I don’t think it’s ever too early to start grooming little boys into kind-hearted, well-intentioned men. In fact, I would argue that you MUST start early. So, here is the checklist that I’m working from right now…please feel free to add to it…I can use all the help I can get…
1. Pick up after yourself.
“Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up…everybody do your share…” is a song that my oldest learned when he started preschool, and has since seemed to have forgotten now that he’s almost 5. But my 20-month old, who hasn’t been exposed to this song yet, has shown a sudden interest in putting his toys away, so I’m jumping on that bandwagon with a suitcase and a forwarding address.
He claps his hands each time he puts a toy away – which is something I hope his future wife finds endearing and not-at-all strange. The best part is that my oldest has started putting his share of toys away, too – not to be outdone by his younger bro. Sweet.
(Disclaimer: Talk to me a month from now and this entire scenario will probably be a distant memory.)
2. Mind your manners.
Phrases like “excuse me” go a long way in forgiving involuntary (or, in most cases, voluntary) bodily functions. My oldest may think it’s hysterical when he burps or farts, but by god, he excuses himself every time he does, and it just makes the whole situation a bit less unpleasant.
Others that make my list include “thank you”, “please”, and “god bless you” because, if you ask me, we’re just not a civilized society without these simple, courteous phrases.
3. Eat what is put in front of you.
Ok, this one is a real work in progress, probably the most challenging on my list. Rarely is there a night that both kids will eat what I’m making for me and my husband. And my oldest will willingly go hungry before being coerced into trying something he claims he doesn’t like. “You’re not getting anything else to eat tonight, so don’t ask” is flippantly met with “That’s ok, I’m good.” And don’t you know, there have been too many nights to count that the little bugger stays true to his word. I’m still trying to come up with clever ways to expand both of their palates and the foods they will allow to grace their plates – any suggestions on this are most welcome.
A sub-bullet that goes hand-in-hand with this point is “Learn how to cook”, because who doesn’t love a man who can cook? Hot diggety – after a long, hard day, walking through the door to incredible smells coming from the kitchen – that’s some good stuff right there, and I will score major points for giving these boys the tools they need to do just that.
4. Talk about your feelings.
I will go down in the Mother-in-Law Hall of Fame if I can master this one. So when something goes wrong in their day, I encourage them to talk about their feelings. I know it’s very “Dr. Phil” of me, but I think it’s important to encourage open communication about their feelings. Along with this, I ask them about their day on the drive home from school or at the dinner table (on the off-chance I am successful at getting everyone around it). I often get a blank stare or “nothing” response when I ask “what did you do today?”. So I’ve gotten wise and now I ask the question like this instead, “what was the best part of your day?” This generates a more useful response for carrying on a conversation that lasts longer than a minute.
5. Always treat the ladies with love and respect.
I think this one is the easiest and I think I have it nailed. I shower them daily (heck, sometimes hourly) with affection and in return, I get big hugs and kisses (often unexpectedly) throughout the day. I know I’m doing this one right – no question about it – and I am sure that will count for something with the ladies who steal their hearts from me some day.
Last 5 posts by MoltoMom
- On the cusp of 3… - October 13th, 2008
- The Trick of the Treat - October 20th, 2008
- Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid - November 4th, 2008
- Judging the Caffeine - November 13th, 2008
- The Birth of a Three Year Old - November 21st, 2008