Thursday, April 29, 2010

Boys to Men — CMB Post

This was originally posted on the now defunct Chicago Moms Blog.

Not long ago, I wrote a kind of tongue-in-cheek post about how boys and girls are innately different and that there's not much we can do about it. While I stand by my premise (as far as it goes), I'm a little concerned that my meticulous research (conducted over 20 years as a stepmom and mom) could be used to justify more adult-oriented "boys will be boys" shenanigans.

Let me state for the record that just because I have documented that boys are likely to find great humor in bodily emissions and enjoy making car noises, it does not mean that they should grow up to be lying, cheating a$$h@!#s.

I don't know Tiger Woods, Jesse James, John Edwards or Charlie Sheen (read Darryle Pollack's hysterical post called "Bad Taste Meets the Final Four" for a great wrap up). Nor do I know Sandra Bullock, Elin Woods, Elizabeth Edwards, or Brooke Mueller, though as a woman I feel their pain. While millions of other women experience similar betrayals every year, I can't even imagine having to struggle through it as it is played out in the media.

As a mom, my question is this: how do I raise my boys to be good men — trustworthy, honest, caring partners worthy of the title mensch? What can I say or do to help them make good decisions, even when tempted? How can I instill in them a sense righteousness in honoring the women in their lives?

These are not idle questions. My sweet boys are turning into young men right before my eyes. My husband's first son is getting married this summer, our oldest is graduating from high school in June, and the "little" boys … well, as middle schoolers, they're not so little any more, and the boy-girl texting has already begun.

I know that my influence is diminishing by the day, and that the influence of their peers and the media is growing. I've certainly never pointed to athletes or celebrities or (heaven forbid) politicians as role models for my children. I also know there's only so much I can do or say.

So I'll just say this to my future daughters-in-law or significant others of my sons: I tried.

And boys, if you are reading this, please do not grow up to be lying, cheating a$$h@!#s. It would break your mama's heart.

This is an original Chicago Moms Blog post. When Susan isn't busy teaching her boys that mensches hold the door open for others and put their dirty clothes in the hamper, she can be found writing at Two Kinds of People, twittering @2KoP and freelancing at

1 comment:

Susan Bearman said...

Comments reposted here from the original Chicago Moms Blog post:

Darryle Pollack said...
Susan, first of all thanks for the shout-out. This was a huge issue for me in raising a boy--I was worried that all my reminders to respect women would get drowned out by the lyrics of hip hop and rap music--often demeaning to women.
I'd guess that your consciousness of this in the way you raise a boy does sink into his consciousness--as you teach and model respect for moms, sisters, teachers, and other women in their lives. There are no guarantees, but my son is 21 now--and he's definitely a mensch.

April 29, 2010 at 03:54 PM

Susan @ 2KoP said in reply to Darryle Pollack...
I'd like to meet your son, Darryle, but I can't say I'm surprised he turned out well.

April 29, 2010 at 04:00 PM