My son will be ten this year. That’s such a hard age. You’re not a little kid anymore, but you’re not a teenager just yet. Peer pressure increases and so do the personalities.
But sometimes I look at this little boy, on the threshold of adolescence, and wonder about the man he will be someday.
How will he treat the women in his life? How will he treat the woman he one day finds and loves?
Especially because of my own experiences with men who have let me down, I feel the need to teach my son how to be a good man. This has been difficult at times. I’ve raised him by myself, and he has had no real male role model until two years ago and even that relationship is touch and go sometimes.
Still, I know that I have to do the best I can, and looking at him now I think that I’ve done a pretty good job with him. Just the other day his teacher commented to me about how respectful he is. I have taught him how a man should treat himself and others in the only way I can—from a woman’s point of view.
When I think about the kind of man I believe would be a good husband, I think of the following:
- A man who thinks of family first
- A man who doesn’t do drugs
- A man who knows how to love—not just in words but in deeds
- A man who would love my kids like his own. And would never hurt them in any way
- A man who makes sure my needs are met, so that the relationship is not one-sided
- A man who would never lie or cheat
- A man who works hard at his job
That is the kind of man I hope my son will one day become. My list for finding a husband is, in a way, my guide for raising a son.
My son has a giant heart for all things living. He loves nature, animals, and the ocean—and often takes in stray creatures or stands up to the neighborhood kids when they are being cruel to the wildlife in the creek behind our home.
I have tried to instill in him respect not only for others but also for himself. He knows not to disrespect adults and to protect his sister. But he also knows to protect himself. We do not pick fights with other people and we do not bully.
He knows it’s not all about what he wants but what others want as well. He helps around the house with his sister and knows to talk out problems, not to hold them in. He knows that there are not chores specifically for each gender—that it doesn’t matter as long as we work together to keep the house clean. A man can do the dishes, and a woman can take out the trash—so long as they are both pitching in and helping each other. I think that one day his wife will thank me, since there has been some research that shows that sharing housework is associated with happier marriages.
I am not looking forward to puberty, but when that comes along he will hear my “sex makes babies speech” and my opinion that women shouldn’t have to carry all the burden of birth control. I will tell him what I learned the hard way: that casual sex takes an emotional and physical toll. I want him to abstain from sex until marriage, but I also want to teach him about the female body and hormones so that he will better understand women and the power of fertility. I want to equip him with better understanding and ways to deal with stress and emotions as he grows up.
I am trying to make sure that he is a wonderful husband for the woman he chooses. He’s got a lot going for him, and we have talks about when he gets older how he should treat women. Some men these days—and some women—think that it’s OK to be selfish and not think about anyone else. They think that they are entitled to things or even people. But things don’t get handed to you—you work for them, and that is exactly what my son will learn. His life now is preparation—one day at a time—for the future family he may build. I hope that the time he spends under my roof will set him up well for his future and for theirs.