Teaching My Son To Be A Modern Day Southern Gentleman

August 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm , by 

21 months.

“Jack, be gentle.”

Every time I tell my son that in an effort to help him transition his playful hits into gentle pats, I feel that I should also tell him to be nimble, quick, and to jump over the candlestick.

Of course, somehow I don’t think my son is yet qualified to jump over a candlestick.

His most recent accomplishment is graduating from a focused obsession on Elmo; now also including Ernie and The Count as part of his Sesame Street favorites.

“Five. Ah. Ah. Ah.”

Jack always says it so seriously. And he never actually counts before or after the number 5. Just 5. About three times in a row.

I love teaching my son new things. And fortunately, he loves learning from me.

It’s only natural as a parent to want to prepare your child to become everything you wished you were by the proper age. In particular, I am very aware that I am always thinking of how I can instill in my son how to be an all around gentleman.

(Because we live in Nashville, I feel the need to add the word “Southern” in front of the word “gentleman” to get the full effect.)

Even if right now the greatest lesson I can teach him is to not hit his friends like he’s in some kind of Toddler Fight Club

I look forward to the day when I start giving him advice on how to talk to girls. Because let’s face it: I’m good at it. (That’s how I met his mother.)

And though my skills as a handyman aren’t much better than the token goofball 1980′s sitcom dad, I think it will be really fun to (try to) teach him how to fix stuff around the house.

Just as important as knowing how to use a wrench and a power drill, I believe, is knowing how to keep a tidy house.

I’ve read enough trendy Ecards on Facebook to know that being a true, relevant gentleman in today’s culture means being very active in the household chores.

Yes, I want my son to be able to caulk a bathroom sink. But I also want him to be a natural at cleaning that sink along with the shower and toilets.

As for myself, I feel that I am really good at a couple things, and am fairly clueless on the rest.

That’s not how I want it to be for my son. I want him to be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of some.

On top of that, I believe it’s also largely up to me to teach him how to treat people with respect; thinking of them before himself, while at the same time being able to stand up and fight for himself when necessary.

I figure, too, that in my attempts to teach him all these things, I can become better at them myself.

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