The man inside the boy

I hope this one doesn’t embarrass the Boy, but I have to talk about how proud I am of him.

My son can be a challenge.  Don’t believe me?  Go read this one about the Boy and his argument with kitty litter, then come back.  So, yeah, he’s a challenge.  But he’s also an incredible kid, smart and handsome.  And funny as hell, with a razor-sharp wit.

He’s also turning into a man.  I see it almost daily, the changes.  And while it’s hard to see your kids grow up, because you know the next stage is them heading off to live their own lives, at the same time, it’s a wonderful thing to behold at times.

I’ve said it time and time again, how lucky we are to have the two kids we have.  Yes, they have their ups and downs, yes they can be frustrating as hell.  But really, when I hear and see what other parents go through with their own kids, I can’t help but be thankful for how my kids turned out.

They’re good people, both of them.

But last night my son did something that really impressed me.  It may seem to be a little thing to anyone else, but it got to me.

He called my wife and I together to talk about something.  Something serious.

Believe me, as a parent, it’s hard to not immediately react when your kid says he wants to talk about something serious.  There’s a lot of possibilities behind those two words.

But he very calmly and very maturely talked to us about if we thought it was okay for him to start dating.

Again, there’s a lot of stuff loaded into that last sentence… I’ll try and capture all of them.

The first thing that stuck out for me was, how many kids actually even consider asking their parents?  My guess is, not many, considering what I’ve seen kids do to not get discovered, just in my neighbourhood alone.  So the fact that he asked was, in and of itself, impressive for me.

The next thing to hit me was the respect factor.  So not only was he asking, it was how he asked.  Did we think it was okay.  Not, “can I date?”  Not, “God, I’m old enough to date!”  Not, “I don’t care what you say, I’m dating!”  No, he asked our opinion.  I shouldn’t be surprised, as our kids actually seem interested in getting our opinion on a fair range of topics, but still.

And then there was the maturity factor.  Basically, what it translated out to for me was, if he’s mature enough to come to his parents and ask, he’s likely mature enough to handle it.

That last one still concerns me a bit, but that’s the parent speaking.  I know a lot of his friends have been dating for a while.  Hell, a lot of his peers (not necessarily his friends) have been getting drunk and stoned for quite a while.  He’s made a conscious choice not to.

But dating is such a minefield.  Then again, maybe that’s just me, because I was terrible at asking girls out, deathly afraid of rejection and lousy at asking them out.  Kind of like Navin in The Jerk (a video I seem to be unable to locate through YouTube…go figure!).

I’ve seen the drama and the trainwrecks and the stupidity of some of my kids’ friends who are dating and it’s either an excuse to get laid, or they’ve become sickeningly stupid (not liking the person anymore, but not wanting to break it off), or they keep dancing around in circles (break up, make up, break up, make up).

But I don’t think the Boy will get himself into those particular knots.  He doesn’t seem to have the patience for that crap.  After all this time, I’ve only really got a few small pieces of advice for him.

  1. Treat her well.  You don’t own her, nor does she own you.  So treat her with respect.  If she doesn’t reciprocate, run away.
  2. Pick someone you like to be around, not someone who’s hot (though if both things apply, well…bonus!).  Bottom line, at this age, many of the hot ones know they’re hot, and they’ll smoke you like a cigarette and toss you aside.  Or someone else has targeted them and it becomes a pain in the ass.  Hang out because you want to, not because she looks good on your arm.
  3. If you’re having fun with them, then stick with it.  If it’s 24/7 drama, run away.  You don’t need that shit at any age.
  4. As long as you like her and she likes you and all of the above applies, don’t give a shit about what your peers are saying.
  5. Most importantly, pick someone you can be yourself around.  If you have to act different when you’re with her, you’ll never be able to relax with her.  Run away.

And the amazing thing is, somehow, I think he knows most of this already.

He’s a smarter and more mature kid at this age than I ever was.  I don’t tell him enough, but I’m really proud of him.


10 thoughts on “The man inside the boy

  1. How old is your guy? Frankly, he sounds like a mature, thoughtful young man. No surprise, considering his parents. Good job, Mom and Dad.

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