When you’re pregnant, everyone asks you if you want a boy or a girl. Some people have an opinion; others say they have no preference. I personally wanted a girl. The night before our anatomy scan, I rolled over to my husband half asleep and said “We’re having a boy.” I knew it in my heart and it was confirmed the next day. I thought to myself, “What do I know about raising a boy?! I’m a girl! I am closest with my nieces!” As I started warming up to the idea, I began to think about how to raise a son and what it would mean to me. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to raise a really great man.
I plan to raise my son to be kind.
Little boys are often mama’s boys, but then they turn into their own beings as they grow. I hope to be a continual example of kindness to him as he grows and begins to make decisions on his own. I recently read a Humans of New York post that struck me deeply. Humans of New York is the work of a photographer who takes pictures of people around New York City and asks them questions. This particular series of posts featured the dad of an autistic son.
When asked how his son’s autism affected his family, he mentioned, “I’ve seen my other son choose his friends based on how they treated his brother. My daughter asked us if she could invite an entire special needs class to her tenth birthday party.” Those children saw the kindness in their own parents and mirrored it in their own lives. The kindness I show to the grocery clerk, the police officer, the mail carrier, his teachers, and his friends, will be a continual example that every person deserves to be treated with kindness.
I plan to raise my son to be considerate.
It seems like kids these days are doing less and less for themselves. I was walking out of a restaurant recently when a young boy, around eight years old, held the door for me. I was taken aback and thanked him for his kind act. In thinking about how to raise a son, I honestly can’t remember the last time a young boy was that considerate to me. As a teacher I had to continually teach my students, especially the boys, how to be considerate. The consideration I show to the elderly, to other parents, to his father, will be a continual example that being considerate is a worthwhile trait to have.
I plan to raise my son to be generous.
In an age where parents are writing articles about why they don’t want their children to share or why it’s okay to be selfish, I want to teach my son to be the antithesis: generous. Being generous is a rare trait in this society. I consider my friends to be some of the most generous people I know. These are people who want to do good, people who want to help others out of the goodness of their hearts, people who work with charities and their neighbors alike. I want my son to learn that being generous means that your community, whether your family, your school, your neighborhood, or your city, will be better for it.
I plan to raise my son to stand up for what he believes in.
When I consider how to raise a son to be generous and do the right thing, I realize he will have to make sacrifices for the things he believes in. Doing what is kind, considerate, and generous often comes at a cost. This cost might be friends who don’t feel the same way, popularity, or creating more challenges on his path. But I believe by raising a strong son with these strong characteristics, this last trait will come naturally. Raising a son, though I don’t know much about boys, will be my greatest accomplishment in life. My hope is that my son will be the kind of human people will eventually say, “He’s a really great man.”