Sunday, September 21, 2014

Boys Should be Boys: Part 3

Chapter 3 Bullfrogs and Race Cars

This chapter is all about how nature and risk taking are essential parts of boyhood.  But I know that nature is special to girls as well.  I remember with great fondness heading out to my grandfather's farm on Saturdays with my Dad to walk the trails in the woods, fish in the small pond, and ride four wheelers with my sister.  Lots of fun (and even some scary memories) were made on that farm.  I pray Henrik has a special place like that one day.

"...boyhood is meant to be lived between a boy's imagination and his feet.  He needs to move his feet in order to keep up with his sense of wonder. That is why boys are so physical, so rough.  Life is a continual experiment to see what can happen if..."

{Talking in reference to boys building forts/castles etc}
"But whatever adventures they dreamed there, the place was always theirs- and that sense of ownership and privacy is important to boys.  The fact that boys like to isolate themselves from girls, or even, when they're playing, from their parents, is not unhealthy or antisocial or dangerous. Boys like to be in charge among their peers; they like to be free to let their thoughts and their games run wild- and being outdoors lets them do that..."

"Boys need forts to play in and asphalt for street hockey games (Todd says, "Amen.") with their buddies.  It's in those places that they learn confidence and decision making.  It's playing in forts and pickup, sandlot football games that boys find a healthy venue for growing into men.  Boys actually thrive more then they're not forced into organized activities- or shuttled from one organized sport to another- but when they organize games and adventures and projects on their own, when they're outside with their buddies."

There are boys on our street, two sets of brothers ranging from 7-9 years old, who have become friends and who are always playing out in the street. It makes me smile when I see them playing hide and go seek or trying to out jump each other on their scooters.

"They need that time on the fort and in the sandlot to mix it up with their peers, with kids from different grades, to feel what it's like to be the runt...and to grow into a leader..."

"When adults supervise and set the rules for every outdoor game, boys don't learn how to assert themselves in their unique, individual ways...When boys plan in organized sports they always play with boys their own age, when what young boys need- and what they can get when they play on their own in the neighborhood- is a mixture of older boys and younger boys. When the parents run the show, no one can be king; no one can be the ball boy; no one can be the ghost runner between the bases. We all, as parents, want our son to be the pitcher, but that isn't real life. A boy who begins on top and who stay on stop because a parent is always two steps ahead of him clearing his way and talking to coaches (or being the coach) robs him of opportunities to navigate his own way- to take some bumps and learn to get back up again."

"Nature is where boys of all ages, grown men included, can enter and be challenged, where their wits can be sharpened, where they can learn about themselves and about life."

"Boys need to get their hands dirty and try to knock life around or at least pretend to knock it around."

"...boys look for outlets to define their power."

"When he wants to take risks, don't crtiticize him, but instead of letting him drive like a madman, pay for him to go parachuting a few times. Let him feel the thrill but rechannel it into an activity that feels risky to him, but in reality is a lot safer."

Hmmmm....I never considered parachuting safe.... :) 

"It is extremely important for young men to learn the limits of their power. It's a challenge they feel bound to confront, and it's why they climb mountains, race cars, and wrestle. It is about understanding what they have inside and how far they can take it.  It's when they hit the wall that humility begins to set it."

"Boys need to serve; it is good for them; it directs their energies and helps them define the useful purposes of power; it tempers power with responsibility. They need to find a widow who needs her yard mowed...such service is one of the best ways to keep teenagers from feeling separated and isolated...It will help him to recognize how valuable his gifts are and that all people, including the people who need his help, are valuable."

Here's a picture of our Little Man exploring nature in our front yard. 


Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Funsie

 A little glimpse into our everyday life

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Funsie

My wild and crazy little guy

Monday, September 8, 2014

Boys Should be Boys: Part 2

Chapter 2: Bucking Peer Pressure 

"In my experience, every good parent intuitively knows what is good and not good for his sons.  The problem is, we ignore our intuitions and jump non the train loaded with mother and fathers pushing their sons to outshine the others. Get off of that train."

