What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of !”
What are little girls made of?
“Sugar and spice and all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of!”

My first three children are female.  Bows and curls, dolls and ribbons, tears and smiles.  One was a tomboy for a bit, but now embraces her femininity with joy.  We talk, we cry, we laugh.  The protectiveness one feels towards a daughter is inherent…we want to protect them from every harm, from all danger.  They are mommy’s angels, daddy’s princesses, our little girls.

I love raising daughters.  For sheer joy, daughters win, hands down.  But for fun…

Boys.  Ah…boys.  Rough and tumble, rowdy and ready, full of mischief and quick to forgive.  My boys amuse me in ways I never dreamed.  They do the nutty, the daring, the unbelievable and the courageous.  Random acts of violence and kindness, smirks and smiles, with grubby hands, torn jeans and bear hugs.

But they are an enigma.  A mystery I’m not sure I’m meant to solve.  Try as you may, some nuts just aren’t meant to be cracked!  The mother, the woman that I am wants to over analyze the frown, the furrowed brow, the exasperated sigh.  I rush to fix them, to make things better.  But…

They don’t want to be fixed.  They want to be loved, accepted, dared and trusted.  They want to grow up to be men, to love, to serve, to be bold.  They will be men…

It’s hard.  I’m a fixer by nature.  A nurturer by vocation.  A mother.  Their mother.  How pleased I was to read the following article.  So timely, so true.  Here’s a brief excerpt and a good reminder for those of us raising sons, teenagers most particularly:

7 Things Teenage Boys Most Need

Legionary of Christ Father Michael Sliney suggests the following seven necessities for parents of adolescent boys:

1. Clear guidelines with reasonable consequences from a unified front; cutting slack but also holding boys accountable for their actions.
2. Reasonable explanations for the criteria, guidelines and decisions made by parents.
3. Avoiding hyper-analysis of boys’ emotions and states of mind: avoiding “taking their temperature” too often.
4. Unconditional love with an emphasis on character and effort more than outcome: Encourage boys to live up to their potential while having reasonable expectations. To love them regardless of whether they make it into Harvard or become a star quarterback.
5. Authenticity, faith and fidelity should be reflected in parent’s lifestyles.
6. Qualities of a dad: Manliness, temperance, making significant time for family, putting aside work, and being a reliable source of guidance.
7. Qualities of a mom: Emotional stability, selflessness, loving service and extreme patience.

You may read the rest of this excellent article here.

Well…I know one teenage boy who’d really like mom to put away the therMOMeter and “stop taking his temperature…”

God bless him and all the wonderful, quiet, serious, seemingly sullen and oh-so-mysterious young men just like him…