A Few Things Raising Boys Has Taught Me

I love my boys. Don’t get me wrong, they are as normal and flawed as any other kid out there. In spite of all that, they are amazing, fascinating, crazy beasts, and they have all of my heart.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I grew up with a sister.  I knew the world of girls intimately before becoming a mother. The world of boys, a strange foreign land with what appeared to be no rule book. We were delighted when we had our first son and again when we had our second. It was good. Right from the start the dynamic of their relationship was the source of much laughter and enjoyment. They are amazing guys.

They are as different from one another as any two kids could be. My favorite example of this is when I had a couple of bar stools that I needed to put together. My oldest asked me what was in the boxes and I was inspired. I told him that I needed them to put the bar stools together, they could start as soon as they were ready for school. They got ready in record time, ripped through their boxes and got started, one took everything out, looked at the picture and got to work, the other opened up the instructions and identified each piece and got to work. It was so fun for me to observe them, it turned into a friendly competition of who could finish the job first and they had fun teasing each other.  For the record my youngest finished first. This was an excellent victory for him. My oldest handled the defeat with his typical good nature, with a teasing tone and twinkle in his eye said, “yeah, but mine is better!”. They are identical bar stools.

Venturing into the world of boys has taught me a few things, things I am glad to know. Raising these boys has enriched my life and made me a better person. It is a real privilege to be the mother of sons. Here are a few of the things I have learned.

 1. There is so much I don’t know. From finding things in my home that I didn’t know were there, to having to learn the function and name of every fascinating piece of machinery we encountered whether large or small to the tough questions they ask. For example, “What does the inside of a toaster look like anyway?”

 2. Anything can become a contact sport, including tooth brushing! This may result in holes in the wall that match the size of your children.  Don’t worry, those moments make great stories in the end; however, if the consequence is not adequate, it may happen again, and maybe even again.

 3. Just because something was made for a specific purpose does not limit it’s uses.  I was the Mom on the playground getting dirty looks from all the other Mom’s. My boys were constantly challenging themselves physically and using equipment in non-traditional ways.  By the time I looked up from putting my gloves away, my boys could be in precarious situations, which brings me to my next point.

 4. If you stay calm everything is usually going to be okay, the last thing you want to do is gasp so that they stiffen and fall from where ever they are. If you stay relaxed, they do too.

 5. If they have gotten into a pickle, they deserve the chance to get themselves out of that pickle. I never intervene until I am asked for help.  Learning that they can not always undo what they have done teaches them foresight and what their limits are.

 6. They feel and care deeply. Their acts of compassion, forgiveness and love will melt your heart.

 7. Instructions are always open to interpretation and loop holes.  I have learned to be extremely specific.

 8. They learn best when they are allowed to move and release their energy.  Making them sit still will cause their brains to shut down.

 9. Success is making someone laugh. The clever use of humour is a worthy goal.

10. Buttons are fascinating. The buttons on your computer and television, as well as the “buttons” that get a reaction.  Consequences are worth it, if only you can make someone laugh or scream.

11. The body can make a myriad of different noises and all of them are funny, no matter how old the boys are. How can you not laugh when they dissolve into giggles when an inappropriate noise is inserted into an appropriate place in a conversation? They just wear you down over the years. However, there are effective strategies that teach socially appropriate behaviour and in due course, they will eventually become gentlemen.

12. They are born with the heart of a hero. They are usually content to let a girl handle herself until a line has been crossed. If that line is crossed, look out!  They will intervene to protect even if it means taking on a full grown man when they are only four years of age. Justice is important and if they find someone in a situation that is unfair, they will get involved no matter what the consequence.

This list is by no means exhaustive.  Raising boys has, and continues to be a grand adventure! It is an overwhelming task to care for and nurture the heart of a child who will become a man.  It is an incredible responsibility to celebrate their strengths and develop their weaknesses.  It is sobering when I think these boys will be responsible to love, care for, provide and lead a wife and family of their own one day. I am so honoured to be the mother of these two amazing sons.

I cherish the lessons my boys have taught me, I have much more to learn from these two creative souls. In the heart of my boys, I see the echo of their Maker.

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