FFF#27–Pampering my boys.
When I was a younger mother of four, I had a close friend who had nine children (6 girls and 3 boys). We were talking one day and she said, “I think it is important to pamper the children, especially the boys.”
|When Sport was the baby (1998)|
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I didn’t necessarily disagree with her, but I also wasn’t sure I agreed with her. I mean, there is a point where you want your children to feel loved and special, but you also want them to learn how to work (and work hard) and how to discipline themselves. I wasn’t sure how the two concepts could go hand in hand. Now, however, I think I have found a balance. (Not that I will be able to explain it to you, but I’ll give it my best shot!)
This morning might be a prime example. I have two very high maintenance and demanding children who are currently the ‘book ends’ of our family. Even though one is an adult (23), he has spent the last four-ish years doing things that have been really difficult for him (college and mission). He also pushes himself beyond his abilities sometimes (a lot of times). He runs and runs and runs until he crashes. Over the last six months, he has crashed, though he did manage to finish college before he dropped. He has had multiple concussions and because he pushes himself so far, he has not healed properly. Right now, he is home recuperating. He needs consistent meals (we are talking six, not three) and sleep (sometimes 2 naps in the day, depending upon how his head is doing and what he did the day before).
Life is hard out there for those young men. They need a safe place where they can come home and relax and be cared for. They need to know they are loved. When they are little, they also need those things. Why?
What does it communicate to our little men to have them feel loved and pampered?
I think it ministers to the kind of men they become. If they experience life with safety and security, where their needs (physical, emotional, and spiritual) are met, they have a reference and understanding for how to treat others and engender in them similar feelings. They are more compassionate, more kind, more sensitive to the needs of others. Those are the kind of men we need more of in the world.
Now, I am not talking about ‘sissy’ men who are so pampered that they cannot be men and protect their families and work hard and fight in a war, if necessary. Slim is home recuperating, because life has been difficult and he is injured. He is capable of fighting the world and fighting it alone if necessary. I do not ‘quash’ the masculinity out of my men. On the contrary, I expect them to be hard workers, and have strength, tenacity, determination, and fight inside of them, and for the most part, they do. But I also want them to be capable of sensitivity to the needs and plights of others. I want them to be men with a heart.
So my examples this morning are two fold, one where two of my boys asked for something for breakfast that was important for them but required me to make two different things. Spike asked for pancakes for dinner last night and I told him I would make them for breakfast. Then at breakfast, before Spike was awake, Slim asked for muffins. I made them both.
Smiley, however, had a different morning experience. I asked him to empty the dishwasher (a five minute or less job) and he came in with an attitude and slammed the cupboards. I told him to go out, I would do it myself. Then I let him know it would be his job to wash all the dishes for the entire day even though he did them last night. Well, you probably shouldn’t have such a major attitude over such a minor issue, or as your mother, I am likely to find plenty of other, less pleasant things for you to be doing with your time.
|Ya’…you wanna have an attitude?|