At some point in my son’s growth, I will stop being his moral compass. My lead role as disciplinarian, life coach, and teacher will wane, paving the way for his own life decisions. He will be in charge of his actions, responsible for his efforts, and answerable to himself. His failures, his successes, and his life will be his own–although I will still be his cheerleader, and his listening ear for as long as life allows.
Before that time occurs, before he becomes completely autonomous, I will remain his guide, teaching him about the concrete and the abstract principles of morality, ethics, life, and love. The lessons I facilitate, the discipline I enact, are based on the premise of his independence.
I want my son to embody chivalry and altruism.
With the rise of all things sexist, certain values are becoming dying arts. Every day, I teach my son to open doors for other people. I open doors for other people. When I greet people, I smile, shake hands, or–in true Texan form–give a hug, and my son watches my actions. If someone needs a helping hand, even if perceived, I want him to learn to offer his time, for their plight. True chivalry, true altruism, moves past the fear, and extends aid to all people.
I want my son to make knowledge and learning a priority.
Knowledge impacts society. When we view knowledge through varied filters of thought, when we question what we learn in order to see a change, we bring applied learning into real life situations. We move ahead in life through the knowledge we attain, and what we teach to others. Learning to think outside the norm, and discover a problem before it’s realized, is how leaders and entrepreneurs are born.
I want my son to understand how to use and care for tools.
Wielding a hammer, using a screwdriver, and mastering common household needs is imperative when growing into adulthood. I want my son to be able to put together a dresser, hang a picture on the wall, fix a broken garbage disposal, and hang drywall. He needs to know that he can accomplish these actions, not because he is male, but because he can provide for himself–just like his momma.
I want my son to utilize technology.
Technology is everything in today’s society. We use computers, smartphones, and tablets to access and gain knowledge on a daily basis. Nowadays, just knowing how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel is not enough. Jobs require more training in technology, because they want to branch into social media, and they need people who can promote their company through growing technological advancements.
I want my son to learn financial responsibility.
Money. Ah, money. There are people who believe money isn’t necessary for happiness, and people who believe the more money they attain, the more secure they’ll find life. I’m a floater, with opinions in the middle. I do not want my child to live in debt; I want him to understand living within his means. He needs to know how to provide for a family, which often means putting his own desires on the back burner.
I want my son to know that hard work and effort is how we get ahead in life.
My secret to getting and keeping a job is simple: show up early, smile, provide a positive attitude, never complain, and do more than the boss expects. Do, and do, and do, and do, and the rewards of longevity, or promotion, will come. The more people we please with our efforts, the more people will be in our corner when we apply for a position, network, and try to move up the corporate ladder.
I want my son to only give love to someone deserving.
Love is a hard concept for people to gain, and to understand. It takes a balance of give and take, of equality in the relationship. The idea that the man gives fifty percent, and the woman gives fifty percent, and they meet somewhere in the middle is false. Both parties need to give a hundred percent, every day, or something wanes. I want my son to meet someone whose life values and life goals mirror his own. I want someone who believes in the possibilities of future success, and encourages him to work hard and take risks, in order to achieve his dreams.
I want my son to see the good in others.
Maybe I’m a sap, but I choose to see the inherent goodness in people, … with the exception of serial killers, pedophiles, and sociopaths. Everyone deserves a second chance; everyone deserves to be loved. A smile, a look, or a helping hand can change a person’s heart for the better, and I want my son to know the truth of that statement.
I want my son to believe that everyone deserves respect, especially those in authority.
“Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Sir” are staples in my home. Those phrases teach respect. In public settings, I enforce the concept of authority, by demonstrating who that authority is, to him. His grandparents, his aunts, his uncles, his teachers, police officers, other parents, and adults in general.
I want my son to dream big, and believe success comes through failure.
Failure can either break us down, or push us to make our dreams a reality. I follow the latter view. With every failure, and every struggle I face–those rejection letters are tough to read–I learn what I’m doing wrong, how I can change my approach, and what my next step will be.
From my failures, and strength to succeed, I want my son to know that he can throw a lasso into the Heavens, and pull back the moon. Anything is possible, as long as he believes.
In growing my tiny human into adulthood, I want to raise him to be a well-rounded individual. My wisdom, my understanding of the world, and my influence will help shape him throughout his childhood, and well into adolescence. Until that day comes, until he becomes an adult, I’ll remain his guide, coaching him as well as I know how. What I want him to know, what I want to encourage in him, are based upon truths that I believe, and codes of conduct I instill. From these, I hope to move him into a well-rounded man, one who understands the importance of humanity, the art of altruism, and the hope of love.