I have five boys in this house and from the time they were little, they’ve been on a mission. The mission of becoming a man. (I feel as if I should grunt after saying that like they did in that old sitcom, Home Improvement) Just this morning, my four year old reminded me that someday soon, he will be a man.
I don’t think we’ve been pushing this man idea upon them. I’m perfectly content to let them be little for as long as possible. They grow up fast enough as it is.
Rites of passage
There’s the little things that obviously entice them toward manhood. Watching with fascination while Dad smears white foam on his face and then proceeds to shave it off is an endorsement for being a man that no little boy can resist. Dad’s warnings of the tedious nature of this seemly exciting morning ritual, falls on deaf ears until somewhere around high school or college when reality sets in.
And then of course, there’s the first time a little boy joins the ranks of men when his hockey or baseball team requires a certain level of protection in specialized areas. What little guy can resist testing to see if he is truly protected? Another level of manliness reached.
Doting on Mom
But what I find interesting is that my boys at a very young age, seem to have a natural instinct to protect and to provide. Not having girls, I can’t pretend to know how this would differ from them. But from the time they could talk, my boys felt compelled to align themselves with Dad, differentiating themselves as “the men” while viewing Mom as the female who needed to be handled a little tenderly. Doesn’t matter that I’m 30 years older than they are and still being called to help them in the bathroom.
Don’t get me wrong; my boys know who the heavy hand is around here. Mom definitely hands down the harsher punishments and is stubborn as the day is long. Don’t bother trying to win an argument with Mom or pull a fast one over on her, she doesn’t back down easily. But despite all that, poor Steve doesn’t stand a chance around here when we disagree about something because guaranteed one of the five will tell Dad, “Be nice to Mom!”
Not invited to the party
This past week, we had a wind storm like I’ve never seen before. We had two trees and a grain bin fall down, narrowly missing the house and barns. Clean up is the plan for the weekend. But apparently I’m not invited to the party. “Dad needs me (Levi) and Owen and the big boys. We’re gonna ride on the tractor and use big saws. It’s soooo dangerous. You shouldn’t come outside, Mom.” I’m not really sure what I’ve done to deserve the maiden in distress image my four year old has of me, but if I milk it a little longer, it just might get me out of clean up on Saturday!
But unfortunately, my plans for a quiet afternoon with tea and a book were foiled when moments later he added, “After you clean the house, you can make us a big lunch. ‘Cuz we will be hungry!”
Hmm…Levi may think he has his ‘man’ role figured out, but he sure seems to think he has my ‘woman’ role figured out too!!