I have two sons (12 and 10) and raising them into men must be intentional and not based upon cultural myths (I’ll handle myths later). Much is written about the complex physiology of boys (chemistry and anatomy), but what are the basics, or the indispensables to get him from boyhood to manhood without false masculinity or feminization?
Every year, I read at least three resources dedicated to understanding, leading and raising men. One particularly, The Wonder of Boys, Michael Gurian recalls the Boy Scout saying: “Boys need to know the objective, know the rules, and know who’s in charge.” More elements are necessary, but these are fundamental to just about every setting. I apply them to my sons just about wherever we go.
Know objectives: From the playground to the dinner table, the ballfields to the classroom and everything in between, a boy needs to know the core purpose of his time there. For example, if you’re at the playground, tell your boy that the next hour is about playing with creativity and respect. Describe what both values mean and calibrate his actions to them.
When he’s older, and his wife wants him to go shopping, she’d serve them both well by saying, “Our objective today is to find a dress for the party. I need you to give me advise on fit, color and style. We want to accomplish this in less than 3-hours.” He will be fully enrolled then; otherwise, if the objectives are vague or unclear, then he gets lost quickly.
I will comment on knowing the rules and who’s in charge in part two and three.