Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Why do little boys love to be with big boys? Are they learning how to be 'big'? This half term we have had the pleasure of visiting our Southern Element. Well, once we arrived it was pleasurable but as always, long journeys with 3 boys squished into the back of the car needing the toilet or another book / biscuit / sweet / drink are not even mildly enjoyable (torturous was the word that sprang to mind). "Muuuuuum, he hit me again", "Muuuuuum, he keeps leaning his head on me" or "Muuuuum, how much longer?" do not make for a pleasant afternoon drive.

The Southern Element consists of my brother, my sister in law, their beautiful daughter (and my one and only niece) and their 2 lovely sons. The oldest boy is now 13 and growing into manhood. (Yes, I know you are reading this.... but it's true!). He has always been by far the oldest grandson of our whole brood of 9 grandsons and 1 grand-daughter and is therefore admired and exalted to a position of hero by all the other boys in the family. He rises well to his challenge and takes on all the bundles that are thrown his way.

On this particular occasion Toby was overawed by his cousin's teenagehood. Not only did he have an X-Box in his own bedroom, but he also had amazingly cool music to listen to. Toby followed him around like a little lamb following it's shepherd, watching his every move, listening to the exact tone of voice he used and the exact phrases that came out of his mouth. How exciting must it have been to be Toby, standing in the shadow of his hero for a whole 24 hours!

Toby has come home with a whole new way of living, speaking, wearing clothes, playing and has made new requests of downloading 'good tunes' onto his mp3 player. He wants to be 13 and he wants to be 13 now. Thankfully, this will fade until the next time he sees his idol.

This has made me ponder about role models. Boys need them, and they need good ones. A Dad is, of course, the first port of call, but what if the Daddy is not there? Or if he does not show his son how to make good choices or how to control his anger? Even if the Dad is there, sometimes other men will need to help out and be mentors in different situations. Boys will always find someone to follow, to look up to and to teach them how to be a man. Our job as parents of boys is to find the right men for them to follow and to guide them towards those men. If we fail to recognise their absolute need for a male role model then we fail in our mission of bringing them up to be men. This is a vital part of our parenting and one which I hope we will be able to do as our boys grow up into their teen years and beyond.

No comments: