Boys. . .And Girls

As I mentioned, I grew up in an all-girl household. And when I was in high school and had a boyfriend (years before I became a Muslim) I used to wonder if he talked about me with his family or his guy friends. I talked about him, but was it the same with guys?

As far as I know, it isn’t. Guys have a very rich life outside of thinking about girls. Of course, I know that my boys haven’t told me everything, and they always manage to have secrets between them and among them. But, in general, boys simply aren’t as caught up in thinking about the opposite sex as girls are–not the in dreamy way anyway, though maybe in the way they would never discuss with their mother.

Boys do think about girls, I know that, whether or not they obsess over them. And while we Muslim parents don’t allow dating, there are ways to deal with this:

The first is fasting. I’ve recommended this to each of my boys at various times, and it’s the Sunnah. When they’re focused on worship, they’ll be thinking less about that cute girl. Worship can also include praying more and going to the masjid more.

The second is hard work. Having a job helps. Physical labor helps even more. If they’re spending part of their weekends hauling stuff or putting stuff together, they won’t have the energy to think too much about cute girls.

The third is hanging out with the guys. They can play football, watch videos, eat, whatever. Hanging with other guys helps them all get out some of that energy. And building the ties of brotherhood is very important, even if they’re just eating pizza together. When my three oldest were teens, our house was almost always full of boys.

As my boys grew into adolescence and adulthood I began to think more about my future daughters-in-law. Like most mothers, Muslim mothers anyway, I always had one or two girls in mind. But one thing I’ve learned is that my boys don’t want a match arranged by their mother. They’ll let their brothers help out, and maybe even their father, but for some reason they want their mother to refrain from meddling.

So I haven’t played the matchmaker yet and I’m not likely to in the future. But as they grew I did advise them to lower their gaze, to be respectful, to talk without flirting. That’s the best I can do.

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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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