"Parents consistently lament that sons won't listen and behave. Their discipline falls on deaf ears and stony hearts. Well, there is a secret to disciplining boys. Boys will do virtually anything their father wants them to do.  Even at three years old, every boy wants to feel loved, accepted, and valued.  The quickest way he knows to get there is by seeing mom or dad happy with him."

"Sons listen to people (parents) whom they respect, like, admire, or fear (in a healthy way).  They reject words from adults who only criticize, deride or push them."

Hmmm...sounds like the verse, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4 and "Fathers do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged." Colossians 3:21
This is a good reminder too!

"Time, attention, affection, and approval: they are what every boy needs in abundance from his parents. I can guarantee that if the majority of parent-son interactions are focused around these four things, then correction and discipline will work when they are required.  Sons try to please their parents when they know they can please their parents. Without balancing love and discipline, boys are lost." 

"Television is a dumping ground where callous advertisers and pop culture pimps pour out their trash, hoping your son will find a few pieces appetizing...When it comes to television and computers and phones, you need to be a dilligent and fastidious filter for him. You need to set ground rules.  Keep televisions and computers out of his room; they need to be used communally, for the family; that's safer. There are many influences you can't prevent, but what comes into your home you most certainly can." 

"To a very large degree, this boy-hating-his parents phenomenon has been contrived by popular media with the aid of some psychologists. Sadly, many of us simply hold our breath until we sense the first snarls, the back talk, and the rejection from our boys...But boys don't naturally hate their parents at six or at sixteen.  Certainly as he matures he will desire more independence, but obnoxious behavior or rebellion is not natural or healthy." 


"Part of the problem, again, comes from popular culture, where rude sons and stupid fathers are a rule of almost every sitcom..."

"As parents we need to recognize that in this regard popular culture is our enemy; it's competing for our sons, and it's up to us to defeat it...Don't abdicate your authority. Don't become the cool, stupid dad you think he wants, because he doesn't - and once you cross that line, it's hard to step back. Every boy hates it when his father becomes funny, dumb, or acts too much like his adolescent peers. He wants to respect  you - and that means looking up to you." 

This is such an easy trap for parents to fall into.  I'm so thankful that my parents didn't try to be "cool" but remained "the parents" and I'm so much better off today because they did! 

"You might have seen young boys, even toddlers, say rude things to their parents and been appalled- perhaps a third grader yelling at his father.  And what did the father do? Did he shrug his shoulders or pretend to ignore the child? Most likely he did. And if he did, it's because our perspectives regarding normal child-parent behaviors have been reworked. Our media has normalized aberrant behavior for so long that we have come to live with it.  But we shouldn't.  And the way to stop it is not only to limit your child's exposure to the media waste bin, but to always make sure your son knows that your his ally." 

As a teacher, I've seen parents who have been verbally abused  and walked on by their children.  The roles of parent-child are reversed and it's a terrifying thing to behold. It's shocking and makes your stomach fall to your feet. 

"Deep down he knows that life is not supposed to be this way.  He knows that his mother is the person who cares about him more than anyone else in the world, that is father is what a man should be, and that he himslef should be a young man of character and moral strength."  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Funsie

Rolling around on the bed + runny nose (thanks to teething) = awesome hair

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Boys Should be Boys: Part 1

{Warning: This is a long post. I only expect my family to make it to the end :)}

"Oh, you're having a boy!!" said the ultrasound tech. 

Todd does a fist pump and loudly shouts, "Yes!"

I realized at the 20 week ultrasound that I'm in over my head.
Yay! It's a boy!
As you can see from all the pink it was only a matter of time :)

My first book to find parenting advice- really any advice- is always the Bible.  God made this little boy and knows him and loves him so much more deeply than I ever could.  So I seek Him first and foremost. 

But I also scoured Amazon for lists of books about raising boys (there are a lot!) and settled on a few.

I purchased a couple with some birthday moo-lah and have been devouring them during nap times and any other spare moment I can find throughout the day. 

The first one I read knocked my socks off.

It's full title is Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons.  It's author is Meg Meeker- a pediatrician and of course, mother of a boy. I was kinda interested since it's not labeled a "Christian" book, but it got really great reviews so I gave it a shot...and I'm glad I did!

