By Amina Qureshi, contributor
Everyone tells you that it is easier to raise a boy than a girl. They keep telling you that there is a lot at stake for a girl, and you really have to worry about her future.
But I’ve read a lot of books, and thought a lot about this, just as much is at stake for a boy. I have a boy, and I genuinely believe that how I raise him will impact his future monumentally.
One day, he will be the head of his household; he will be a father, and a husband. How often are we as parents raising our son’s for the position of being a husband?
We work on their education, their performance in sports, and we simply “let boys be boys,” yet we do nothing to teach them about the important role of being someone’s partner through the tumultuous journey of life.
I know my son is only eight-years-old, and becoming someone’s husband is decades away, but I think it’s important that I raise him now; into the man I want him to be. Whether it’s chit-chatting at a coffee shop, or leisurely strolling through the mall, I’ve heard consistent themes from many women. They all seem to be saying the same things about marriage. Those “things” are what I want to instill in my son.
Here are 5 lessons I hope to teach my son before he gets married:
- Make time for her.
Your wife is taking care of it all. Whether she is working, or a stay-at-home mom, more than likely she will be the planner, the cleaner, the cook, the caretaker—that’s a 24-7 job, which can be immensely exhausting. So son, remind her everyday (even if it’s in the simplest way) that she is loved and appreciated. I guarantee you there is not a woman in history that doesn’t welcome a little gratitude for her hard work. It’s easy to take her for granted, but don’t. In today’s world, smart phones have taken over every person’s literal existence. I don’t know what it will be like in 15 to 20 years when you get married, but please put down your phone and give her your undivided attention when she needs it.
Trust me, if she is on mummy duty all day, she will welcome the adult interaction.
- Do nice things for her, she will always melt
Flowers and chocolates will forever be sweet-smelling and sugary delights, but it’s the little things that will reach your wife’s heart. Imagine–she was up until 4 am with your newborn and you needed to be at work at 8. Why not wake up a little early and make her a cup of coffee. It’s so simple and it won’t cost you a thing. Just that 1-cup of coffee will let her know that you get it– it’s not easy managing a colic baby on zero hours of sleep. And you will thank me years from now when I have taught you how to make your own bed, pick up after yourself, leave the toilet seat down, and empty a dishwasher—it will be magical to see the glimmer in your wife’s eyes.
I promise you, if you do nice things for her, she will genuinely reciprocate.
- Always make her a priority
Yes, it’s true I raised you. It’s truer than true that I was there for you in every moment. I stood by you, I picked you up, and I cheered you on.
But I always think of an exert from Kahlil Gibran’s poem, On Children:
“They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.”
I am your mom, obviously that will never change—I’ll always be your biggest fan. But what has changed is that now you have a wife.
She is the one that will be sharing your life, your dreams, and your world.
Let her in, talk to her, and whenever you make a decision, make it with her.
She should be your support and strength. And remember, meeting someone half way is always better than not meeting at all.
If you make her number ONE in your life, she will always make you her number ONE too.
4.When she is upset, give her time and space, but never shut her out.
You had an argument, and you just can’t seem to agree. Give yourself and her time to cool off, but never walk away, and never shut her out.
I want to teach you to talk about your feelings, to deal with conflict, to always show RESPECT no matter what, and to never give up. Nothing good comes from walking away. Be open to resolution, and sometimes, if conceding means reaching a peaceful resolution, than that’s what you should do. Apologizing won’t make you less of a man; it will make you more of a human. Of course, you should never give up on your principles, but be malleable, be understanding, and be present.
- Smile often and laugh more
Life will have its share of ebb and flow, but nothing makes a day brighter than a smile or a good laugh. Keep things easy and mellow. Smile at her often, and she will surely smile back. Bring laughter in your home son, and I am sure that you will be happy.
In the end, I want you to be content, and nothing will make me prouder than to know that the girl you chose, the one that left her life as a daughter, as a sister, as an independent person is happy in your home. I will be satisfied in knowing I have raised a good boy.
More about Amina
Amina Qureshi was born in small town Cedar Falls, Iowa. She graduated from The University of Iowa in 2001 with a degree in journalism and marketing. She wrote for numerous newspaper around the state. After graduating, she moved to Chicago and worked for Xerox Corporation in their marketing department for two years.
In 2003, she married her husband who was just starting his residency in surgery. During her husband’s training Amina had two children and also took the time to do a masters in Clinical Psychology. In 2010, the family moved to New Orleans where her husband began working at Tulane. In her free time she volunteers at the school (when she can), enjoys going to the gym, and takes on the full time job of raising her three rambunctious children.
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