mother and son

Teaching Your Kid To Appreciate Beauty Will Make Them A Better Adult

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raising-a-sonThere is so much involved in raising kids-just when you think that you’re off the hook because you’ve kept them alive throughout infancy, you’re forced to do other stuff with them too, like enrich their minds and foster creativity and make sure that they turn out to be romantic human beings. Wait what?

Well, a romantic son. I keep looking and looking for how to raise my daughter into a romantic human being, but there just isn’t any good resource. Not so if you have a boy, according to Liz Dow, who urges us all to try in her post Raising a Romantic Son.

My first reaction to this post was my usual squicked out feeling that I get when mothers begin to wax philosophic about being their sons’ first love and telling slutty tramps to get their hands off of him. After all, in the very beginning, the author relayed a moment where she is waltzing with her son in the backyard, saying,

“Romantic moments don’t just happen with your husband. If you are open to it, romance is all around you.”

In truth though, the post isn’t squicky at all, just kind of confusing. Romance has a lot of definitions, and the one the author is talking about is that “quality or feeling of excitement of the mystery of everyday life,” as opposed to the roses and candlelight kind, which is why it’s weird that she seems to phrase parts of the post to the latter definition.

Overall, the author has a nice message and if you do want a romantic son you’re in luck because she’s shared her secrets with us. Basically all you have to do is “Create the setting”, “explore the backyard”, “teach him art”, “travel to historic sites”, and “respect imagination”.

With the exception of “travel to historic sites”, most of these are just common sense, no? I mean, we’ve gone to historic sites, but nothing quite as thrilling as the author’s trips to England to visit the ruins of Camelot. Mostly these elicit boredom, something I expect will change as my daughter gets older. Not everyone can pack up and go to see some English ruins or the Antebellum south though, but I doubt your child’s sense of wonder will be ruined if you can’t afford to make it to Graceland this year.

Other than that, she makes a good point. If you teach your kid to appreciate the world around them, chances are they’ll eventually grow to be a person who isn’t completely awful, to everyone’s combined benefit.

I’d like to point out, though, that it isn’t just boys who benefit from lessons in not sitting on the couch and becoming slowly jaded by the onslaught of dark life lessons taught to them through the television and computer. We should be doing this for all kids. I do appreciate  her desire to want her son to be an kind and fully functional adult who is capable of maintaining relationships with other people, a welcome change from the never ending stream of “stay away from my son with your whorish tube tops and evil vaginas, ladies, he’s taken!”

Ultimately she signs off by saying, “My son is 25 now. When he tells me about his rich conversations with his girlfriend and how they explore ideas and cities together, I think the lessons had a lasting effect. He continues to see the romance all around us.”

That’s a sweet thought, and she’s probably right.

(Image: Studio 1One/Shutterstock)

12 Comments

  1. Ursi

    May 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I’m very skeptical of this kind of thinking. I believe that some people have an inately romantic view of the world and some people simply don’t and you can’t teach it.

    As an extremely non-romantic person I can assure you, I love to travel and I love to experience things. I also try to keep as grounded in the practical as possible. I do hold a certain level idealism about these life experiences but romance doesn’t enter into it.

    As for romantic love, well lets just say I made it through my teenage years without a belief in soul mates or true love and although I was definitely a free spirit I didn’t need notions of romance to sustain that.

    Basic compatibility, practicality, teamwork, and common life goals was as much a part of my decision to marry as it was the fact that I loved him– I mean if it’s just love, why bother to get married? You can love plenty of people. You’ve got to have the whole package, romance alone can’t sustain it. You’ve got to be good friends with a stable foundation to make it last. (Now if you can impart that to your daughters I’d say you’ve really got something)

    Call me cynical but I’ve still managed to live my life according to my own ideals, to have my freedom, to marry, to enjoy my work, and to plan future adventures without a lick of romantic sensibility.

