I’m battling a culture that wants my little boy to experience shallow relationships and think the world revolves around him. It’s a battle I’m fighting with everything I’ve got. He’s precious to me – and so are the girls who will be in his life.
My son is 9-years-old, and he still thinks it’s fun to hang out with me. He hugs. He cuddles. When a friend called him a mama’s boy, my son responded with, “I’m sorry your mom doesn’t love you as much as mine loves me.” He then punched his buddy in the arm.
Someday, he will find another woman who will become the love of his life. He’s already showing signs that he’s interested in girls, but there is so much I want him to understand before he invests his time and emotions in them.
- It’s important to have girl friends. A female friend can provide him with a perspective his buddies can’t give. He can be himself without worrying about trying to impress her. He can run interference on guys who are not good for her, and she can do the same for him with girls. I have a guy friend from my youth that I am still very close to today. The thought of dating each other was insane to both of us because he viewed me as his little sister and he was the older brother I always wanted. He gave me a drama-free and highly entertaining friendship I could have never gotten from girls, and I gave him a non-competitive and emotion-rich break from all the testosterone. I want my son to experience that kind of friendship.
- There is no battle between the sexes. I really hate to see boys versus girls competitions. By their very nature, these contests make one sex a winner and the other a loser. It’s not fair to do that to our sons – or our daughters. I want my son to know he’s not in a competition. There is no such thing as gender superiority. No sex is better than the other; they are simply different. I want my son to appreciate those differences.
- Always stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. My son is a warrior. He is a big muscular boy who is a tackling terror on the football field. He also has a big heart. A boy in his class once kicked a baby bird. My son charged after him with a loud, “I’m gonna show you what it feels like to be that baby bird.” Another boy bullied a child with developmental disabilities, and my warrior punched him. He says he wants to be a police officer or a Navy SEAL because, “I want to protect people from the bad guys.”I want him to keep that protective spirit. I am horrified by the recent news stories about teen punks who sexually assault incapacitated girls. They see nothing wrong with their actions and celebrate the activity on social media. The only remorse they feel is the disappointment of being caught and punished for their deeds.I want my son to be the one who will watch over these girls. The one who physically takes them out of harm’s way. The one who is big enough, strong enough and moral enough to put these punks in their place. That’s what I want for my son.
- You have been raised to be a gentleman. Wait on a lady. A few years ago, a group of moms in my neighborhood got together to address a problem. A group of overly aggressive girls was calling their sons, showing up on doorsteps, sending provocative photos and inviting the boys to the playground after school to make-out. The kids were in fifth grade. Some folks may laugh about the situation, think “I wish there were girls like that when I was in fifth grade,” or even congratulate the young girls for embracing their sexuality. The boys are not blameless in this situation, and I’m sure some initiated and enjoyed the attention. As a mom, I find all of this horribly sad. It’s very sad these girls felt the only way to gain male interest was to aggressively pursue it with sexual overtures, and these boys felt it was okay to act on it. It’s sad so many parents didn’t notice or didn’t care what was happening.I want my son to wait on a lady, a young woman who doesn’t compromise herself to gain male affirmation. It’s going to be tough on him because his hormones will be saying one thing, and I pray his brain says something else. When he was in first grade, a girl called him “sexy.” Apparently, he’d heard me talk about the importance of being a lady to his sister, because he told the girl, “Ladies don’t call boys “sexy.” I don’t like girls who aren’t ladies.” Dear God, please help him remember that. I really want him to remember that.
- Fall in love with the heart and mind, not the appearance. My son had his first crush last year. As we were cuddled up on the couch, he told me about the girl. “She’s nice and smart and funny,” he said. While other boys his age were talking about girls’ “hotness,” my son was talking about the heart. I want my son to always see the heart first, to fall in love with a girl because of her kindness and thoughtfulness rather than lust after her because of her looks. I don’t ever want him to call a girl “ugly” or say hurtful things about her height, weight, face, hair, skin or anything else that has no relevance to character.
These lessons are not going to be easy. Culture is working against me, and my son is not perfect. He will slip-up, and I know I will be disappointed by some of his future choices. When that time comes, I will pray that he takes ownership of his mistakes, seeks forgiveness and works to make things right. I’ve got a little more time to be the most influential woman in his world. I owe it to the next generation of women to make that influence count. He is precious to me, and they are, too.
Post originally ran during the spring of 2013, prior to the blog’s viral phase