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1.25.2011

Life in An Estrogen Free Zone


I'm in the second week of the Beth Moore group Bible study on the book of Esther and it's all about being a woman. Last night, during our group discussion the topic turned towards raising girls in our society and it got me thinking. That's because I live in a virtually estrogen free zone, except for that which I supply. Life with three boys/men can get a little lopsided. But as I thought more, I realized that although I'm not raising a daughter, I am raising someone's husband and someone's father.

My boys will grow up to leave home (hopefully!!), and create families of their own. This means that the interaction in our home has everything to do with how they will treat their future wives and future daughters. It means I have a lot to do with their attitudes about women. Ironically, I had mentioned at Bible study how respectful my boys were towards women and that made me feel like a queen in my home. Sure, they make their share of messes, and they roll their eyes at my chick flicks, but they are respectful and kind. However, when I got home from Bible study, I questioned my boasting for a moment. 

I came up the basement steps from the garage and when I reached the top, I noticed a shadow under the stairway door. My husband and sons were home, so, I wasn't terrified or anything. But when I turned the doorknob, the door opened only a few inches before bumping into resistance from the other side. I heard a snicker and then a blond head popped into the six inch gap. "Did you want to get through here?" He laughed. But he didn't move.

More teasing from him. More pleading from me. But after a reprimand from his father, he finally let me through the door. Then he gave me a hug, "Just teasing you Mom."

Photo linked from http://www.betterparenting.com/raising-boys-vs-girls/
"After I just got through telling my friends what kind and respectful boys you are." I laughed.

Teasing comes with the territory in a no estrogen zone. They learned that from their father. But they've also learned not to push it too far. And I've learned that humor is a vital part of human interaction, especially for my boys.

For today's practical, everyday idea, I'd like to discuss ways that we can raise boys who treat women with love and respect. I'll share a few ideas here, and then I'd love to hear how you're raising a son, how you've raised one who is happily married, or how you've impacted young men through your work and volunteerism.
  • I wait for my sons to open doors for me, including the car door when we all go somewhere. 
  • I've asked their dad to come to my defense any time they use a disrespectful tone with me.
  • I don't let them order me around. Instead of, "Mom, I need two dozen cookies for school tomorrow," I expect them to ask, "Mom, would you be able to make two dozen cookies for me to bring to school?" That goes way back to when they would ask for more juice. "More! More!"(banging of cup) wasn't acceptable, but "May I have some more, please?" was acceptable.
  • We spend time together. They take turns going on "dates" with me once in a while, even as teens.
  • I've tried to teach them to be helpful. When I see a woman at church carrying a big box, I'll send one of them over to assist. Now, they begin to notice themselves and run to help.
Now it's your turn. How do you raise polite boys in the hopes that their wives will come and hug you someday?  

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