A well-meaning relative at my cousin’s wedding asked, “So, where does he get this whole cowboy boots and hat thing from?” and all I could think to answer was, “From… himself.” We live in Wisconsin and no one we know wears western wear. My husband is from Mexico but sticks to wearing ball caps and tennis shoes.
I think our son’s inspiration for this look is partly from hunting video games he plays with Papa. But what secret impulse causes our son to be completely sure of how he wants to dress? I have no idea, but I do know his conviction is strong and pure.
We had this hat brought back from Mexico with his uncle because our boy was making do with an ugly cardboard cowboy hat that I had managed to hot glue together for him. We picked the cowboy boots up at our local county fair after passing a booth that sold them. My son started fussing for me to get him a pair and I shushed him and hurried him past the booth. No WAY I was going to impulse buy a $60 pair of boots. But, our son broke down in inconsolable tears about how he’d been wanting a pair of boots like that his whole life. And after a heart-to-heart in front of the home-show building we headed back towards the booth. I knew this was a deep, soul-desire and not a passing fancy. He has worn them every day since.
I contrast his confidence with my own childhood and I have to admit I am mystified. I despaired as a child that I had no fashion sense, no clothes that I liked, and no idea what clothes I would buy if I did. I spent a good deal of my childhood in boys jeans and huge baggy t-shirts because I couldn’t think of anything better to wear.
It seems I must be doing something right as a parent, but I really don’t know what. Certainly I pat myself on the back for recognizing when his fashion impulses have been really important ones and in helping him to make them a reality. Specifically, in addition to the cowboy boots and hat, he usually wears green pants, almost always goes with long sleeve shirts, loves rainbows and has a deep need for flannel shirts and belts.
But, where does all his confidence come from? I was not a self-confident kid and I found my confidence through much hardship and work. How did I manage to help this little guy be so sure in presenting his rainbow pajamas and cowboy accessories as the fanciest outfit to wear to a wedding? Well, I don’t know how, but it is delightful to be a part of this amazing kid’s world. He did blanch for a minute when he saw every other man at the wedding was wearing more subdued colors and suits and ties. But, I told him his rainbows matched the bouquets and that he looked great. He tentatively agreed and then went back to having fun.
So, what advice do I have for you in raising a confident son?
Work through your own weaknesses, fears and issues. Heal yourself and your children will follow. He often surprises me by being plagued by an old fear of mine that I’ve worked through and gotten past. (Like ordering my own ice cream flavor from a shop.) But, then I know I’m the best person to help him work through it because I can empathize and provide tools for dealing with exactly this issue. By helping yourself heal, you heal your child and stop these karmic cycles from perpetuating.
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