Topical Tuesday: Raising Pansies
We’re in the middle of a several-week series called Topical Tuesdays, where you pick the topic and I make up answers. You can add your topic / question to the list by commenting on this post. Today’s question is submitted by Lauren Dyson:
Since you have three sons, what are you doing to make sure your sons don’t grow up to be wimpy pansies?
Let’s get one thing straight: I’ll never be mistaken for the Brawny paper towel man. I can’t grow facial hair, I don’t carry an ax, and the idea of running fifty yards to score the game winning touchdown makes me want a nap (I don’t think Brawny man plays football, but you get the drift). That said, I think we rip our kids off when we neuter their gender-specific identities and don’t teach them how to be men (or women) from a young age. No, I wasn’t the guy that freaked out if my kid was playing with his girl cousin’s baby stroller (Two years old? Okay. 12 years old? Not so much.). But I believe that Merriem and I have a responsibility to raise our young men to be men.
However, rather than turning this into a “do as I say” list, let me take this approach:
How to Raise a Pansy
by Danny Franks, a dad for 14 years tomorrow (happy birthday Jacob!)
- Always bail them out. Never let your kids own their own mistakes. Drive to Wal Mart at midnight to buy supplies for the science project due tomorrow that they conveniently forgot about. Make excuses to the coach on why they didn’t have their uniform, and somehow it’s probably your fault. Write notes to the teacher every day questioning every unacceptable grade they every get, and somehow it’s probably the teacher’s fault. (I subscribe to the Kevin Leman school of responsibility: “Pull the rug and let the little buzzards tumble.”)
- Maintain low expectations. Repeat one of these phrases frequently: “Boys will be boys,” “That’s a teenager for you,” or “Maybe they’ll grow out of it.” Don’t have a vision for their life. Expect them to figure it out for themselves. Let them dictate their lives and butt out, because you’re just the parent, after all.
- Make sure the world revolves around them. Let them call the shots on where you eat, where you go on vacation, and push their social commitments to the max. They need to know that the family will stop when their mood strikes. Cower and cave to every request they ever make, and respond quickly to every pout and tantrum, giving them what they want.
- Don’t teach them to honor women. Let them view girls at school as an object to be conquered rather than a heart to guard. Allow them to watch any movie, any TV show, or listen to any song that degrades women or promotes sex because “You can’t shelter them forever.” Don’t make them hold a door, clear a table, load a dishwasher, or put their clothes away for their mom. (You say that’s woman’s work, I say that you’re a freakin’ idiot and your wife should punch you in the throat.) Related to this…
- Let them walk all over their mom. Allow talking back, questioning, and disrespect. Settle for “good enough” when it comes to the way they honor their mother. Let them see you model disrespect and dishonor towards her. Let them treat her as their personal maid. (At our house, I tell my boys that they can talk to their mom that way, but they won’t talk to my wife that way. And then I send them on a scavenger hunt to find a soft place to sit until the pain passes.)
- Leave spiritual things to chance. Don’t put Jesus into real-world scenarios. Never pray for them. Never pray with them. Trust that they’ll read their Bible when they’re ready. Don’t challenge them to go deeper in their spiritual walk. Don’t make them go to church or get involved in a small group. And above all – never let them see you doing any of the above.
- Don’t have a vision for their life. React rather than respond. Don’t watch for what God is doing in them. Never challenge them to tackle great things. Be prouder of their high score on the PS3 than you are of their character.
- Never apologize. You’re the omniscient parent. You don’t make mistakes. You should not demonstrate humility, say “I was wrong,” and redirect your misdirected course of action. Don’t ever ask for forgiveness, and don’t ever acknowledge your sin as sin.
- Never show affection. If you’re going to raise a pansy, the quickest route is to stop the hugs and kisses early on. Don’t tell your sons you love them. Don’t let them see you show emotion. Don’t kiss ’em goodnight and trade fist bumps and tell them you’re proud of them. Don’t encourage them.
So dads, there’s gotta be a #10. What am I missing? What’s your best advice on raising a pansy?
Next week: What are some of the scriptural foundations for your philosophy of the First Impressions ministry?