Boys 2 Men

 When I gave birth to my first child, a boy, I was clueless and unprepared. I didn’t know anything about raising a man. Truth be told, I still don’t. But I was comfortable in the fact that his father was so excited about having a son. He would talk for hours about the different things he would teach him. How he would be a better father than the one that he had. It was endearing, it was sweet; it made me love him that much more.

Three years later, I had another. Paranoia times two! I truly had no idea what I was doing. I was young, lost and felt unsupported. What I realized after their father and I went our separate ways, was regardless of how I felt, I had an obligation to my children. I had no idea that I would grow up to raise my children as a single parent, like so many women it was not my plan. How was I going to raise two boys into men? They didn’t ask to be here, nor did they ask to be brought up in a single parent home. That was all me and their fathers doing.

Where I think some of us women fall short, is the fact that we expect men to raise themselves. We put so much energy into our daughters, how to act, speak and carry themselves. We just kind of leave the “man stuff”, to the men. But what if there is no man to teach the “man stuff”? How can you teach a boy to be a man when you’re not one? I figured even though the relationship didn’t work; their father would still play an active role in their lives. That hasn’t always been the case. I’m still hoping that will change.

I have a theory about young men today and although you may not agree, I’m still going to share it. I think the problem with most of the men today especially ones born in single parent homes, are the mothers. There I said it. And before you send out the mob hear me out. As women we are emotional creatures, we are passionate, strong willed and sometimes determined- to be right. We tell our sons men don’t cry and not to show emotions like fear, hurt or pain.

So many young men today carry female traits and ways and don’t even realize it. If you think for a second that your sons are not paying attention, you are mistaken. When you are raising a man in a household with nothing but women, he is learning by what he sees. Yes he learns to be nurturing, respectful and caring. But he will see women who argue and gossip, disrespect themselves and each other. How can a young man learn to respect woman, when he sees them disrespect themselves regularly? So what they do learn is to handle conflict with debate, when debate doesn’t work, it may resort to violence and when violence is in play, do not lose! That woman will sit in each other’s faces while carrying on with one another’s boyfriends or husbands and assist each other in deception.

They also learn the art of arguing, how women will disrespect each other and the power of the word BITCH. I never understood how anyone could call himself a man and say that. But then I realize when you grow up in a house with women who use the word regularly, why not? Be it to describe another woman (“That bitch!”), a friend (“this bitch…”) or a stranger (“what bitch?”). These young men become desensitize with the magnitude of disrespect the word holds. So why not be comfortable calling your

girlfriend or wife one? Your mom called your aunt one. Your sister called her best friend one. How harmful can it be? We all know the answer to that question.

My biggest struggle was to get over the hurt of what didn’t work and stop making my kids pay the price for it. The hardest thing to do in failed relationships is to look at yourself and accept responsibility for the role you played in its demise. I had to accept what is and the role we both played in it. I had to learn to curve my “daddy bashing” also. It’s hard, it hurts and it is frustrating. But at the end of the day, the results are so much better when I can raise my sons in a house that is “male friendly”.

What I have realized in the time that it has taken me to mature as both a woman and a mother, is that I can only teach my sons how to be good human beings. I can try to surround them with positive role models and give them an outlet for their emotions. But I cannot teach my boys how a man does these things. I have to allow my sons to make decisions and sit in their consequences. What I hope they will learn from their father is that even though he may not be in the same house with them, he is still present. That a man takes care of his responsibilities, he is honest and has integrity. What I know is, even in bad lessons there is still learning. If my sons are disappointed by what type of man their father is then he has taught them who they do not want to be. If he happens to fall short as a father then I am praying that they will use that as template for the kind of father they will not become. And if he is able to step in to his position and be the father that I know he is, all I can do is sit back and watch as he leads them through the journey of turning my boys to men.