The kid has better style than me...
I recently ran across a link on Pinterest called 25 Rules for Mothers of Sons. It's a beautiful list, and I want to share some of her points here.
1. Teach him the words for how he feels. The author makes the point that teaching children to identify emotions now helps them name feelings as adults. This is true, but I think teaching our sons about emotions serves another purpose as well. Boys are often taught to "suck it up," and "be tough." Women often complain that men are emotionally unavailable. Correlation? I think so. By teaching Eamon to identify and express his emotions, I hope to make a man who can feel good about having emotions, and feel free to express those emotions.
4. Read to him and read with him. Our house is filled with books. I've always loved that Chris is an avid reader, and the first time I saw his mom read to Eamon, I knew exactly how he became that way. Even at only a year old, Eamon brings us books and asks us to read. We always make time to do so, and never tell him to wait when it comes to sharing a book. We make family trips to the library, and often all three pile into bed at night with a book each.
5. Encourage him to dance. Eamon dances joyfully, and it always makes me smile. It makes me want to dance. And it makes me sad to think about the day when he will become embarrassed about moving his body. PS - Want to see a great video of Eamon dancing?
9. Teach him to have manners. All people should have good manners. We ask Eamon nicely, we use "please" and "thank you" with him and with each other. We try to model the behavior we want to see.
11. Teach him that there are times when you need to be gentle. Today, Eamon held a two month old baby in his arms. It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen, and he was so careful and gentle with her.
14. Go outside with him. This is such a wonderful piece of advice. Eamon can spend hours just wandering around our yard, chasing chickens, picking up sticks, and exploring nature.
15. Let him lose. One of the biggest disadvantages we can give our children is to give them every advantage. Too many people come to adulthood without knowing true disappointment. Like the old timers say, "It builds character."
18. Answer him when he asks, "Why?" This applies on so many levels. As parents, we should always answer our children honestly. They don't need every detail, but answer the question they ask. It's important to help children learn how to find answers, too. I Google everything, and I think it's because as a child, when I asked a question, my parents would say, "Go look it up in the encyclopedia." I learned to research, and I'm a researcher to this day.
20. Let his dad teach him how to do things. This is a no-brainer in our house, since Chris has so many wonderful skills that I couldn't begin to teach. But aside from talents and hobbies, it's important for both parents to share in the wisdom-imparting. It's hard sometimes for me to give up control, but when I watch Chris help Eamon master a new skill, it's heartwarming to see them bond over a singular goal.
24. Kiss him. Refer to point #1. Boys who are raised in affectionate homes grow into affectionate men, which is good for future spouses and children. Eamon gives the sweetest kisses you've ever gotten.
25. Be home base. It's so important to provide a consistent, trustworthy base for your child. Eamon feels good about roaming because he knows we will always be around when he needs us. We respond to his needs, but we don't hover over him all the time. Now that he's so mobile, he's very independent, but will ask for help or a hug when it's needed.
Check out the whole list here. It's very insightful.