Raising Gentle Men

My husband and I tried to give our boys many different experiences, but one thing we couldn’t give them was a sister. As I said earlier, we had a name picked out, but Allah never gave us a girl.

We did teach them how to treat girls and women, though. It wasn’t very hard at first. When they were little, they all had female pediatricians. One day my oldest was looking at a picture book and where it indicated a nurse he said, “Doctor.” They all knew early on that woman have important roles to fill in society.

As they grew I wanted to teach them how to treat their future wives. I did it through a mantra: “You never hit a girl, you never hit a woman.” And as they got older they would try to trip me up with imaginary scenarios: What if she hits me first; What if she’s bigger than I am; What if. . .My answer was always the same: “You never hit a girl, you never hit a woman.”

I knew that abuse was, and is, an important issue in our society and I wanted to make sure my sons had no part in it. It helped that their father is gentle. In fact, that’s one reason I married him. He has never laid an angry hand on me, and I know he never will.

When I read about marital abuse I think about the mothers. We need to teach our sons early. Let them know that violence is not the way to solve problems. Then model that lesson. If enough mothers teach it, and enough fathers show it, we could eliminate abuse.

I won’t pretend that my boys were never “violent.” They’re boys. Occasionally they did hit one another or wrestle in anger. But more often it was in joshing, in fun. I worked hard to build bonds among them, and they have those still.

And my boys did wrestle. Oddly, the time they most wanted to wrestle was right before we prayed, after the call to prayer had been made and before we lined up. It seemed they needed to get out that excess energy before spending several minutes standing still and concentrating. There was a point, when they were a certain age, when this happened nearly every time. And I let them wrestle. I didn’t have anything breakable in the house and I reminded them not to break each other. They never did. They were always careful that way.

I think boys have a need to be active, to be “violent” in a positive sense. And I provided them those opportunities at home, with their brothers, in an environment where nothing would be broken and no one would be hurt. I’d like to talk more about boys and “fighting,” but that’s a topic for another post.

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About jamilahk

Jamilah Kolocotronis is the mother of six boys. She is also a novelist. Her books focus on family issues.
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4 Responses to Raising Gentle Men

  1. Asmaa says:

    as salamu ‘alaykum 🙂

    I completely agree that they need positive violence in their life. I came from a family that discouraged playing with toy guns etc., which is fine but one should realize that boys will always find something to make them out of! 😀 My youngest was eating pizza the other day and he noticed his pizza crust for a few seconds and it was a weapon suddenly. They go outside and get sticks and want to play cops and robbers. I went to goodwill the other day and got them two shields lol, one for the big one and one for the smaller one. I wonder if my fate will also be boys… my mother in law had only boys and so far that’s the case for me. Allah knows best. 🙂

    • jamilahk says:

      Walaikum assalaam, Asmaa,

      I laughed when you described your youngest with the pizza crust. I can picture that. I think my boys have done the same. It’s great that you recognize what your boys need. Maybe you are destined to be an all-boy mom. (Though even with our all-boy family my oldest had two girls first.)

  2. Br00ke says:

    “I didn’t have anything breakable in the house ” Oh subhanAllah, I can’t tell you how I long for a nic nac or two and how many adverse responses I have gotten when I explain that just rather not have it than have to constantly police the kids or see it broken. And you know mine are home A LOT. “They need to control themselves” is the response I usually get. You know, because impulse control is not kid thing.

    Thanks so much for starting this blog sis!

    Love and Peace–oh yeah and Asalam alaikum!

    • jamilahk says:

      I tried a few years ago, when my kids were older, to put some vases up. That still didn’t work very well. And now we have the cat.

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