I have always had opinions of news and media since I am a teacher. I often think of my role as a motivator and guide to adolescent behavior, but it all changed when I became a parent. I can’t listen to news the same way, see bullying the same way or read articles of human behavior in the same light. I am constantly thinking, “What if that were my child?” “What if I was his/her parent?” The love I have for my son makes me a little more possessive and a lot more aware of his innocence and my role to protect him. I am sure every parent can relate. What used to be just hard to hear now becomes painfully disturbing.
I came across this Facebook article that has been shared by several of my friends. I have to say that I never considered half of these things as a girl living my life without kids, but now I consider them all as a parent to a future man…
20 Things a Mother Should Tell Her Son
(I have added my two cents in parentheses.)
1. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.
(Being on a team will give you the opportunity to think of someone more than yourself. I love the quote play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the name on the back.)
2. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don’t take something away from her that you can’t give back. (God discourages sexual immorality for no other reason then to protect you. I have had to learn from so many mistakes, but I will stop there.)
3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody’s got to clean that up, you know. (Learn how to clean a bathroom and you will never go potty the same.)
4. Save money when you’re young because you’re going to need it some day. (You never want to be so poor that you have to beg for food, but never so rich that you don’t appreciate the blessings.)
5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them. (Help mom clean the house and then help your future wife…cleaning is NOT a woman’s job!)
6. Pray and be a spiritual leader. (This is why you were created. Lead your family to know Jesus by modeling your relationship with Him. With much power comes much responsibility so be a leader worth following.)
7. Don’t ever be a bully and don’t ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself. (Yes, avoid it all cost, especially with gangs, guns and retaliation, but if you have to fight then fight to win. Also, defend others if called to step up especially those that cannot help themselves.) Side note: I dread the almost inevitable black eye from fighting.
8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you. (Words are powerful and wisdom is the best thing you can pray to receive.)
9. Treat women kindly. It is a long time to live alone and it’s even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts. (Consider every girl and woman as if she were your mother, grandmother or your cousin. How would you want others to treat these dear women in your life?)
10. Take pride in your appearance. (People will treat you in the manner that you present yourself. How do you want to be seen?)
11. Be strong and tender at the same time. (Grown men cry and great men know how to talk about their feelings and communicate!)
12. A woman can do everything that you can do. This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3 A.M. Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship. (AMEN! Keep your expectations realistic and be humble enough to serve others.)
13. “Yes ma’am” and “yes sir” still go a long way. (These words can change a conversation instantly.)
14. The reason that they’re called “private parts” is because they’re “private”. Please do not scratch them in public. (Ha! Try not to talk about them outside of the locker room.)
15. Peer pressure is a scary thing. Be a good leader and others will follow. (Choose your friends wisely. Bad company corrupts good character.)
16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea. (Loving others for no reason is always a good idea.)
17. Be patriotic. (Be willing to die for something bigger than yourself.)
18. Potty humor isn’t the only thing that’s humorous. (Don’t talk about nastiness in front of girls.)
19. Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren. (This makes me rethink my relationship with my mother in law. Now that I have a son I see the value in him having a good wife that wants a good relationship with me. I cry thinking of losing him forever to another girl, but will be grateful if someone will love him as much as I do and will take care of him the same or better than me all the days of his life.)
20. Remember to call your mother because I might be missing you. (I am crying now. I will be missing you. One call from you will change everything. You have that control to completely make a person’s day…raising you will always be one of the best decisions I ever made. Your mother loves you.)
I have added my commentary in parenthesis, but one more hit my mind as I watched a 20/20 news report of some teens being put on trial for the rape of girl. It was bad enough the boys so flippantly and carelessly took advantage of a girl; sadly, however, this did not shock me. We live in a world where hormones and sex controls peoples’ thinking. We lack self control and discipline in a society that says “Make me happy.” (Side note: the first reaction is to blame the parents, but those boys had a conscious. It surpassed I taught you better and landed into where is your heart?) No, what shocked me more in watching this was their lack of empathy toward their actions. The lack of empathy of everyone involved. They not only laughed at what they were doing…they were texting, tweeting, videoing and messaging others about it. They were documenting it for the world to see. Don’t tweet what you wish you could delete!
As a teacher I see this a lot. A disconnect of how others may feel in the situation. I will not get started on how everyone needs Jesus even though I feel it is hard to love others when you don’t understand what love is. But I think what it means to be human has been lost. It angers me these young men could abuse this girl, but it angers me just as much that no one tried to stop it. None of the witnesses (and there were many) did anything to slow this insane train of human indecency. I pray my son is the change he wants to see in this world.
My number one pet peeve working in schools is how students that report an incident or share what they saw become the snitch. Students will lie or refuse to speak in fear of being the snitch. I often tell kids,” Oh so you have morals to not tell on your friend, but you don’t mind that someone’s money was stolen?” “It is not okay to report the fight, but it is okay to beat someone down to the point that they are injured.” Maybe just maybe you should have encouraged your friend to stop the disrespectful act so there would be nothing to tell. Maybe the better idea is to live in a world where we don’t need to “snitch” because people choose to do the right thing. Maybe your friend should never have put you in that situation. Sadly, our moral compass says that all is okay as long as we don’t get caught.
If I were to add a number to the list above I would tell my son “To think of others before yourself.” When deciding whether or not to act, ask yourself what if that were me? “Live worthy of the calling” Instant messages are in fact instant and can never be taken back. Delete buttons do not delete everything. Use technology for the advancement of society and not to ruin it. Make your word your word. Do the right thing even if it is unpopular and finally “It takes courage to stand up and speak and courage to sit down and listen.” Be the son of God you were created to be and the rest will fall into place.
The good news is: I pray to have fifty plus years or more to teach all these lessons, but the greatest lesson I can leave is to live by example. Show him my love of the Lord and encourage him to develop his own relationship and live by faith. I hope he knows he was made with a purpose. Finally, to love, love and love some more. Love never fails.
Side, side note…all of this is from the perspective of a woman…I can only imagine what my husband would teach him! To be honest, I don’t want to know.