Friday, September 17, 2010

Nurturing the Masculine

Tears of joy
A question from Muthering Heights has got me thinking.  She asked, "How do you nuture your son's boyness?"  Like Jessica of Muthering Heights, I have one boy and 3 girls.  My son, Andy, is the second child.  He's surrounded by girls.  When his youngest sister was born, he cried as his dad gave him the news: "You have a baby sister".  He went off in the corner, alone, and cried.  He wanted a brother so badly!  Then he met his new sister and his tears of disappointment became tears of joy.  He loves that little girl so much!  Still, the problem remains:  How do I nurture my son's masculinity in a house overrun with girls? 

A girl, peaceful and quiet...
When he was a baby and a toddler, I didn't really do anything special to nurture his masculinity except buy him cute boy clothes and boy toys.  Learning to buy boy toys was challenging in itself because, to me, they all look the same.  When he was 2-years-old, he used to carry a Dora purse and wear Mardi Gras beads. (I looked everywhere for a picture of this, but couldn't find one.)   He played whatever his sisters were playing.  Mostly he was the dog or the prince or the pirate to his princess sisters.  As he's gotten older, his masculine interests have evolved and become apparent.  As a little boy, cars, pirates and dirt were his interests.  As a not-quite-6-year-old, his interests these days are hockey, video games and dirt as well as playing with other boys, which is challenging because our neighborhood is lousy with little girls.
until tackled by her brother.
How do I nurture his masculinity? I don't know.  I suppose I do it the same as I nurture the girls femininity.  I teach him about respect for his body, to use good manners, to play fair, to be kind.  I enroll him in sports and make him play outside as much as possible.  He's still little, only now in Kindergarten.  There will be more nurturing and more smelly boy things that I've not yet encountered or even imagined.  In his young life, I've already made mistakes in this area and undoubtedly there will be more mistakes made.  Boys are different than girls and it only gets more pronounced the older they get.  Sometimes he makes me crazy with his boyness, but mostly I'm happy for a different perspective.  My girls are girly, not prissy, just girly.  Having hockey pucks and guns mixed in among the ribbons and dolls is refreshing. 

If this isn't masculine, I don't know what is.
My husband is a wonderful role model for him. Andy copies everything his dad does.  Lately he's taken to wearing undershirts at all times and then sleeping in that and pajama bottoms, just like his dad.   Kevin loves it! I know Kevin will probably shoulder the brunt of teaching our boy to be a man.  What do I know about being a man?  All I know are the qualities I like in a man: a loving heart for God, kindness, generosity, strength and faithfulness.  When I think about it, that is all I need to know.


  1. Mary, you are the best.

  2. You need to learn how to burp your ABC's!! LOL! haha...and have a pizza pou pou night where you get to use potty talk at the dinner table! It rocks! LOL! You're doing a fabulous job and all your kids are absolutely amazing!

  3. Poor Andy,but that's the story of my life to this day I'm the only male in my house even my dog is a girl. Well it sounds like he's on the right track can't go wrong with sports, video games,and dirt. Don't forget what goes along with dirt,dirt bike.Andy will have no problem though because his dad is a dude and dude's don't have to be told about dude things like sports,video games,and dirt. Dudes just get it.

  4. As long as you let him be the boy he naturally wants to be that will be enough. I do think for mothers that means stepping out of the feminine comfort zone occasionally.

  5. I've wondered about fellows who are the only boy in the family and have a bunch of sisters. Of course, I suppose the same priciple applies for a girl living in a house full of brothers! How to nurture her femininity?

    Sounds like you're doing the right thing and that you're a bold mother! Interesting post. :-)


  6. Hah! I have all boys, and boys are quite a different animal! Bless his heart! He will be able to relate to women all his life - what a blessing!
    You can come read my take on boys at my blog, if you want! I did a series in July about it!

    Christine at Deep in the Heart

  7. Your kids are adorable!

  8. The hand of God is ever present in our lives and will guide and direct us if we are open to His grace. I just know that the Blessed Mother Mary is always there to help,as well,with what we are lacking in every need. My beautiful son
    is a gift from God. He is caring, loving, joyful, prayerful and loves God and the Blessed Mother. I feel very honored to have
    a son among my five extremely precious girls.

  9. Amen! My husband was the middle child--two older sisters and two younger sisters. When we were blessed with our fourth child, we prayed and prayed for a brother for our son Noah, who has two older sisters. We were indeed blessed with another boy, Isaiah. Still, Isaiah is three to Noah's six, and so their ideas of fun, wrestling, light sabers, and who hit who for what reason is very different. We enrolled Noah in soccer, he's excited to be in kindergarten, and lucky for him, he has two older sisters who really love bugs and dirty stuff (along with their baby dolls, their ribbons, and their crayons).

    But back to one boy among girls: my husband turned out REALLY well. It doesn't matter whether a child is the only girl or the only boy. It matters how their parents raise them. Sounds like you are right on track: you raise your boy according to what you know a man ought to be! :)


"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." ~Colossians 4:6 (NASB)