Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’

Lessons My Son has Taught Me

Posted by Thomas on November 9, 2011

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As a young father I had no idea what a rites of passage for young boys was. I did know, on some unrealized level of myself, that I needed to be focused in training my son to fully embrace responsible adult manhood even though there are so many poor examples of wholesome manhood in the world (at times I have been that poor example!).

What I didn’t fully realize however is that while I was seeking to leave a wholesome legacy for my son he too has left a legacy in me.

I guess when you become a parent your baby is so vulnerable and needs you for everything that it never enters your mind that one day that baby will teach you.

Here are a few things my son has taught me (intentional or unintentional it doesn’t matter—they are lessons I learned because of him).

My son taught me the importance of recognizing how important you are in your circle of influence. 2009 was an important year in my life. I had been very connected and involved in our congregation but stepped away. My son spoke to me about it and helped me realize how many people my decisions had affected and were affecting negatively.

My son taught me how to lighten up. For the most part I’m a serious dude and although he can be serious I believe his predominant side is jovial and silly and light (he gets it from his mother).

My son taught me that education comes in all shapes, sizes, and from a myriad of places.

My son taught me how important it is for every caring adult that is concerned about young people to model wholesome behavior; because like it or not they (young people) watch every move we (adults) make.

My son taught me the importance of leading a tribe when a need exists. He didn’t see what he had accomplished but he, on his own without adult blessings, began mentoring and training boys younger than himself at our congregation.

My son taught me that not all teenage boys stop hugging their moms and dads. If I was home when he arrived from school he would stop and kiss me on my head every time.

As parents we teach our children so much. As parents let us be open-minded to the lessons our children teach us. We are never so grown up that we can’t learn from a child.

Peace,

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Do You Have Your Child on a Pedestal?

Posted by Thomas on November 1, 2011

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I recently had separate conversations with two colleagues. We were talking about our children. Both said (a father and a mother) “Oh no, she’s much smarter than I was at that age.” They made me think about my son. I remember him telling me once “Pop, you think more highly of me than you ought to. Stop putting me on a pedestal.” 

As we continued talking his point was simple: “Hey, I’m not perfect.” The caution that came out of that conversation was, for me as a parent, don’t be disappointed if (or when) your child doesn’t live up to your expectations. 

I think it’s hard to not place our children on pedestals. They are our hope and legacies in so many ways. But, as parents, we must find balance. 

We cannot project so much of what we want for them to the point of stifling their interests, personality, and creativity. At some magical mile-marker on the road of parenthood we must shift into the guiding mode and not the telling mode; stepping slightly aside, enough to allow them to blossom into their excellent self. 

Even with that understanding I believe our children will always be on pedestals in our hearts and minds. I think it comes with the territory of parenthood. As long as we temper our thoughts with the reality that they, as young adults, are their own person all is well. 

Today my son leaves for the U.S. Coast Guard. Today I have him on the tallest pedestal of all. 

Peace,

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