This father says there are important lessons each of us should consider teaching our boys to develop into confident men.
When I was a child, I remember building forts in the woods, going fishing, keeping a watch for gators on our boating expedition, and getting into trouble. I did what boys do. Now, we live in a society that, if we are not careful, will teach our boys to be passive. For that matter, society is teaching our kids, both genders, to be passive.
So how can we influence our boys to be men? How can we live as an example to our kids, so they have a proper role model? How do we show our daughters what a healthy relationship looks like, so they have a standard for when they are older?
Here are five lessons dads should consider teaching their boys, on their journey to becoming men.
Kids want to always be on the go. My two boys always want to get into something. My youngest asks nearly every single day, especially during the summer, “Dad, Mom, what are we going to do fun today?” I could honestly tell him, “Son, we are going to hunt for dinosaurs!” and he would not care. My daughter wants to hibernate in her room and away from everyone. Maybe she gets this trait from me, however, we should show our kids it is healthy to be active. Go camping, fishing, take a trip to the beach, or just get away. Get them involved in sports or extra-curricular activities.
Boys are naturally adventurous. They are full of energy. I have been guilty of trying to tame that adventurous spirit and energy in them. Our job as dads is not to tame the wild spirits of our boys; rather it is to teach them how to handle this energy. We are supposed to teach them how to respond to it and the healthy way of living adventurous. Otherwise, they will have to learn the hard way as they get older.
This one sounds lame. However, we want our kids to come and talk to us about anything at any time. With an epidemic of teenage suicides in our country, having an outlet they can vent to and communicate with is paramount for our kids.
Kids are going to mess up. When they become teenagers, they are going to mess up. Kids are not perfect, just like parents are not perfect. However, as dads, we should balance the force of punishment (or consequence) with the negative actions of our kids. We must learn to be forgiving, explain why the behavior was negative and move on.
I am not referring to being supportive of bad, or unhealthy behavior. What I mean by “Be Supportive” is listen to their dreams. Kids have dreams. Good dads’ help their children navigate their lives in such a way to achieve their dreams, or be in such as position to achieve their dreams.
Being supportive of our children can be challenging at times. We can teach our boys to be supportive of their spouses, friends, future employees, and future kids, by showing our support to them. We may not agree with the direction they are taking in life. However, we should show our support to them. After all, they are our kids.
When I went to work in local government, I made the decision mainly based on the retirement benefits provided, and, the sense of security. After about three years of working, it did not take long to realize our economy was suffering, thus the retirement system I was in suffered.
I quickly learned the need to tap into my creative, entrepreneurial spirit. Each of us is created with this ability if we will search for it. We should teach our kids to be entrepreneurial. You may see early signs of this trait in your kids, if so, nurture it, train them, and teach them the proper ways to develop.
It is a given our society builds followers. If you are different, you will likely face criticism. We should teach our kids, through our behavior, to be unique. How can we be unique? It depends on where you live. Being unique for me meant pursuing dreams. It is forbidden in these parts. I suppose I am a rebel of sorts. Teaching our kids to be unique will set them free from the perceived need to fit in.
Often, kids will suffer from various forms of mental health issues due to the fact they are always dealing with the need to “fit in”. I want my kids to know leaders are unique. They are trailblazers. Leaders don’t always follow the crowd, and leaders are unique.
Photo: Flickr/ Gwenael Piaser