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.