By Sarah Driscoll
1. Love his mother. He will learn to love like you love, and hate like you hate. So choose love for both of you. Devote yourself to it. Love with your whole heart and express that love each and every day. Then, someday down the road, you will see the way he loves his own wife, and know that you played a part in that.
2. Let him drive. Every child remembers the first time they drove on daddy’s lap. For that one moment, he will believe that he is just. like. you.
3. Teach him to be picky. Especially when it comes to women and burgers. Teach him to never settle.
4. Take him to a ball game. There is something about sharing a day of hot dogs, sunshine and baseball with your father.
5. Love with bravery. Boys have this preconceived notion that they have to be tough. When he is young, he will express his love fully and innocently. As he grows, he will hide his feelings and wipe off kisses. Teach him to be a man who rubs them in instead. It takes courage for a man to show love: teach him to be courageous.
6. Talk about sex. Sometimes, boys need to know that all men are created equal.
7. Teach him to be a man’s man. Show him how to be brave and tough around the guys. Then, remind him on the ride home that it is OK to cry.
8. Share secrets together. Communicate. Talk. Talk about anything. Let him tell you about girls, friends, school. Listen. Ask questions. Share dreams, hopes, concerns. He is not only your son, you are not only his father. Be his friend too.
9. Teach him manners. Because sometimes you have to be his father, not just his friend. The world is a happier place when made up of polite words and smiles.
10. Teach him when to stand up and when to walk away. He should know that he doesn’t have to throw punches to prove he is right. He may not always be right. Make sure he knows how to demand respect — he is worthy of it. It does not mean he has to fight back with fists or words, because sometimes you say more with silence.
11. Teach him to choose his battles. Make sure he knows which battles are worth fighting — like for family or his favorite baseball team. Remind him that people can be mean and nasty because of jealousy, or other personal reasons. Help him to understand when to shut his mouth and walk away. Teach him to be the bigger — the better — person.
12. Let him dance in tighty whiteys. Dance alongside him in yours. Teach him that there are moments when it is OK to be absolutely ridiculous.
13. Share music. Introduce him to the classics and learn the words to the not-so-classics. Create a rock band with wooden instruments, share your earphones, and blast Pink Floyd in the car. Create a soundtrack to your lives together.
14. Let him win. Sometimes he needs to know that big things are possible.