December 27, 2003
Quinton will be ten years old tomorrow.
If you're not a parent, you may not understand what I'm about to say. But if you ARE a parent, I'll bet that you see my point clearly. I have a difficult time remembering when he wasn't part of my life. Ten years is only 1/5th of my lifetime, but I don't remember what life was like before he came along. He has been such a joy and such a pain in the ass to me that I can't recall what life was like without him.
That's the blink of an eye in cosmic terms, but I've watched that boy grow from shitting in his diapers to calling me an "ugly, old geezer" as he runs down the hallway laughing. I've watched him learn to crawl, then to walk, then to run, then to ride a bicycle.
I've watched him play soccer, baseball, football and basketball. I've watched him wrestle in the state finals. I've watched him eat everything I have in the got-dam refrigerator, and I've watched him sleep at night. Bejus. He hits double-figures tomorrow.
Where does the time go? I figure that I have about two more years before he becomes a rebellious teenager and decides that I am full of shit and as dumb as they come. All teenaged boys go through that stage, and I expect it from my son. I did it to my father. I hope that I live long enough to make my boy believe that I got smart again, all of a sudden.
Quinton is not far away from that moment of defiance that every young man must display for his father. I expect it, and in some ways I look forward to it. That will be the day that Quinton decides to be his own man.
I wish that we had some kind of primitive rite of passage, where the village elders took a boy into a tent, poured oil on his head, waved wood-smoke in his face, chanted some mumbo-jumbo and then gave him an experienced woman to sleep with that night. He could emerge from the tent the next morning as a MAN, and everybody in the village would accept that fact.
We don't do such things in western civilization. I am not convinced that we have the right idea.
My boy will be ten years old tomorrow. How do I make him a man?
You do not "make him a man"; he has to do that himself. All you can do is give him the room to do so whilst keeping him from disastrous harm as best you can. You can give him some tools with which to carve himself into the man he will be, but you cannot do the carving yourself. It's rough standing by, as he will knick and gouge himself in the process. You just have to have all the "first-aid stuff" at hand.
You sired him; he'll be a man.
You sired him; he'll be a man.
You cannot make him a man. You provided the foundation, now he must decide what to build. Just as you did before him and his sons will after him.
Just keep being the man you are.
"My boy will be ten years old tomorrow. How do I make him a man?"
The seemingly easiest answers can be the most complicated. First we have to know what your definition of "man" is. Is it standing up for what you believe in? Is it protecting the weak and helpless? Is it being responsible? Is it trying to do what is right? Is it taking care of your family? (I do all that, but am not mistaken for a man.) What unique attributes make a man (other than plumbing)?
"I wish that we had some kind of primitive rite of passage, where the village elders took a boy into a tent, poured oil on his head, waved wood-smoke in his face, chanted some mumbo-jumbo and then gave him an experienced woman to sleep with that night. He could emerge from the tent the next morning as a MAN, and everybody in the village would accept that fact."
You just answered your own question.
I kinda get the feelin' that Jennifer would look askance at Rob providin' a hooker for Quinton's 10th birthday party. Even underage hookers.
Relish and enjoy the fact that Quinton is a little boy for now. My niece turned 13 in October, and she has the typical teenage attitude - all adults are idiots, including (especially) her parents. She has quite the attitude, and quite the mouth. It seems like just yesterday she was 11 years old and such a sweet little girl. Kids - they all grow up, but eventually they realize that their parents did their best.
I think the best you can do is be there for him when he needs you and give him the best advise you can.
He is going to have to go through his own fuckups just like you and I did but if he knows that you you will always be there for him and love him hopefully he will turn out ok.
You don't. You just keep showing him what a man is, and let him grow into it.
Once you "go stupid", you'll stay there for a few years, then all of a sudden your boy will wonder how you got SO smart all of a sudden. Funny, parents tend to get smarter as kids get older.
Just gotta go with the flow.
Wichi's right - set the example, and never forget what it's like to be a kid.
Always be there to listen to him ramble on about the things that are important to him - the video games and cartoons and other stuff that you might not find especially compelling. Kids are sharp and they know when parents tune them out....and eventually they'll stop talking
And if they can't talk to you about the little things, they won't bother even trying when it comes to the big things when those come up.
Just walk the walk and be the best damn
example you know how to be
You can only show him the way by example, but he has to make his own choices.
I've got two boys, 16 and 14.
Same household, but one is a straight arrow, the other has picked another path - and we're not quite sure, yet, where that's heading.
I think it's important not to try and be your child's best friend. Love and support them in what they do, but they need to know you're the parent, and they're the child, and you set the rules.
I hug and kiss both of my boys each and every morning and night. Some day, after they've become men, we'll be friends - contemporaries - but not until they've got some years under their belts on what it's like to work and love and cry and pick themselves up from a failure. Then we'll be friends. Until then, they need a dad.
You show him how to be a man by example. You give him the love and support a son needs, Praise him for the good things he does and talk out the bad, Children are sensitive and can pick up on any negative vibes your throwing his way. Just love him and accept him, and provide guidance when it is needed.
Rob - It's now Sunday, (I read this yesterday but waited 'til his day to post), and all I have to say merely echos those who wrote before me. You've set the rules, and Quinton will be just fine. In the months since I found you, I've come to realize that you're a fine man and a great father. Stop doubting yourself and keep up the wet Willies as long as you can.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Birthday, Q.
There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
We are as God made us, and often a great deal worse.
During the Samuel Johnson days they had big men enjoying small talk; today we have small men enjoying big talk.