“Boys will be boys.” Spend enough time around boys, and you’ll hear that phrase repeated—but it isn’t a compliment. People say it to explain away bad attitudes or bad behaviors in our sons. Sadly, many of these stereotypes are well-earned. But this is precisely where we come into play, why there are habits dads need to teach their sons.We need to teach our boys how to rise above the stereotypes.
We need to teach our boys how to rise above the stereotypes so they are able to exceed what people expect of them. We need to cultivate qualities in our sons that will turn them into good men. Here are 5 habits dads need to teach their sons.
Thinking of Others
It’s hard to argue that a number of boys in our society speak poorly and act selfishly. It often comes as no surprise when boys curse or leave their seats in the movie theater a mess. The first habit dads need to teach their sons is to be intentionally kind. This means looking for every opportunity to show care and concern in the way they speak and act. They should know that we expect them at the very least to be polite and to pick up after themselves.
Being Willing to Try New Things
Most of us can remember the period during which our sons became fascinated with all that we did, and wanted to try all of it for themselves. And so, we found ourselves washing the car, mowing the lawn, building a set of shelves, and even unclogging the toilet with a small assistant at our side. As they grow older, our sons tend to lose that sense of wonder and curiosity. This can allow them to descend into a rut of doing the same things over and over again. One of the habits dads need to teach their sons is a willingness to step out to try new things: new foods, new hobbies, and new adventures.
In January 2018, Lias Andersson served as captain of a Swedish hockey team competing in the World Junior Championships. At the end of the gold medal game in which his team was defeated by Canada, Andersson angrily threw his silver medal into the crowd immediately after it had been awarded to him. What Andersson did in that moment expressed the feeling many of us have when we lose: We hate it. It is important that we teach our sons to lose well and not to miss the lessons that can be learned from losing.
Having Good Hygiene
Most boys I know have a habit of playing hard. This can mean playing hard at sports and working up a sweat. It can also mean getting so engaged in a video game or other game that they lose track of time. The net result, in either case, is that boys can tend to neglect self-care, forgetting to shower, to apply deodorant, and the like. We need to teach boys to be good stewards of their bodies and to take care of themselves. This, in turn, will help boys to break the stereotypes surrounding their hygiene.
Loving People, Using Things
We live in a culture that gets this backward. The advertising and marketing machine goes out of its way to convince our sons of our essential need for more, newer, trendier things like phones and cars. The pornography industry teaches them that people are a commodity to be used. Among the most important habits dads need to teach their sons is what it means to put these back in the right order. Obviously, this means explaining the dangers of porn to them, but it can even be something as simple as asking them to look women in the eyes (and not at their chests). Once they learn what it means to love people, the other things likely will fall back into their rightful places as things to be used.
Sound off: What are some other habits dads need to teach their sons?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one good habit you would like to do every single day?”