Tuesday, August 6, 2013

“Boys Will Be Boys”

I have 4 boys.
Boys sometimes do crazy, incomprehensible things.

-they jump off the barn roof
-they set the trash on fire in their room and melt the trash can
-they throw sticks at their brother and split open his head
-they play in rain filled trenches and get covered head to toe in mud
-they hit their car windshield to prove that it won't break (it will)

Children enjoy swinging as high as possible and then flying out of the swing.

And often, when a male human (of any age) does these crazy, incomprehensible, sometimes foolish things, we hear, “Boys will be boys, you know.”

Hmmph. No.

Boys will be men.

Caution: grammar lesson ahead.

“Will be” is a future tense verb. When we say 'boys will be boys', that doesn't give me much hope! In the future, I want my boys to be men. I want them to put away acting like foolish children and act like responsible men. (This doesn't mean they cannot have fun.)

“Are” is a present tense verb. “Boys are boys” sounds a little silly, but is more accurate.
Boys, because they are children, behave like boys. I have sometimes been known to exclaim in exasperation, “You children act so....childish!” Hopefully, this lets them know that I am frustrated with their behavior, but understand that they are children, and as such act like children. I have also been known to expect my children (unrealistically) to act like mini adults.

“Boys will be boys” is too often used to excuse poor behavior as if to say, “Oh, he just can't help himself, that's the way boys are.”

Again, NO.

This is a training opportunity.
While the above 'stick throwing' example was an accident, the training could have gone like this:
“You shouldn't throw sticks at people. You don't know where they will land or who they will hurt. Now, your brother is bleeding profusely and we have to go to the ER to get his head sewed shut.”
(Yeah, that conversation didn't really happen like that. There was no calmness.)

But, you get the picture. When boys are being boys, don't make excuses. Take the opportunity to train them so that boys will be men. We have enough adult males stuck in 'adultesence'. Don't perpetuate the problem.

Their future bosses will thank you.
Their future wives will thank you.
Maybe even society will thank you.


Anonymous said...

I always wonder to myself when grown men commit crimes- "Do they not have mothers?"

karentrina said...

Yes, everyone has a woman who gave birth to them, but not everyone was 'mothered'. It is also possible that for the individual who is breaking the law, there is a mother with a broken heart, possibly wondering, "where did I go wrong?"

Kathleen Caron said...

Karen, I have two sons (and a lovely daughter), and I hope I have never used that expression, as it seems to excuse the worst kinds of behavior. Boys do have a penchant for doing pretty crazy stuff, such as all the things you mentioned above, plus jumping off the roof onto the trampoline and shooting groundhogs with paintballs, etc. But without shaming them, I always tried to impress on them the importance of thinking of how other people are impacted by their actions. I think we have lots to talk about!

Amy Jung said...

I think that is why we have so many boys instead of men in our culture. Too many said, "Boys will be boys". Perhaps!

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