It snowed. It hasn’t stopped snowing for almost a week now. And I needed to shovel today, despite the -6 windchill.
As I was getting ready to go out and shovel, my boy – my precious 8 year old boy – came running over and getting his snow boots on. I asked what he was doing. “I’m going to help you shovel!”
Thinking of my small 8 year old boy, and the negative temperatures outside, I told him no. It was too cold for him to shovel.
Again I said no.
He took off his boot and threw it on the ground. The look on his face broke my heart and stopped me in my tracks. A whirlwind of things went through my head.
- the look on his face as he threw his boot on the ground was not one of defiance, but one of the greatest disappointment – like a blow to his manhood. All the books I have read about how men need respect, and what respect looks like to men. Allowing him to shovel would show him respect.
- I am TRYING to raise my son to be a man – this is NOT easy in a house full of women. We have always taught our son that he is to take care of and protect his sisters and his mom. His heart was to help me and care for me.
- I am training him to think by what I say. If as an 8 year old boy, I tell him it is too cold for him to shovel, what words can I expect from him as a teen when I ask him to go out and shovel?
- What exactly was he asking? He was asking to WORK. And I was crazy enough to tell him NO?!?! I thought back to the look on his face when he said he was coming to help me shovel – it was one of pride “I’m going to help my mommy!”
This does not negate the fact it really was too cold for him to help. But couldn’t I let him shovel between our house and the neighbor and then go in because it is too cold?
As soon as I suggested that he could help by shoveling between our house and the neighbor’s, he BEAMED! He came out to join me and worked hard. I was so proud of him! And the lessons we BOTH learned are extremely valuable!
We need to parent with the end in mind. What kind of MAN do I want my son to be? That thought should influence what I say, how I train him, and what I allow him to do or don’t do NOW, while he is 8.