It was fantastic!! It opened up a whole new world to me that I thought I kinda knew, but now my eyes have seen the light!

So, I thought I'd share it with you :)
I'll be sharing quotes directly from the book- I hate personal thoughts will be in blue.

Chapter One- Boyhood under Siege 
 This chapter is all about the building blocks of boyhood.  So much of this I've read or heard from other places, so it's nice to have it reinforced again.  

Plus, I am so thankful that Henrik is surrounded by some truly fantastic men! Such a HUGE blessing!

Awww...look how tiny...sniff sniff

"Are our boys in trouble? If so, are they in more danger than past generations? Yes, and most definitely yes. But unlike some psychologists, sociologists, and educators, I believe that the troubles hurting our boys stem from three major sources: lack of close relationships with men (particularly fathers), lack of religious education, and aggressive exposure to toxic media that teaches boys that the keys to a great life are sex, sex, and a bit more sex- and a whole lot of money and fame."

"We must be willing to see that what our boys need isn't simply more education, more prescriptions, more money, or more activities.  What they need is us.  You and me. They need parents who are willing to take a good hard look at what their sons think and what they are doing.  They need fathers who will embrace their sons and watch them with the eyes of schooled hawks."

"The foundation of any boys life is built on three things: his relationships with his parents, his relationship with God, and his relationship with his siblings and close friends...If these are strong, any boy can thrive in the midst of academic and athletic challenges, a toxic culture, and harmful peer pressure...The most important people in a boy's life are his parents.  You should never feel powerless with your son. No one is more important to him than you are.
   Your son needs more time with you: time to talk and time to play. He needs less Internet time, more outdoor time. He needs to know that God exists and that his life is no accident.  He needs- and wants- the benefit of your wisdom, life experience, and maturity." 

"But our boys don't need things they need us, even just being around us, watching how we handle life, how we talk, listen, help others, and make our decisions.  Every son is his father's apprentice, studying not his dad's profession but his way of living, thinking, and behaving."

"Boys need to see fathers who behave as good men so that they can mimic that behavior.  They need to see men at work. They need men who set standards- and if you don't give them standards to live by, they'll pick them up where they find them...A father needs to give his son the model of a man to measure up to. That's what a son wants from his dad; he wants to admire him and be like him. That's a lot of pressure to put on a father, but that's what being a dad is all about; and the good news is that all dad really needs to do is to be available for his sons; to share time with them and let them watch him and learn from him."

"Nothing replaces life lived alongside of you, his mother and father, nothing. And don't be fooled into believing that you can be substituted, because you can't."

Henrik sure is lucky to have us for parents :) 

So so lucky...

"He doesn't want you to buy him stuff...He needs to see you smile when you are proud, see how you work through problems, and how you deal with tension and frustration. And most important, he needs to know that you will be there when he needs you. Once he knows this, the center of his world will feel tight and secure. Give him that security, and he will feel free to work hard at school, pat attention during his piano lessons, and enjoy all the good things that can be a part of boyhood."

"Your son will also want you to teach him about God, and you should...God matters to boys, as it matters to many people, because it provides an anchor, and ultimate authority to whom they can turn, a sense of purpose, a way to place themselves in the cosmos. As such , faith in God builds confidence, is a powerful guard against depression, and provides moral instruction.  Having a moral framework is extremely important for boys."

"...maintain a stable home with a minimum of sibling rivalries...normal sibling rivalry is part of the maturation process and can actually strengthen a boys' character.  But whether it helps or harms him depends in large part on how his parents handle the rivalry. If mom or dad acknowledges it, deals with it in a simple, nonthreatening way as normal competition, that's one thing...but if it's fueled or ignored the results can be devastating." 

"Boys must learn how to negotiate healthy relationships within a family...but if they grow up in a family where there is mutual trust and respect, where they feel  like they fit in, they will grow into confident young men."

So there you go. Pretty awesome right?  

She's just getting started and it gets even better! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Funsie

Since this little guy has become mobile, poor Ruby has been trying to adjust.  
She can't seem to get a moment's peace! 

She's hoping if she ignores him he'll get the message.
 Good luck, Ruby!
 Hope you get to bug somebody you love this weekend!