Boys. How in the world did I end up living in a house of boys?!? (minus Sally, our dog, obviously) I come from a line of single female children. So, when those ultrasounds both clearly showed *signs* of boys, I was shocked. I think I even let out an expletive and shed a few tears. Now, on this side of their arrivals, I can’t imagine our lives to be different. God must have known that I’d be the perfect sappy mom for brothers.
Having taught fourth grade for ten years, I grew to have a secret fondness for the unruly boys. I never wanted to admit it, but they were the ones whose antics and shenanigans, whose quotes and insights, and whose approach to life spoke to me. After Alex’s personality started emerging around 10 months, I looked at Matt and remember saying, “oh, no….”. We had surmised that we’d produced another laid back, mellow, jokester, similar to Matt’s personality. Then Mr. Taurus started emerging.
Despite the fact that Alex started to display signs of stubborn independence, underneath it all, we saw and continue to witness, equal amounts of heart-melting love. The way he tenderly loves on his brother (I say “on” because it’s quite a physical love!); how he constantly is saying, “oh, poor THEM!” when sad things happen in front of him or in a movie; or the ability he has to hear a mood and express it when listening to music.
Matt and I try to put words to this part of his actions and psyche and name it for him on a regular basis. So much so that I keep hearing myself come out of his mouth, “Mommy, give me a high five! I am so proud of you. You did such a GOOD job!”
We watched the movie “Raising Cain: Boys in Focus” last night. Michael Thompson, a child psychologist who hosts the PBS special, ends the movie by saying, that it is our job to teach boys that “emotional courage is true courage.” He concludes that it is our job is to help them learn that lesson well. I’m realizing that teaching this lesson is a 24/7 job. There’s not just one activity or word to be said that will teach the value of emotional courage in one fell swoop. Any tips out there? How do you teach emotional courage to boys? What are the gifts of parenting and working with boys that you’ve discovered?
Look forward to hearing your insights. As for me, I’m off to play with some Hot Wheels.
p.s. And gotta love this…a month dedicated to boys!