A good friend used to always remind me I am raising “men” and not “boys” when it comes to child-rearing. It’s a good way to think about your actions as a parent. My own two boys have become accustomed to hear this saying all of the time. They will groan “Yes, mom you want us to be fine, hard-working, gentlemen who love Jesus and care about others.” This is usually accompanied with a signature eye-rolling.
One of the biggest parenting issues I am having lately with my “gentlemen”is empathy and compassion. I know, by nature, most kids are selfish, always putting themselves first, human beings. I just am wondering when does that change? And if I don’t start really putting the hammer down on it now, will they grow up to be selfish, always putting themselves first, grown ups?
These are the things I lay away worrying about at night.
Yesterday, I came upon an article about teaching empathy to boys. It listed different suggestions such as buying your kid a doll to take care of. Eli actually had a baby doll (OK he had a couple) when he was little. He’s 8 now and I’m not sure he would be too keen on that at this stage in his life. Actually he will probably make me delete this post once he reads it. The article also suggested reading to your boys and opening their eyes to other people and problems of the world. Obviously, reading teacher mom liked that one.
I was sad the article didn’t mention taking your children to church. I’m pretty sure that’s up there at number 1 when it comes to teaching empathy and compassion to your kiddos. From learning bible stories about empathy, to singing songs about compassion to learning about Christian service, church is a one stop shop in teaching important character traits to your children. After all, the person they are learning to become more like is Jesus right? Who can top that?
Brady did show positive signs last night when he said his bedtime prayer. He asked God to remind him that this was not his world and to remember always that it was God’s world. Now I will be honest and tell you it was after a thirty minute breakdown about whether or not he was getting both a bow and a laptop for his birthday. He is still a work in progress. He will have his slips and falls like the rest of us. I’m just hoping somewhere, deep down, he’s starting to store away what he’s learning in little pieces for when he is actually a grownup. Then hopefully, God willing, all of what he has learned will come together, molding him into the “fine, Jesus loving gentleman” his Mother always wanted him to be.
Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,