The Difference A Boy Can Make

Jun 30 21:00 2004 Staci Stallings Print This Article

Since the time my son looked at me just after he had pulled up to the small, ... ... end table I was sitting next to and then growled at me because I told him “No,” I’ve know that boys are

Since the time my son looked at me just after he had pulled up to the small,Guest Posting lopsided, dangerous end table I was sitting next to and then growled at me because I told him “No,” I’ve know that boys are different. I saw it in his face. I heard it in his growl, “Leave me alone, Mom. I’m fine!” I had heard about the difference before that, of course. I listened with laughter as Bill Cosby talked about the time he blew up the family stove by turning on the gas, waiting much too long, and then lighting a match. I listened to my aunt recall the time her son came home with a huge rip in both knees of his jeans. When she asked him how he did that, he told her with a shrug “sliding into second.” Seeing the look on her face, he added, “What? You didn’t want me to get out, did you?”

I was lucky I got some practice in the children department before God blessed me with my boy. I was lucky because I got some practice at saying “No” and doling out punishment. However, having two girls first anesthetized me into believing that I could handle all this parenting stuff. I should have known I was in trouble when my sister who has three boys told me when I was pregnant with my third child (no boys to that point in my calm, serene existence) that I needed to have a boy so I knew what the “real world” was like. I should’ve known, but how could I have? How, I ask you, can you ever understand the over-abundant ball of energy and adventure that is a boy—when you are a girl, and your children are girls, and you can’t imagine life any other way?

The answer is: You can’t! You simply can’t picture how enjoyable it will be for your little male offspring to climb onto the table and squat right on the edge so he can see how high up he is—not once but again and again despite your vehement protests and attempts to thwart him from that to-Mom-far-too-dangerous perching place. You can’t imagine how much fun it will be for him to climb first onto the shelf and then onto the printer and then onto the scanner above just to see what’s on the desk. You can’t comprehend how exciting it will be for him to stand on something with wheels and then reach for a stationery object five feet away just to see if you can. And you have no hope of fathoming how entertaining it is to open and then slam oven doors, dryer doors… ANY doors over and over again because he’s pretty sure that it’s going to go “BANG!” but he wants to check it out and make sure.

Until you actually have a boy, it seems like an old wives’ tale to you about how things in your house will get taken apart and torn up just to see how they work. Not to mention how thrilling water and stairs can be to your little guy who still seems so unsteady on his feet. Yes, as soon as your little tornado-man becomes mobile, his life quickly becomes one long, endless chain of getting into danger and being reluctantly rescued by Mom. Of course, he doesn’t see it as being rescued, he sees it as “Mom’s taking away all of my fun.” She just doesn’t understand how fun it is to whack sisters in the head with a hairbrush while they innocently watch television. She doesn’t get it that buttons are made to be pushed. She is clueless how interesting a simple trashcan can be and how you can never tell what is actually in there unless you take all the stuff out piece by piece until you get to the bottom!

Of course she doesn’t. She’s a girl. But he doesn’t know that yet. One day, if we are all lucky, he might. And at on that day he will not only see and understand the differences, he may even appreciate those differences. Just like Mom should now.

I think that’s why God gave us moms sons. To teach us that once in awhile it’s all right to break out of our safe, little, don’t-do-that existences and show us a whole new exciting wonderful world ready to be explored. Trees to climb. Trampolines to jump off of. Cars to drive. Rockets to build. Caves to investigate. Lakes to swim. Mountains to ski. Might we get hurt? Yes. Might we fall down? Yes. But think of all the fun we’ll have.

Many years ago I heard the story of a small boy I knew while I was growing up. One day his mother found him climbing nearly to the top of a very tall windmill at their home. Immediately she panicked trying to figure out how to get him down without a broken bone or worse. Before my son came along, I always thought of that story from the mother’s perspective. From that perspective I felt fear and danger and disaster looming. I thought of who I would call: his father, the law, the ambulance. Thoughts of what I would say and how I would say it to get him down swirled every time I heard the story.

Since I’ve had a son, however, I’ve had the insight to look at that journey up the windmill from the boy’s perspective and from that perspective, I don’t see fear and danger. I don’t think of all the trouble he has caused. No. From the boy’s perspective up on the windmill, I can see for miles in every direction. I can see things like I’ve never seen them before. I can feel the wind in my face, and it seems like the whole world is at my feet. Of course Mom is at the bottom yelling at me to get down, but from up here even that doesn’t matter because up here I’m free. To tell you the truth, it’s a perspective that I kind of like. Yes, a boy can make a huge difference—even in a mom.

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Staci Stallings
Staci Stallings

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