There Is Gentle

13 Responses

  1. I always assumed I’d have daughters. Primarily, I think because in my family the women do so much better than the men. And yet… I had two boys instead. And while they are definitely testosterone-infused, they are also sensitive, artistic, compassionate souls.

  2. Jess says:

    I love, love, LOVE this. One of “my” babies- the ones I nannied for- was an incredibly sweet little soul like Paco. I remember taking him to an amusement park when he was 5 or 6 and they had an inflatable slide that was made to look look like an upended Titanic. I kid you not, you slid down the deck [Even more horrifying? I just google-imaged “inflatable slide sinking ship,” thinking it was some crazy one-off; it was not.] Will just stared at it and said, “Jess, don’t you think that would make people kind of sad to see that? Why would they make that into a ride?”

    Of course he also threw me over as soon as he discovered kindergarten girls after proposing to me multiple times when he was 4 so he wasn’t THAT sensitive. When I pretended to be indignant about “the other woman (5-year-old Susie),” he told me that I could be their nanny. 😉

  3. Friko says:

    Dear, sensitive, old Paco. As you say, a lot of his sweet nature is down to nature and nurture, Mum and Dad being the kind of parents who foster gentleness.

    Both my son and my -now – husband are like that, ‘honorary women’ I call them. Although there are some right bitches among the female persuasion too.

    At the same time, it doesn’t do to be too smug and self-congratulary, fate has a way of smacking you right between the eyes when you least expect it. I know several families whose sons/daughters have gone ‘off the rails’ as teenagers and one can only hope that their departure from the cosy, middle-class path is hormone-related and temporary.

    Mind you, my son, who is now a responsible father himself, and has never knowingly harmed a book, occasionally regrets that he missed out on the rumbunctious hijinks period of his life. I sincerely hope the male menopause Sturm and Drang will also pass him by.

  4. Maria says:

    I was TERRIFIED that my daughter, Liv, would be a boy. I didn’t even pick out a boy name. And the SECOND I could know the sex, I did. I grew up in a family of girls with one very kind, gentle Da who died when I wasn’t even 10 years old yet. I had seen up close and personal how easy it was to string boys along when I was in high school and had once witnessed my cousin beat his brother bloody over a FORK choice. And then, an hour later, they were bonding again. Boys were just…weird. I also know that most men are behind the violence of this world. I once got in an argument with a priest who said that God was punishing “gays” with AIDS when I pointed out that lesbians had the lowest incidence of AIDS. Did he think that maybe God just loved lesbians more than everyone else? And he replied that men were just the weaker sex when it came to sexuality. Dumb shit. But, I was still wary of having a boy. I still am. But, my bff has three sons and she tells me that she’s had a rougher time with her two daughters, that girls are more prone to sulk and be “sneaky mean” while boys get over it fast and one punch and they’re fine. So…I guess it’s all in the raising. Or the temperament. Psychological studies show that when breaks up occur, the men tend to be the most heartbroken, not the girls. Yet, the boys tend to jump right back on that horse much more quickly. So, yeah…I am totally baffled.

  5. lime says:

    and when i think of what has been done to the gentle men and boys of the world in different times and places it makes me weep for their loss and ours as a result. bless paco.

  6. I have boys that swing both ways if you well–testosterone-driven and all-boy at times, but also tender-hearted. Come to think of it, that’s my husband, too. One thing is for sure though, every member of this house knows how many points are in a touchdown 🙂

  7. kmkat says:

    I love this. My boys were not so much gentle as quiet. No significant boisterosity, thank goodness. Had they been noisy and bouncy and whacking-things-with-sticks they might not have survived childhood.

  8. What a beautiful post this is. I loved your honesty and humour. That’s why I’ve become a regular of your space. I have a boy of 15 and I can attest to what you have written. Get them to show their emotions early and not to be afraid of exploring their feminine side. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  9. Mike M says:

    Thanks for stopping by my ‘blog’.

    We had two girls and a boy, the eldest girl, now 37, well, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. The youngest, now 25, was Sherman through the South. The boy was quiet, smart, un-athletic, bookish….right up until he was 19 and joined the Army, infantry, Rangers and Special Forces. I thought I’d worried a lot about the girls, esp. the youngest when they were teenagers, but it was nothing compared to the three deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    No argument about violence being male-dominated. Tomes have been written about the ‘whys’, but we don’t seem to get any forrarder, do we?

  10. Bijoux says:

    What a lovely post! My son is also the type who would just look at me when he was confronted by boys who were hanging off of shelves. My husband insisted that our son try out every sport till he found one that he liked. He chose tennis because it didn’t involve being on a team of other boys!

  11. Ann in NJ says:

    My gigantic, wild-haired 18 yr old boy… is a big teddy bear with a huge soft spot for babies. You’d say he was scary-looking except he usually has a big smile on his face. His sister is also sweetness, though not nearly as comfortable with babies, and their younger brother is stereotypically all-boy except he is not competitive and really hates conflict. But he is ACTIVE. You’d probably never guess they were all birthed and raised by the same parents. I do say thanks periodically for being able to raise them in this time and place (despite all the cultural issues that we deal with).

  12. Meg says:

    I was secretly glad my second was a girl, too, because I just didn’t know what I’d do with a boy. Oddly, though, I have such a soft spot for the boys I teach at Sunday school and the middle school boys I coach in Science Olympiad. There is such a sweet awkwardness to them – kind of like puppies.

    When I read about violent acts by individuals, I nearly always think first of their mothers; how sad they must be; how devastated that their once-sweet babies could have committed such acts. It’s not easy raising children.

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