I’m not a preachy mother. Nor am I one to delve out my opinion without being asked. But I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about what makes a man. Believe me it’s more than anatomy. I’m not talking about what gives you your gender. We all know that! I’m referring to the difference between a guy and a man worthy of admiration.
I have a vested interest in this distinction because I have two boys who will hopefully someday grow up to be men who are admired. Last weekend I went to buy the kids new backpacks to start the upcoming school year, and as I gave the bags to the boys I realized I needed to give them both something more. I needed to give them definitive rules to live by whether they are in school, playing sports, at a party or simply hanging out at home.
It’s my plan to read these rules to my boys at the start of every school year and to post the rules in the house to help remind them, just in case they forget!
One-Be a leader.
Anyone can follow. It’s harder to be a trailblazer, but it’s more rewarding. Leaders make history. Followers read about history.
Two-Choose your words wisely.
You cannot take back things you say, so try not to say anything you may later regret. This includes gossip. Gossip is for small people. Be big.
Three-Cruelty is for cowards.
It is never brave to bully, belittle, banish or berate. Be kind to everyone you meet. Don’t exclude people and if you see someone being excluded take the extra step to include them.
Four-Principles aren’t flexible.
If you bend a value it will break. You cannot lie a little, cheat a little, gossip a little, steal a little or hurt a little. Forget the word little when it comes to keeping your values. Values are big and keeping them can be tough but worth it.
Five-Don’t be fooled by a beautiful exterior.
The inside might just be rotten. Get to know someone from the inside out.
Six-Everyone is not a winner.
I’m sorry but it just isn’t so. In the game of life there are losers and winners. Strive to be a winner, but never discount what you can learn from your losses. Real winners get to the top by analyzing what didn’t work and turning the weakness into a strength.
Seven-Your difference is what makes you unique.
Don’t sweat it if you aren’t in the popular crowd. Uniqueness often equates to greatness and very often is misunderstood until it is recognized and revered.
Kindness cost you nothing and gives you more back than money can ever buy you.
Nine-Be a rubber band.
No one is ever right all the time. Know this. Remember this. And learn to be flexible and recognize when you need to give a little.
Ten-Emotions don’t make you weak.
They make you human. Don’t be embarrassed if you are sad or afraid. Be glad that you are smart enough to understand these are normal human emotions, and then go find someone to talk to about how you feel.
These are my rules (for now). I’m sure I’ll end up adding to them as the boys grow older. What rules do you live by or raise your children by?
*Picture Quote from Present Outlook website.