I realized after I posted the advice for my daughters, that there is so much that I would want to say to my sons. Mothers have a special place in their heart for their sons. While the feminist movement has it's place, it has done quite the job at cheapening and emasculating men. As I watch commercials on TV and read news articles, I'm amazed at how often men are made to look like morons who wouldn't last a day in this world without women to baby them and provide for them. I want my boys to know that just as women are powerful forces to be reckoned with, so are they. The world would not turn without the men in our lives.
So here is the advice for the little men in my life, also split up into categories as I did for my girls.
-Cherish your priesthood. Just as women are endowed with the power to create, righteous men have been endowed with the power to act in His name.
-Don’t sell your integrity for something as cheap as money or the trivial approval of others.
-No matter what the world tries to tell you, values don’t change, only people do.
-Always be willing to give others the benefit of the doubt.
-When you’re struggling to love someone, step back and see them as someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister. (learned from watching your Grandpa Hawkes)
-Standing up for what’s right doesn’t get any easier as you get older if you never did it when you were younger.
-“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” (Bill Gates)
-Be cautious with your words. Once said, they can never be fully withdrawn no matter how sincere the apology.
ON BECOMING A MAN
-Make sure you always have a physical, emotional, and creative outlet.
-...and videogaming does not count as a legit hobby.
-A man’s masculinity will never shine brighter than when he’s changing a diaper or rocking a baby to sleep.
-The art of being a true gentleman is never old-fashioned and will never be outdated.
-Your father and both of your grandfathers blessed you with phenomenal examples of work ethic. Your father fried doughnuts at 4am for months to pay for my engagement ring. You are never too good for any type of work.
-I’d rather you be a B or C student with many interests and abilities than a straight A student with none.
-Develop athletic abilities that you can continue to enjoy as an adult.
-If you decide you don’t want to become an Eagle Scout, then so be it. But either way, stay involved in scouting.
-Having sisters offers you the opportunity to begin to understand the female mind. Seize the day.
-Don’t feel threatened by others with differences in opinions or lifestyles. I have felt the Spirit strongly in a mosque in Indonesia and seen beauty in a disfigured face. What good would Mahatma Ghandi been in India had he been Mormon? What would have been Mother Theresa’s scope of influence had she not been a nun?
-For heaven’s sake, please don’t believe things just because you’re told they are so. With everything from faith to politics, find out for yourself.
-Defend your siblings fiercely.
-Men are to stories about scars what women are to stories about their children’s births. Sit back, relax, and learn to smile and nod.
-Emergency preparedness is more than the hundreds of dollars you may have spent on portable toilets and MRE’s. It’s resourcefulness with what you already have.
HOME AND FAMILY
-Wrestle with your children.
-After you are married, move away from home and develop your own family culture, independent of the expectations of parents and in-laws.
-Tradition and culture have their place but don’t be afraid to break free from what’s not working for you.
-Open your eyes to the magic of childhood. They are not little adults and shouldn’t be treated as such.
-The evil nature of pornography cannot be overstated. It will shatter your wife's trust.
- Don’t be another child for your wife to have to care for. Man up.
-After you get married, your wife becomes the woman in your life. We (your parents and siblings) will move into the ring of extended family. Your family now comes first.
-Never let a day go by when your wife and children don’t hear you say, “I love you.”
-Greet your children with kisses, even your sons.
-Let your wife be involved in the financial well being of your home by managing the finances.
-You are the head of the home. But remember that there is a neck that turns the head. (Courtesy of My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
-If being a mother is your wife’s full time job, allow her sick days and vacation days, just as you would expect from your full time job.
-There are so many men who refuse to change diapers. So help me if you try to pull that crap on your wife. If you were a willing participant in the conceiving of the child, then you’d better be a willing participant in the caring of the child.
-Nothing endears a husband to a wife more than a man who really listens and talks. She often has little to no adult conversation throughout the day.
-Encourage your wife to pursue an education, hobbies, and a social life.
-A society is only as good as the mothers within that society. That being said, women are encouraged to be who they are by the men in their lives.
-When it comes to wooing women, never underestimate the power of a man who smells good.
-As you're dating, remember that women are the masters of disguise. I could tell you stories about some of the girls I knew.
-Be cautious (or better yet, steer clear) of the girls who are aggressive pursuers.
-Guard your virtue.
-Let women know that you want them to be virtuous. Back this up by complimenting her modesty and watching where you put your eyes.
-Never stop wanting to impress your wife.
-In a marriage, if each partner determines to have an 80-20 relationship (with themselves giving the 80%) instead of the usual 50-50, you’ll have a 160% marriage. (Advice given to your parents by their stake president when they were about to get married)
-Find a hobby to share with your wife.
-There is infinite wisdom in letting your wife get her hair done.
-After you’re married, keep female friends at a safe distance. Contrary to what the world will tell you, there’s no such thing as “healthy flirting” with other women after you’re married.
-Watch where you put your eyes. Women have a 6th sense when it comes to knowing where their husband’s eyes are.
-Just as men connect physically, women connect emotionally. Neglect her emotionally and you’ll have a void the size of the Grand Canyon in your marriage.
-Many women have a fragile self-esteem, especially after having a baby. Reassure her that you love it all- the stretch marks, the sagging skin… all of it. They are her battle scars that she earned while fulfilling the greatest measure of the female creation and bringing into this world what will be your greatest joy.
Well, that’s it. If I had to condense this all into one piece of advice, it would be to closely observe and model their own father. That would be enough to make them into every bit of the man I could ever hope they would be.