Little Boy Hood and Big Foot

Yesterday I watched my ten year old son roll around on a snow covered trampoline. He was talking to his old Power Ranger action figures. I think he was pretending there were landmines in the snow. It seemed to me the Power Rangers kept stepping on explosives because he would throw them up in the air with a dramatic flair and their arms and legs would fly off.  He was playing.

It occurred to me as I watched the Power Rangers dying that “little boy hood” is just a tiny window. Around the age of three they go from babies to boys. And at age twelve they turn into “dudes”.

“Little boy hood” is when they play with fierce abandonment. They conquer worlds, create complex universes and like blowing everything up. They are different from little girls at this age because they are not so fascinated by the complicated gears of relationships and appearances. They just want to have fun, they run at trees thinking they can do a back flip, they jump on pogo sticks in the snow and crawl under porches looking for grubs and lizards.

During “little boy hood”  they still say one of my favorite phrases in the world, “Mom, come look at this!” Last night Sandor and his friend Kyle said this when they wanted to show me a you tube video of a real Big Foot in Arizona, when they figured out how to jump off the deck backwards and land cleanly on their feet and when Sandor thought he had a splinter in his foot. It turned out to be dirt.

My husband never says with sparkling excitement, “Diana come look at this.”

When my daughters say that, it’s because they want me to look at their make up or hair. But during “little boy hood” they are old enough to find amazing stuff and still young enough to want to share it with their old mom.

It only lasts for a little while, then it’s gone. So I’ve decided I’ll make an effort to jump at the opportunity when he says, “Mom come look at this!” What could I possibly be doing that’s more important? Watching CSI, doing the dishes, folding laundry? I want to share in his excitement and and discoveries while I can. And who know, maybe it’s the real Big Foot on Youtube!

Why That Boy Acts Like A Boy

I recently read a blog entitled “Why Our Sons Wear Pink”.  A mom explained why she encourages her sons to be sensitive and gentle. She thinks people like boys who are rough and jock like.  But I think things are going in the opposite direction.

 A lot of folks get mad because little boys act like little boys. They are too rough, too tough and too violent. And it’s not politically correct.

But boys are boys and girls are girls. We don’t get mad at little girls for being too “girly” . We don’t get mad at girls for wearing pink and taking care of their baby dolls. We don’t fuss at them for being too sweet or too nurturing.

But boys take a beating for being too aggressive and too violent, for pretending to shoot things and beat up dudes. I love it when my nine year old plays in his room, when he draws and listens to music. But i try to be patient when he’s a screaming, hollering crazy guy running around in the yard with his bb gun and jumping off the playhouse onto the trampoline with a foam sword.

 I’m the first parent to jump into a hot messy situation about a kid that’s a bully or too aggressive. When that happens I start calling parents and principals. I hang out on the playground. And I don’t let my kids play violent video games.

But boys and men were were made to be hunters and protectors. Girls were designed to take care of their young. Sometimes the boys have to take care of the babies and the girls have to go hunt down dinner, so a person who can do both is invaluable. But for the most part that’s how humans were designed. Seahorses and birds are different but we are humans. (I know I break the rules I’m reciting…I’ve been involved in Martial Arts for years and love boxing, but taking care of my kids is the most important thing I do.)

I agree we have to encourage our boys to be sensitive and compassionate. We must teach them to respect everybody, not just the alpha males.  Parents  need to encourage boys to appreciate the arts, music and literature. But as a society we need to stop blasting our boys for being boys. 

My oldest son, Jack is 24 years old.  When he was born I was a very tan hippie chick who hated guns.  I wouldn’t let Jack play with guns…ever.  So the boy turned everything, from Legos to bannanas, into a gun. My daughter, Mary, who is 16 months younger had absolutely no use or interest in guns.

Parents, this is on you, insist and encourage you boys be respectful and kind but don’t beat them up if they want to sword fight, wrestle, and hunt down bad guys. Let those boys be boys.

*Important Note: If your child is gay, understand God made him that way and love him just the way he is. If you’re child is mean or a bully make him stop and don’t make excuses. Don’t use the line “he’s just being a boy” if he’s actually an obnoxious punk.

Tell me what you think, comment or write to me! Thanks, diana