Monday, May 14, 2012
Young man, what do you want to be?
What do I mean?
We asked ourselves what we want for these boys when they grow into men and leave our home. Like most parents (I assume), we want them to feel fulfilled and we want them to be prepared for their future roles as MEN. Those roles may be husband, father, priest or laymen. How do we approach the preparation for those roles?
In the last few years, we’ve begun increasing Classic Rock’s life skills set. We’ve included him on home maintenance repairs, from plumbing adjustments to exterior house repairs. We’ve included him (appropriately) on fiscal discussions so that he better understands mortgages, loans, credit, and the like. To ensure self-reliance, he’s learned the proper methods of laundry, house cleaning, and cooking. He’s been able to put a full meal on the table for years. We intend to teach our daughters these same skills, as we know it’s important for them to be self-reliant.
We often discuss with Classic Rock, through real-life stories, that the mark of a man is not his conquests, powerful position or money, but rather his seemingly effortless ability to handle his responsibilities. He should be able to care for those entrusted to him. He must be able to deal with difficulty and do so in a manner that exudes confidence. Recently, a substitute teacher became violently ill during a class. Classic Rock was the only student confident enough to brave being in the hallway without a pass to find the appropriate administrators. He instructed the remainder of the class to file into the hallway and stand waiting quietly until further instructed by the assistant principal. The assistant principal later told me that she was awed by his effortless handling of the situation.
We’ve learned that a sense of humor goes a long way in diffusing tensions or lightening a mood and we are passing that kernel of knowledge to the boys. Classic Rock is already excellent at quoting movies or song lyrics that fit a situation. One favorite is “you can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes….you get what you need.” He’s learning how to stop a two-year old’s fit through redirection of attention – and he’s learning that the same principle works on adults.
Mr. Neoclassic is an Eagle Scout and has long believed that the skill set acquired through gaining one’s Eagle Scout rank will serve an adult male throughout his life. We encouraged the boys to stick with Scouts and found a local troop that provides an excellent rank advancement program. Many successful (by our own definition) men are involved with the troop and provide wonderful, positive role models. The boys are learning how to handle responsibility for their peers, become confident in their abilities and work through interpersonal relationships.
We know that driving and high school (which he starts in the fall) will bring new sets of challenges for our parenting. We will continue to research, pray (a lot), and talk with friends. We are blessed to have parents that share their own wisdoms of child rearing in humorous ways, and we have several friends whose journeys with their boys are a few years ahead of ours. We have role models of our own for the parenting road.
Please make sure to check out Cocoa’s post on young women. Her parenting road is longer than ours because her girls are older, but she understands the power of good humor!