I read a letter on a favorite website the other day that has really stuck with me. It was from a mom who has a son that has hit the dreaded teenage years. She shared her frustration about how he has gone from being her sweet boy to this person she doesn’t know what to do with. He’s not involved in drugs or anything illegal or dangerous, but the hormones have kicked in (as has his mouth) and she was at a loss.
The point of her letter was not to whine or complain about her son, but to praise her husband. You see, her husband recognized she had hit her parenting breaking point and as the “mom”, her time as “primary parent” was over. I’m paraphrasing here, but basically he said to her, “You had him for the first 10 years, I get him for the next 10.”
She got to teach him how to be a little boy, he was going to teach him how to be a Man. Capital M. The first lesson came when he popped off in some mouthy teenage way to his mom and the dad got right in his face and quite sternly said to his son, “You will not talk to my wife that way.”
That is what has really stuck with me. The dad truly changed the boy’s perspective with that one phrase. I’ve written about how the thought of raising a son is slightly overwhelming to me. And I can’t tell if this letter helps that or not. On one hand, it gives me some insight to the mind of a guy. On the other, I realize that at some point, I will not have the insight to be of any help.
You see, with The Swimmy (or any girl), I can anticipate what the social issues will be and respond accordingly. I get how a girl thinks. But I cannot teach a boy to be a man.
I’ve seen how few “Men” (capital M) there are out there. And I’ve seen how that has affected their children. Every time I turn around there is another 20 year old Boy (capital B) who can’t take responsibility for anything, pretends to have a direction in life, doesn’t want to work hard, expects his mommy and daddy to fix his problems and because they do, isn’t prepared to take care of his future wife and family. (And, make no mistake, it is a man’s job to do that and it doesn’t mean women are helpless.)
Well, not my son. Not on my watch. I may not be able to teach him how to be a man, but I damn sure can teach him about the role of women in his life. Mothers, sisters, and wives. ‘Cause any of those issues mentioned above? Ain’t gonna fly with any Woman (capital W) in his life. Only Girls put up with that shit.
And there ain’t no Girls in this house, son.