He sits in readiness. Hat in place. Smile securely fastened to his cheery little face. Eyes bright with excitement. He is off for an adventure with his Daddy.
At 4 years old, my son loves to be a little man. If his daddy wears a hat, then so does he. If daddy needs a hammer, then so does he. My husband encourages his interest by giving him jobs to do. Some are easy, some are harder. Nathan tackles each of these tasks with utmost importance because afterall, he is helping!
I think it is so important to foster and develop these traits in our young boys. They want to be men. Real men. And it takes training for them to become just that. It ultimately takes TIME.
I feel so blessed that my husband is self employed and does most of his work in the construction, mechanical and woodworking field. (with a bit of animal husbandry thrown in- 17 puppies anyone? ;) calves?) I know there are many lines of work that aren't as condusive to having a tag-a-long running about. But even so, I think dad's ought to be more involved in their son's training and raising. Boys are going to look up to someone, why not have it be their father? If Dad is busy designing and mapping out a building site, show the little fellow how you are doing it. Have him help use the ruler and draw the lines. If dad is balancing budgets and bank accounts, show how to use a calculator and have him enter the numbers for you. Whatever area you can involve your son and help him to feel important and a part of the family unit, DO it.
Teach them how to show respect to their mother and their sisters and to their elders. Show by example how to be polite and courteous. Little boys mimic all they see- you want it to be good stuff!
So as my little guy is out helping dad and grandpa paint a rental house interior today, he is learning how to mask off the windows and switch plates, lay plastic on the floor, turn on the paint sprayer and mixer and then, while daddy is doing the actual painting, he'll probably be off playing with his little Bobcat forklift, moving bits of wood and rocks around, playing in his own imaginary little world. (And eating the giant lunch Mommy packed along. ;)
And he'll come home tonight, brimming with happiness, telling me about everything he did today. And I'll be proud. And I'll tell him how happy I am that he was such a good helper and he'll beam up at me with a big, shy smile and lean in for a cozy hug. Because, he's still a little boy, and he needs lots of love and nurturing from his Mommy too. :)