nurture their emotions so that they not only grow up to be men of strength and valor, but men of insight into their heart with no stereotypical expectation of what that should look like based on their gender.  Trust me, I am not saying that boys aren't different than girls...if you know me at all, I am totally aware of the differences! But somewhere along the way, little boys were told they couldn't cry, couldn't show emotion, and shouldn't get their feelings hurt too easily. My three sons are very emotional creatures, and we do spend time "toughening" them up when necessary, but I don't want them to think that their feelings are ever in-valid. I don't ever want them to hide a "wounded spirit" (this is a term I recently remembered from Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson), because we have fallen into the lie of "macho-ism" and emotional stunting.
It has been a struggle to keep my perspective on this, especially with my oldest son. I so often hear myself saying, "how old are you?" in a flabbergasted tone when he acts up. He's only SEVEN! What am I thinking? I expect him to be more grown up than he is...but then when he comes to me with grown up questions, I expect him to revert to a naive child! The balance is so fine, but I found a great quote from Kathleen Parker (found in Dobson's book) that will help me keep my perspective:
"...let them [boys] cry if need be, support them when they're down, help them to see options...make reasonable demands, express moral expectations...[and] hug those boys every chance you get. Don't ask them to be men when they're just little boys, but show them how to be real men by demonstrating the thing we as a society seem to have lost: self-control."

1 comment:

  1. Wow I am teary for you my friend! I know from my own experience that the loss is so painful. Look how much love and empathy your children have. They are that way because of you! You are right that children should be young while they are young. I think in so many ways society today pushes children to gow up so fast and I simply don't agree. I am so sorry you had to relive this pain. I know it is a pain that does not subside though. My heart is with you!

    Mama Hen