Sponsored post by Mirum. All opinions are my own.
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I push open the screen door on the back porch and take a step out. I look down, as I am searching for my flip-flops, the gray ones that I left by the back door earlier in the day, but they are no-where to be found.
Then it dawns on me: I know exactly where they are: on our middle son’s feet. I look into the basket that sits by the back door and I see his shoes there. I was right. I slide my feet into his shoes, planning on wearing them outside instead when I stop and realize something: they are too big.
This is the second time that this has happened to me… the second time that I have had a son whose shoes are now bigger than my own. It hits me again… that feeling that I try to push away, the reminder that my children are growing up so quickly.
It won’t be long before I have three teenage boys in our house. I am already raising boys who are not quite children anymore, yet not teenagers just yet. I have had time to think about the type of person that I want him to be and I realize that my window of opportunity slowly closes each day. I think about the type of men that I want them to be and what I still need to teach them.
I look at those shoes on my feet and push away the thoughts of how quickly they are growing. The irony of it all is that as I take a step towards the backyard, I see another pair of shoes in the distance and the thought quickly pops into my head “One day… the boy’s feet will be as big as THOSE ones. My husbands. Wait.. .when did he get those shoes?” And then I realize it… they aren’t my husbands. They are our oldest sons shoes. That time has come.
So, today I am sharing:
Ten lessons that I want our sons to know before they are teenagers.
1- Be Happy and Be Kind.
I tell our boys, daily, that happiness and kindness is the most important thing, and they go hand in hand. When you are kind, it makes you happy and makes others happy. I remind them that being mean or teasing someone is merely a way of saying “I am not strong enough to be kind, so I will make fun of others to lift myself up.” Talking about someone or putting someone down is done out of insecurity. Don’t be that person. Have enough faith and confidence in yourself to be kind.
2- Take care of your body – it’s the only one you get.
Eat right, go to the doctor when you need to, take time to relax, and for goodness sakes… take a shower every day. I let our children buy the kind of shampoo, body spray and deodorant that they want, which is AXE Gold & AXE Phoenix, because I want them to understand that smelling good isn’t just nice, it’s a must. They like to get a shower with Axe products because they like the way that it smells and the way that it feels. I know that if we buy Axe products, they are going to use it (AKA: they won’t fight me on taking a shower) ;). Plus, they want to be just like their dad. 🙂
You can pick it up at Kroger.
You have to take care of yourself, and you have to smell nice and be clean. You are a growing boy with hormonal changes: trust me on this one. Daily showers are a must.
3- Treat a lady like a lady.
Open the door for her, pay when you go out to eat, get her coat for her. If you respect someone and care about them, you do these things for them out of kindness. On the same note, don’t kiss her until she wants to be kissed and never tell anyone. Dating is sure to happen in these teenage years, and you must respect her completely. That means listening to her and keeping everything that she tells you between the two of you.
4. Don’t forget your manners.
Shake someone’s hand when you meet them – you don’t need to wait for them to reach out. Reach out to them instead. Look them in the eye, too. Say “Please,” “Thank You” and “Ma’am.” (We live in the south- it’s a respect thing here.).
Write a thank you note (Jackie Kennedy’s rule was always to have thank-you notes written within 24 hours. I have tried to follow that rule, as well, and I am now trying to teach my kids.)
5- If someone falls, help them up.
When our son was playing basketball with another kid, the other kid fell, and our son didn’t know what to do. He went over and stood by him, gave him his hat back and said: “Are you OK?” After that game, my husband taught him how to do the “one-arm-extension” as you pull up another person when they fall on the field or court.
A simple gesture that goes a long way as a team player. Take this lesson & apply it to all areas of life. If someone is carrying groceries out of the store, hold the door open for them. If someone looks lost, offer a suggestion. If someone needs a friend – be a friend.
5- ‘Humor’ someone today.
You might not think that your brother’s joke is funny… laugh anyway. Your mom may have told you the same story twice… listen anyway. It is called humoring someone, and you do it out of kindness.
We teach our kids this, and we give them examples. Then, we give them opportunities to try, as we whisper into their ears “Humor your little brother and watch while we beam with pride that you laughed at his joke!”
6- Laugh at yourself!
Don’t take yourself too seriously or others will do the same. Have fun! Be silly.
On the same note… while it’s great to laugh at yourself and have fun, be sure to remember “Work Before Play”. We use our Chores for Screen Time to teach our kids this rule of thumb:
7- Manage your money well.
We start teaching the kids about credit cards and debit cards when they are around seven years old. This gives us more than ten years to show them what we mean every time that we are out until they are out of high school.
“Look. These shoes are $70, but I know that I can get them for less if I wait for a sale. What would you do? You have $20 in your account. Would you get them now and put them on credit or wait and get them when they go on sale? If you get them on credit, you will probably owe more with interest, because I’m not sure how you will earn $50 in a month. What do you think?” Every single shopping trip is a lesson, and we have a lot of years to teach it.
8- Don’t let people put your family down.
Stand up for your brothers and sister. Stand up for your cousins. This is non-negotiable. Family comes first, always. Have each other’s backs. Friends come and go, but family is forever.
9- Always call your mom. She loves you more than you will ever know.
A mother’s love is strong and will stay strong forever. Call her and let her know where you are because she will worry about you.
10- Stand up for what you believe in, but not at another person’s expense.
If you are going to stand up for things like morals, family, and religion, be sure that you are secure in where you stand. Society is quick to cast the first stone, so be ready to defend what you believe in.
On the same note, have an open mind and be willing to hear other’s sides. You aren’t always right, so be willing to understand why the other person has a good point, too.
Ps- AXE Gold and AXE Phoenix make a great father’s day gift! Pair it with a t-shirt, loofah and chocolate chip cookies as we did.
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