6.22.2006

Raising Boys

As Boo gets older, I'm definitely realizing the full responsibilities of raising a son in today's society. There is pretend play and there is what some people perceive to be violent play; there is teaching sensitivity to the world and its inhabitants while also teaching caution, strength and self-protection; there is teaching safety and kindness and also learning to let go and allow for self-teachings of these principles.

If you haven't figured this out already from any of my previous posts, I am immensely in love with my son. Mothers of sons get this - it is such an intense feeling of love, protection and responsibility as a woman to raise a "good" son. My son, I know, is also in love with me. I definitely get more of the hugs, the snuggles, the kisses, and the kinder, gentler play than daddy does.

As I see his personality emerging, I am questioning every other value that I have as a person because I know more than ever, it will affect his view on the world and help him shape his own values. I fear I am giving in to societal conditioning if we buy him too many trucks and trains, and I am already dreading the later years - "which sport does your son play?" Well, what if my son doesn't want to play a sport? "Why is your son wearing pink?" Well then, what if pink is his favorite color? His father and I have no problem letting him be who he is and letting him discover himself in safe ways, but we realize not all of this society is so accepting. He's just a boy, and I don't think boys can become men until they are truly comfortable with themselves.

Right now, he's just all kid, with a nice mix of soft and rough in him. The hitting, the throwing, the banging and the loud play are also tempered so nicely by long afternoons appreciating nature; he loves trees (hooray!) and flowers, appreciates the beauty of individual rocks and blades of grass. Yesterday he was mesmorized by a sea of small purple flowers and he picked one, and wanted to give it to his daddy. So we placed it in a glass with water ("flower drink!" as Boo says), and set it on the table for his papa to find when he got home while we were at his music class.

Music...Boo is still completely in love with all things musical - dancing, singing, rythm of any kind, clapping, making instruments. We spend about 90% of our time at home singing and dancing. He orders us around like a little drill sargeant "Dance, mommy!" or "Clap, daddy!" I hope he never loses this connection with the beauty of music. I am also realizing that some of the banging he does really is music to him (although sometimes it is just "I'm so mad at you train, I'm going to hit you hard on the table!"...ugh)

Poetry...Boo is in love with words, the rythm of certain verses, the music he hears them make in his ears as we read them out loud together. We spend at least a full hour every day reading books, poetry, anything (he likes me to read from the grammar book in my office sometimes!). I can see the stories spark imagination in his head, and I hope he will always have an imaginative spark in him.

Tenderness...Boo exhibits extreme tenderness with those he loves, in both human form, animal form and character form. He feeds his stuffed animals and plastic toy animals, tucks them gently into bed, dances with them, and shows them great things he's found ("see the pretty flower, zebra?").

Yes, he loves trucks and trains and cars. He loves to bang things and make loud noises. I love seeing this mix of soft and rough with him. I know as he gets older, he'll find out all too well what this society sees as masculine and feminine, but I hope that we as his parents can help instill values of self-worth, strength and confidence in himself to be who he is and to ignore those labels. I realize now that we are really just his guide, showing him things along the way, but the path he takes in the end is all his own - we want him to walk it with pride and happiness.

4 comments:

~Cathy~ said...

You are making me want a boy more than ever... :) Boo sounds like a wonderful kid!

Stumble It!
Nicole said...

I'm lucky enough to have one boy and one girl. It helps to not just focus on "boy" toys or "girl" toys. Each of mine plays with trucks, cars, tools, baby dolls, and dress-up clothes. I like to think my daughter is teaching my son about his "feminie side."

It sounds like Boo is a great, well-rounded little one.

Stumble It!
Stacy said...

Good for you for trying to instill in your son all of the things that make boys into men.

Stumble It!
chichimama said...

It sounds like you are doing a great job, and you have a great kid! I hope he never loses the love of music...

Stumble It!