When You Doubt Your Sons Learn Your Life Lessons

(Inside: One way to build your confidence as a mom.) 

"I don't get it. What does chivalry mean?" My 9-year-old son asked me from the back seat of our van. 

His friend chimed in, "Yeah. Me too. I don't get it either..."

With my hands on the steering wheel, I edged into our garage and answered: “It's when a boy shows kindness by taking care of a girl, even though he knows the girl can do things for herself. For example, it’d be chivalrous if you would carry in my bags or open the door for me as we enter the house.” 

A month passes by… 

That same friend, my 9yo and I are shifting things around my son's bedroom so his friend has a place to sleep. (Bring on the slumber party.) With the blow-up bed tucked under his arm, my husband steps into the room. My eyebrows furrow, 
“I know you need to work late tonight. Let me set up the bed, you get your stuff done.” 

My husband rolls out the thick plastic and centers it uniformly in the room. He smiles at me and says, “No, I don’t mind doing it.” 

And then, like the sweet music of the oldies station (which I just discovered the current oldies station is the music from my youth and I'm slightly disturbed by this
), my 9yo son's friend announces to the entire room...

“See, that’s chivalrous.” 

Look. I know we have to daily reintroduce our kids to a toothbrush, loading the dishwasher and other things they refuse to learn. Yet we all have moments like mine when the Red Sea parts in our own home and our kids (and maybe even their friends) remember an important conversation that happened an entire 31 days ago. 


They are hearing our words.

Somewhere between the nerf gun bullets flying around the house and the youngest brother locked under the crook of his older brother's arm, they are paying attention.

Let's leverage this. When we're knee deep in parenting challenges and feeling like maybe we should just get a manicure because at least our nails would look pretty as we go down in the parenting failure flames, we can stop...reach back into our brain and unleash the memories of successes we've experienced over the years. One by one, we let the memories tell the story of all the things our kids are championing because of our guidance that they heard and put into action. 

Then we feel it...

...the confidence washing over us with blessed strength. 

So we keep moving forward. 


Because our little people are watching and listening and learning. After all, they do sometimes carry in our bags or open the door for us. 

We taught them that. 

We do important work.

PS - Bear Gryll's show is a boy mom's dream. I mean, I couldn't get any member of my family to watch Beauty and the Beast with me. And forget Frozen. One son actually thinks Frozen is what the F-Word means. ("All that singing, mom!") So to find a show that entertains both me and my family - golden. When the book To My Sons by Bear Grylls came out, I snatched it up. This is something the whole family will enjoy. Each page has a simple idea or quote that prompts table talk at meal times. I love the family connection it promotes.(But then, of course, we sometimes chew our food silently with glazed-over looks. We can't nail conversation all the time.)

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  1. Awesome, as always, Cheryl. Love your blog!

  2. You keep me chuckling through the whole thing even while inspiring me, that's a gift! Thank you!

    1. I am soaking in your kind words. Thank you. :)