With all the talk about stereotypes of girls, I thought we should also have the conversation about stereotypes of boys, because they are a real thing.
I am a mother of 3 boys ages 5, almost 3 and 19 months. Often I stumble across articles about raising boys, articles ranging between words of advice, encouragement and humour. And I think it’s great to see moms encouraging each other so much!
However, sometimes, I can’t get over the feeling that maybe my boys, especially my oldest doesn’t fit the stereotype of what others experience with boys.
Sometimes I get the message that there are expectations about boys behaviour in our culture.
Behaviour that is considered typical boy-ish, such as…
Boys like sports. They’re competitive. Sometimes they’re aggressive. They are outdoorsy. They catch frogs and snakes and climb trees. They’re always active and can’t sit still. And so you shouldn’t expect them to sit still. Boys are gross and like to talk about bodily functions. They’re into guns and cars, superheros and explosions. They’re loud and rambunctious.
Well, not all boys are like that. My oldest boy isn’t like that at all. He’s actually calm and quiet by nature. He loves to sit and listen to me read to him. He can actually sit still for a long time. He likes playing with numbers. He is very gentle with his younger brothers and doesn’t have a mean bone inside him. In fact, to my knowledge, he has never hit anyone, even when provoked. He isn’t particularly into sports. Sure, he enjoys running around with his friends when given the opportunity but he just doesn’t have that same fascination with balls and sports as some of my friends’ boys do. He does like his cars and Lego the way boys typically do, but his general disposition is more quieter, slower, and thoughtful. He’s affectionate. He’s one of those kids who actually enjoys doing school work.
And that’s ok, he is still 100% boy.
Because in this world, we have our men who are athletes and outdoors-men. And we have construction workers and police officers and fire fighters. But we also have scholars, poets, and musicians. Just like there were famous adventure seekers who made history, there were also quiet theologians and thinkers who made history too. And we need all those kinds of boys who grow up into all those kinds of men.
My second born is more of a typical boy. He’s wiggly and squirmy and can’t sit still. He’s always on the go and needs to be reminded to be gentle with his brothers. He is full of happy energy.
They are both so different. They both bring different gifts and talents to our family, and will bring different gifts and talents to the world.
So it’s OK if my boy or maybe your boy doesn’t fit the stereotype mold that our society has for boys. Not all boys are into sports and superheros.
Knowing each of our children’s unique personality, can help us to pray for them. We can thank God for the gift of their presence in our home, thank Him for their gifts and strengths, pray for the areas where they struggle, and ask God to help us see them the way He sees them.
Who will boys grow up to be?
Perhaps some will be warriors like David, taking a brave stand against a giant seeking to destroy God’s people. Perhaps some will be Nehemias, leaders in government, making a difference in the world. We hope they will be kind, caring husbands providing for their family. They might be scholars, writing words of wisdom truth. They might be musicians, writing new songs of praise to the Creator.
Most importantly, may they be who God calls them to be.
And for us mamas raising little boys, let us not be distracted by what society tells us boys should or shouldn’t be. Because each one is unique, and God gave them to us for a purpose.