When I was in college, the dining hall was the place to hang out. On one particular morning, I was heading in for a quick bite to eat before class when I was stopped by an argument taking place in the doorway. A young man was holding open the door for a female student, who was yelling at him. I thought he had done something wrong, and clearly, the woman believed he was guilty of something. But I quickly realized that all he’d done was hold open the door for her.
It’s confusing being a man in today’s world. Some say being a gentleman demeans women. Men can’t be strong without suggesting that women are weak. Men either need to be emotionless or express their feelings just like women. All of those messages leave our boys wondering what a good man looks and acts like. So it’s up to us to guide them. Here are 5 life lessons to teach your son about how to be a good man.
Gentlemen offer to open doors for women. They offer to pay for meals on dates. They offer their coats for warmth and their arms for support. Their offer might be refused, but that’s the girl’s choice. iMOM’s free printable showing 5 things moms should teach their sons about how to treat girls is a great visual tool.
Boys, being a gentleman means always offering and then respecting the woman’s choice.
2. Girls might date bad boys, but they marry good ones.
This is one of the life lessons to teach your son in order to protect his future. Many girls go through a “bad boy” phase in high school. I’ve known wonderful boys who have been tempted to make poor choices and even break laws to impress a girl who’s in her bad boy phase. The reality? The phase will end, and the girl will want to settle down with a nice guy she can introduce to her parents. By then, the bad boy is no longer a good candidate because he now has a bad reputation, or worse, a criminal record.
Boys, don’t compromise your values to impress a girl who’s in a phase.
3. Emotional intelligence is attractive.
A man who has no emotions at all or has no control over his emotions is a major turn-off for women. Having emotions is a sign of being human; being able to name and control those emotions is a sign of being a mature human. Women will be attracted to a man who understands his emotions because it makes him more likely to understand other people’s emotions. A man who is an emotional mess or emotionally distant appears immature and less capable of having a strong relationship.
Having emotions is a sign of being human; being able to name and control those emotions is a sign of being a mature human.
Boys, emotions are good. Your way of recognizing, expressing, and controlling them will be unique to you as men.
4. There are no tasks that are beneath you as a man.
I’m convinced that men who occasionally (or regularly) wash the dishes or put away the laundry have happier marriages (and better sex lives). Men who are willing to make thoughtful sacrifices are extremely attractive to women. When a man is capable of putting another person’s needs before his own, he shows that he is thoughtful, considerate, and loving. A friend of mine once told me that seduction doesn’t start in the bedroom with a kiss—it starts in the kitchen with freshly washed plates.
Boys, doing traditionally “feminine” tasks does not make you less manly. It actually shows strength and confidence.
5. It’s admirable to be strong, but we all have weaknesses.
“Strong” is a loaded word today and it’s often used improperly. Being strong means being able to support other people. It means making good choices even when it’s difficult. Being strong means being able to carry a weight, but it also means recognizing one’s own weaknesses and overcoming them either through perseverance or humility.
Boys, men who are strong know their own weaknesses and use them as opportunities to grow in character.
What are some of the most important qualities you want to instill in your son?