This is the post that got me through to the Final 3! Thanks so much to everyone who has voted along the way. I actually didn’t think I’d get this far, but I’m in it to win it now!
Thinking about family traditions and values is tougher than it should be. My life has been in constant transition for more than two years now. I’d like to think it will settle down soon, but until then, my blended family hasn’t established any notable traditions. Does that make us a bunch of self-serving heathens? No. We’re just busy surviving the changes.
Growing up, my family had Christmas and other holiday traditions surrounding meals and the exchanging of gifts, but as we’ve all grown up and have families of our own, this has become difficult to maintain. And although Karin and I are not specifically Christian, we celebrate Christmas with gifts and generosity of heart. We celebrate the newness of the earth ushered in with each vernal equinox. We read and sing to our boys every night, and share three things we’re grateful for at the end of the day. These are the seedlings of our family’s traditions.
We also share many core values: honesty, equality, non-judgment, kindness, Love. And we try to impart these to our kids. Together, we have three boys, all very different from each other, but we are doing our best to raise gentle, kind, understanding, critically thinking, “real” men: men who will appreciate the people and things in their lives, men who will honor women, men who will have no need to conform to the precepts of society.
I grew up in a nuclear family: dad, mom and three sisters. My dad admittedly didn’t know how to be the best dad the world has ever seen, and that’s OK. I think I turned out alright. Because even though my dad might not have been nominated for Dad of the Year, I had my mom. They were a team. My mom never told me I couldn’t play dress-up with my sisters. She let me cry when I needed to let it out. She even bought me a baby doll when I was a toddler. I was a sensitive kid, and she didn’t just tolerate it or accept it. She honored it.
I don’t know many guys who would admit to things like that. I don’t parade around talking about it, but I don’t hide it, either. It’s part of who I am, and I kinda like that guy.
My parents also treated each other with respect. Sure, they had arguments and disagreements, but they were never mean, ever. Not in front of us, anyway. See, a real man treats women with respect. A real man demonstrates dignity and integrity when communicating with his partner. A real man shows affection and admiration for the person he chooses to commit his life to.
And when a real man becomes a dad, he doesn’t tell his sons, “Crying’s for babies.” He doesn’t withhold hugs and cuddles from his boys just because they’re boys. He doesn’t tell them to “suck it up” or “get over it” when they’re feeling hurt. And he never tells his sons in a disapproving tone, “that makes you look like a girl.” Like being a girl is a bad thing? No, he’s patient, caring, thoughtful, compassionate, understanding and strong. He’s a quiet leader, not a booming bully.
I still have a lot to learn about being the real man in my household, and we have a lot of years of establishing and strengthening family traditions ahead of us. But my family has a tradition of raising good men.
That’s a tradition I’d like to preserve.
~ Chris, from the bungalow
“I wasn’t quite sure where you were going with this from the first two paragraphs but i was interested and wanted to keep reading. A tradition of raising good men is a great one. I like your twist on this assignment. really ejoyed reading it! 🙂 ”
Ericka, from Good Job Momma
“There is nothing better a woman likes to hear than a man who knows how to be respectful and strong at the same time. An excellent tradition indeed.
I would say that I agree with Erica’s initial comment. It was a bit of a meandering start. Perhaps next time jump straight into what you are writing the piece about and try trimming out the ‘fat’ even if you think it lends a nice flavor. ”
Allison, from AllisonDDuncan.com
“I agree and disagree with what Allison said about trimming out the fat. I think that it did the post well to have a little back story, but at the same point, it showed that you struggled with what to write about. That being said, I love the point of this post. In today’s world, raising good KIDS, whether they are turning into ladies, or gentlemen, should be a much bigger priority than it is. (And I wasn’t emphasizing ‘kids’ to imply that you left out the girls…. I was just making a point…lol. I just wanted to make sure you knew I wasn’t trying to have a snarky, sarcastic undertone.)”
Heather, from My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream