With all the stuff that’s been going on and stories of tragedy hitting so close to home, it’s no surprise my five-year old has picked up on my stress and sadness. Often throughout the last few days he has come up to me and asked with all the sincerity he could muster Mom what’s wrong? Why are you so sad and crying all the time?
For the record I don’t openly sit there sobbing in front of my kids but I also don’t ever want to feel the need to hide my emotions. I want them to see that its ok to cry and get those feelings out, that crying because you are sad for other people’s loss is a good thing as it shows sympathy and compassion.
During one of our conversations I tried my hardest to explain it to Noah without freaking him out. I also wanted to tell him as directly as I could in a way that makes him aware of the severity of the topic at hand.
I said this Mommy is crying because there are some really horrible and wicked people in this world who do some really horrible things to others. I let him think for a moment before carrying on I’m crying now because there is a mommy out there who went to bed last night without her little girl and she will never see her again because someone hurt her and she died. I waited and saw his eyes grow big trying to make sense of it all. Oh He said so she has gone to heaven? Will her mom see her there one day?
I loved his response, because while I could see he felt some concern and worry, he was mainly concerned with where she is now. We have taught our children about God and Jesus, this is what we believe and this is often the ONLY thing that brings us comfort in times like this. So even if that small tiny little bit of doubt sneaks in, I know I would much rather believe in something than believe in nothing. Believing in nothing doesn’t offer me hope or promise, it’s an empty dead-end with nowhere to go.
But the most important thing about having this conversation with my 5-year-old child was realising more than ever the overwhelming responsibility we have as his parents to raise him to become a good man. The weight of this responsibility felt so heavy on my heart as it hit me : It falls on his dad and I. We are raising a someone’s future husband and hopefully a few little people s future dad. (the thought is enough to put me in a flat spin but humor me )
I realized our conversation had only just begun and that I needed to start having these chats with him now. So I asked him to sit next to me while I tied his shoe laces this morning. Remember what we spoke about yesterday, about why mommy was so sad? He nodded and looked at me to see if I was still crying.
Are you kind to the girls in your class? He looked at me like I was mad and screamed Yes mom I’m kind to everyone!
I smiled and said That’s amazing my boy it s so so important to be kind because kindness is what makes people happy and it’s the cornerstone to treating each other well. Kindness is especially important when it comes to girls. Sometimes boys need to be extra kind to girls. They are softer, more fragile and more vulnerable because they not as strong or as fast. So its easy for boys to hurt girls.
He listened very intently and nodded while I explained what cornerstone meant. (Don’t you love it? )
I reminded him that even though he is young, he must start acting like a kind gentlemen now with the girls in his life so that one day he will be a grown up gentleman like his dad. He chuckled at this (So did I to be honest).
But it made me think of the very things I want to teach my sons when it comes to theopposite sex and how I need to start nurturing these expectations right away. I realised that at his age it s very important to talk about the specifics and be open about the exact things he should be doing.
So here are 8 things we will be working on. (I say working on because I get that he is still so young so I can’t go getting all GI Jane on him right away. I want to print them and put them behind his door so that we can come back to them every so often and see how he is doing. A reminder if you if you will.
- Always greet a girl and give her a warm hug if she likes hugs.
- If a girl needs a chair, find her one, or better yet, give her yours.
- If someone is being rude to a girl in the classroom or on the playground, stand up for her and tell that person to leave her alone. Don’t ever let someone hurt a girl and let them get away with it. This will come in handy in high school.
- Be gentle with girls and when they tell you to stop, STOP!
- Respect a girls space and don’t interfere with her belongings. Girls can be private and particular about their stuff. Just leave it alone unless she wants to show you.
- Talk nicely to girls and don’t shout or be angry towards them. Even if they are rude to you, rather walk away. ALWAYS HAVE GOOD MANNERS!
- Compliment a girl by telling her she is pretty or that you like her hair. Whatever you do, always make a girl feel special and like a princess.
- Always think about how daddy treats mommy. Treat a girl like that.
For the moms of boys, what else would you add here? Please help me before I finalise this list to print. Feel free to make a copy for your sons too! After all we are raising little men who we all hope to become the world’s greatest gentlemen.