    • Kendra

      May 6, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I’m not really a romantic type of person either. But, I wanted to agree about what to teach daughters about relationships. I have seen a lot of women (on fb) who are ready to throw their relationships (marriages or dating, whatever) out the window because someone forgot Valentine’s flowers. I feel like a lot of women forget that a good relationship is based on a good, solid friendship..and fucking communication. My god. Why don’t people communicate with the person they chose to live with forever!? I will never be able to understand that.

    • Rachel Sea

      May 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      I think natural romance can be quashed out of a kid. I would have been much more of a dreamer, I think, if my upbringing had been different. When I was small I wanted to be a travelling artist, but nice Jewish girls either marry doctors or lawyers, or they become them, and they stick around to care for the elderly relatives. Between that and the influence of my great-grandmother, who after two World Wars and the Depression, was so frugal she’d eat the entire apple, minus the seeds (which you save for planting) and stem (which is saved for firelighting), I became practical and grounded, sometimes to a fault.

  2. K.

    May 6, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Isn’t this just…common sense?

    I mean, I don’t disagree with the message (unlike a lot of other parenting advice out there), but the message appears to boil down to: don’t allow your kid to grow up staring at screens. I AM the sort of person that has an artsy-fartsy romantic way of interacting with the world, but I don’t think travel and backyard romps and like, basic tactility fall under the purview of us gooey romantics–my engineering friends are pretty non-poetic empirical types, but that doesn’t mean they’re not enthusiastic about the world or lack strong personal relationships. It’s not rocket science to say, “Gee, your kid should fingerpaint a little and do some sing-a-longs in his life and you should also allow him to run around in the park.”

    And the other part of me is (once again) suspicious of messaging that tells parents we have to ‘sponsor’ child’s play–“respect imagination”?? I was just going to shove my kid out the back door and tell him to play in the backyard, and, like all kids, he’ll use his imagination while playing (as he does now as a toddler and he goes outside to play)… I don’t see how I should “respect” imaginative play further than providing opportunity for it, unless I do what’s implied which is sit there and actively encourage it. Or Pinterest myself to death trying to build cities out of cardboard so he can play Godzilla. I mean, I’m all for that, but I’m more for handing the kid a pile of cardboard and HIM doing whatever with it.

    And of course, you’re right Theresa–why is this a message for boys and not all children?

  3. pixie

    May 6, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Yeah, I definitely think this should be done for all kids, not just boys.

    Growing up, my parents took me to museums, art galleries, historic sites, hiking in the conservation areas, let me play outside, encouraged me to draw and to make music, pretty much everything and more that this woman is saying boys need/should get. It didn’t necessarily instil a sense of romance in me, but it gave me an appreciation of nature and history and the arts. It allowed me to develop my imagination and learn to entertain myself for hours on end. I find a sense of beauty in nature and in history, and there are certain things that make me sigh in a girlish, romantic, candlelit dinner with my boyfriend way, but most of the time I just have an admiration for nature or history or the arts or whatever. It helped my love of learning and exploring. We were by no means wealthy, but my parents were still able to take me places nearby.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      May 6, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Me too. And one simple thing was we looked at nature; wildlife, trees, flowers. My parents pointed that out. My husband didn’t grow up that way and used to tease me about it, but now when my kids are like, “Mom, that birch tree looks like a unicorn” or whatever he has started to join us.

  4. SarahZigler

    May 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    My daughter always play with my cosmetic.. I think I will let it be.. Maybe It will build it confidence..

    my article : http://celcomplan.com/ways-to-encourage-young-writers

  5. allisonjayne

    May 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I guess I see her point, in that I guess a lot of boys aren’t taught about art or beauty or anything, but steered towards more practical things in a way that girls perhaps aren’t? I feel like there’s more of a push for girls to be well-rounded in a way that there isn’t as much for boys perhaps, likely because of what our society in general values…(practical things, things that will make you money).

  6. Valerie

    May 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Beth and Megan, where are ya’ll? This sounds like material for our Creepy Moms of Boys Society. Fire up the mini van and strap on the ladder!

    • noodlestein

      May 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      It’s Motherboy time!

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      #lovemyboys #lovethemforever #dontstopbelieving #rideordie

    • Valerie

      May 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      #yes

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