When the grossest body sounds are the coolest thing in your guys’ lives, how in the world can you be successful in raising gentlemen? It can be done! My husband can make the best farting noises and if he’s anywhere near you and you bend over, it’ll sound like you ‘dropped a greasy rose.’ My boys think that and root beer burps are ultimate family bonding times. I laugh just as loud as them, but there is a time and a place for everything.
For Valentine’s day, I helped out at Gremlin’s class party. I was walking down the hall toward his classroom when I saw this darling little girl with her hands full of books, papers, and a valentine box. She accidentally dropped her pencil bag and turned to the first person next to her asking if they would pick it up and put it on top of her pile. The kid she asked was a boy who never looked her in the eyes. He looked at the pencil bag, kicked it down the hall, and walked off grinning saying, “Oops!” The poor girl sighed, hugged her stuff close then picked it up. I tried to get to her to help her out, but it happened so fast and too far out of my reach. I saw that a teacher watched it all happen. She looked up at me and said, “Wow…what happened to chivalry?”
I was floored! I wanted to go all schoolmarm on him. I understand that kids tend to focus inward, but that wasn’t the case here. He was fully aware of the situation. He just didn’t care about the other person.
In no way am I on top of raising boys that could rock the 1700’s, but there are a few things that we made a priority in raising these guys:
We started teaching them at a very young age on being gentlemen. Little boys always want to please their momma’s so I used those times to enforce gentlemen-like behavior. They love praises so I would play “the lady” and they would practically blush. 😉
It is so hard for kids to think of others before themselves. Shoot, even adults can’t seem to get that right! With Oldman’s struggles, we turned it into a game. We would walk into a public location (like a restaurant or mall), and I would ask, “What is the temperature of the room?” Oldman would stop, look around and read the people around him. It taught him to pay attention to people’s facial reactions, body language, and fluctuation in voices. We played the game enough that he eventually started doing it to every room his walked into.
I do think the most important thing to teach boys is to have a servant’s heart. We have raised the boys to live by the example of Jesus – the ultimate man with a servant’s heart. A servant’s heart is tender and open. Boundaries can be taught as they go along, but it’s amazing the transformations that occur when your kiddo sees opportunities to serve others around them.
Whether we’re going through hormone changes (middle school nightmare) or teenage drama (junior high nightmare), it always comes back to the foundations taught from very early on. We just have more opportunities to build on that foundation.
This post can sound a little over the top with no hiccups, but we all know better than that. In Part II, I hope to start up a conversation around the battles surrounding these hopes and ideas.
What tips do you have on teaching your boys to be gentlemen?