Please forgive some of the following pictures. They were taken with a cell phone. However, what I want you to notice is the intense concentration on Brendan’s face and the curiosity on Caiden’s. This picture was taken two years ago. It perfectly captures the natural curiosity of boys.
Boys are quite simple to please. Give them a mound of dirt or …
some water to splash in and their life is complete. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to accomplish this, either.
Do you see that smile!?
A couple dollars at the local gas station for a little Styrofoam cup full of blood worms will entertain them for hours (or until the worms die, anyway).
Where am I going with this? Quite frankly, I am taking a stand on what it means to “Raise Men.” I rarely take a stand on things on my blog. I’d rather not get into a pissing contest with someone who may not share my viewpoint. I am, this time.
To raise a man means to let him start by being a boy. What is a boy, though?
- loves dirt
- loves animals
- is messy
- is rarely still
- is rough
- wants to be a super hero – forever
- wants their dad to be Superman
- is exhausting
- is a daredevil
- is fun
There is so much more I could add to the list. However, that’s a great list to start from. Not only do they love dirt, they don’t mind being dirty. When Brendan was small, he did not like his hands dirty. As he develops his boyish personality, he is starting to love the idea of being as messy as possible. Not as messy as Caiden, of course, but he does hold his own with his brother!
“Every man was once a boy. And every little has dreams, big dreams, dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress.”
That’s the opening description of a book called “Wild at Heart.” In this book, it discusses how boys need to be boys in order to grow into healthy men. Letting a boy play “Cops and Robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians” is a part of the natural order of growing up. If we didn’t have little boys that grew into men that knew how to protect and provide, where would we be as a people? It was the men who figured out they could kill an animal and eat it for sustenance.
We’ve all heard the comment about the caveman who nailed his chosen mate on the head with a club so he could drag her back to his cave. In all reality, isn’t it a bit hard to go home with a man that can’t take care of himself? If we see that he can’t feed himself, clothe himself, keep himself clean to some degree, are we more or less likely to take him as a mate? If we find someone who earns a living, brings home the proverbial bacon and can, to a certain extent, protect us, doesn’t that trigger our woman’s heart much quicker?
Think Superman versus Spongebob. Which would you rather take home? The man or the boy in a diaper?
A quick search showed this:
“In a Rut – Breeding Season Behaviors in Deer
“There are several behaviors associated with the rut. Rutting behavior typically begins around the time that velvet is shed from the antlers (coinciding with decreasing day length and increasing testosterone levels) and ends when antlers are shed (coinciding with declining testosterone levels). The first sign of rutting behavior is often sparring among bucks. Sparring may take place between bucks of equal stature or between a dominant and subordinate buck. Initially, these are usually short-lived, low intensity, pushing and shoving matches. These sparring matches may help establish the dominance hierarchy among males. As the peak of the breeding season approaches, sparring matches may give way to full-blown antler fights. These generally take place between bucks of similar hierarchical status.”
What is my point in sharing this? Simple! We want a man who played as a boy and learned what it is to be a man – a provider, a hunter and gatherer, someone who can beat back the masses that might threaten us and our family.
Remember this picture? Caiden was pretending to work on a plane (his bed was the F-14 Tomcat). He is learning how to take care of things. Fixing and making sure they work right. He was very intent on his task.
This progressed to helping Matthew fix our car. When we were driving through the bumps on Bishop Mountain, we broke the tabs that hold the bottom plastic on the car. This plastic keeps most of the rocks and dust from getting into the sensitive areas of the car. Caiden and Brendan showed Matthew what was wrong and then helped him fix it up. Part of growing up. Learning. Taking care of their own property.
Caiden again. This time, he’s learning how to run the grill. In my house, I do not run the grill. First, I’m scared witless of the loud *whoosh* when you light it. Secondly, that’s the man’s job. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone and cook on the grill. If I wanted to, I would. It’s not my job, though! Let the men do that. It’s outdoor work. It’s part of their providing for the family.
How about this picture? Brendan was trying to be “just like daddy” and eat the entire piece of watermelon. He did and he was no worse for his efforts. It’s part of being a boy and growing up. My job is to try and minimize the damage of whatever they may try to do and get into. That’s all.
The last time we went to Yellowstone, my boys were fascinated looking for the badger in his hole. Brendan even decided he was going to climb in there and find him. Of course, as a mother, I stopped him. I used my status as mother to teach him it might not be a good idea to make a badger angry – they have sharp claws.
Did I stop him from being curious? Nope. I let them stare into the hole for awhile, hoping to see the badger without making him angry.
“What a disgusting thing to let your child do! That is the trash can!”
So? It’s our trash. We put it in there. Chances are, it was emptied the night before and there isn’t much left. My son is attempting to impress his mother with how strong he is. He can carry the trash can! Why would I rip him down and force him to not show off? He’s like a deer in rut, proving his manhood.
He’s still a little young to understand but that’s exactly what he is doing when he does this. He’s a boy growing into a man. It’ll be a few years yet before he gets there, of course. My job is to help him get there.
A few weeks back, a friend and I were talking. Mostly, we were talking about my petrifying fear of my children getting hurt on a play set. Be it swings, slides or a jungle gym, I could not (would not) watch them play. They get too rough. They enjoy being too much of a daredevil. Rational or irrational, I couldn’t do it. I usually leave the back yard or send Jen with them to the park so they could play as boys without scaring years off my life.
This day, the day of the picture above, I went home and watched them being crazy on the swings as long as I could stand it. They did not get hurt that day. It doesn’t stop my fear but it did make me realize – I have to let them do the boyish things as much as I can. Otherwise, I might raise up some petrified wimpy men.
When I was younger, one of my brothers did find a tree he could climb and tried it. He did fall out of the tree, and, according to my parents, hit every branch on the way down. He didn’t die. He didn’t snap his neck. He didn’t break any bones. I’m quite sure he was sore for awhile. My parents let him be a boy. Eventually, my son will find a tree he can climb and he will climb it. I have to let him. I have to hope (and trust in God) that my boy will emerge from that future experience unscathed.
Play between boys develops teamwork. A log they have no business trying to move but they are working together. Teamwork skills developing. Just like when they play act they are cops with their little toy guns, chasing the imaginary bad guys through the yard (or the woods of Bishop Mountain). Yes. I have purchased little toy guns for them. They are children of military parents and offspring of a family of hunters (on both sides). They will handle weapons when they get older. Let them play and learn (mostly safe) ways of doing so at this young age.
A great example for my babies is Batman. Have you ever seen Batman kill anyone? No. He arrests them and throws them in jail. When they play, I stress shooting them in the leg and arresting them. Not killing.
Goofy, silly boys. But, boys they are.
Shooting each other with the water hose, trying to drown each other.
Playing “keep away” with Matthew. Tagging him on the butt (spanking him, really) and running before they get caught. Part of boy play. If you want to get psychological with it, it helps with sneaking, teamwork, quickness and thinking ahead (how to get away).
My son running up to the ladies of Virginia City to tell them that they are “beautiful.”
My boys. Soon to be men. Hopefully, men to be proud of. Not bored with a “calm, safe” life but full of life and enjoying everything it has to offer – while still being a man in regards to women and children. All body parts intact and knowing how to play and have fun without going too far.
That’s my 2cp (as we used to say in EverQuest).
A couple good articles:
The following quote can be found here. I agree completely!
“In my opinion, the basic problem we have in marriages today is a feminine disdain for masculinity and a refusal of males to rise to the occasion and act like strong men, not “wussies” afraid of their women. We need them to embrace honor, duty, valor and integrity. Instead we have at least two generations of boys raised to be male-looking girls.”