We should parent our boys with an image in our minds of what we want them to be like at age 25. If you have a young son, many of his current qualities will serve him well at age 25: his kind heart, his witty humour, and his ability to play sports well.
But there are other qualities that won't go over too well in the life of a 25-year-old man: his inability to get his dirty clothes into the hamper instead of on the floor, his reluctance to do his chores instead of putting them off for "later," and his tendency to act before thinking.
If you're raising sons, let me share some very important etiquette life-lessons to teach him. How to express himself.
Talk to your son one on one. Engage him in conversations and help him put words to his feelings. My wise uncle put a list of banned phrases on his refrigerator when his son became a tight-lipped teen: "I don't know. I don't care. Whatever." These conversation-avoiding words were banished.
HOW TO WORK HARD
Being able to work hard isn't just good for our sons' futures in the working world, it's good for their self-esteem now. A job done well makes a boy feel capable. So give your son the opportunity to see a project through, on his own, from start to finish.
HOW TO BE A GOOD SPORT
Even the best athletes, the smartest students, and the cutest guys will all find themselves on the losing end of things eventually. Explain to your son what it means to handle wins and losses with humility and grace.
HOW TO CONTROL HIS TEMPER
Boys come by their combustive reputations honestly, their testosterone makes them more inclined to have anger issues. Start by teaching your son that, ultimately, he has to be the boss of his anger and his actions.
HOW TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS ACTIONS
Lay the groundwork for this lesson by teaching your son that actions and choices have consequences. Help him see that when he chooses to act a certain way, he must think ahead about what those actions will bring. Then, teach him that he must be ready to take responsibility for his actions.
HOW TO HELP OTHERS
Revive chivalry by teaching your boy to help without being asked. Encourage him to be on the lookout for those who might need his help. Praise him when he does open a door for an elderly person or he picks up something someone has dropped.
Ps. Part two will appear in next week's edition of The western Focus.