Friday, May 3, 2013

On Young Boys and Their Need for Male Mentors

Aiden and his mentor
The other day, as I was tucking Aiden into bed at night, we had our usual discussion. I told him how proud I was of him, how amazing I think he is, and how I think that he's kind, caring, and lovely to be around.

Just because.

After I finished singing  his praises, he said something that broke my heart and confirmed the fact that I know he needs male mentors... all at the same time.

"But... how about if I see my father and he doesn't recognize me anymore and he doesn't know who I am so he ignores me?"

Deep, deep, sigh.

I responded. The best way I knew how. With love and understanding and compassion and all the praises that I could muster up in three sentences.

"Aiden, your father could never forget you or who you are because you are amazing. Everyone who meets you -- even if it's just one time -- remembers you. People are so blessed and lucky to know you. And they don't forget you."

I tried.

But I can't replace his father.

Aiden's other parent has chosen to not be apart of his life, and I know that as his mother, I can not completely fill the void that may result because of this. I can teach Aiden that the world is filled with different types of family structures; I can make sure he knows that he is loved and cherished; I can make sure that he gets a damn good education; I can make certain that he's well-read and well-traveled and that his weekends are filled with swimming and soccer and kid-friendly outings. And I can work hard and go get my dream (and dream job!) in order to pay for all of these things.

But... I can't replace his father.

What I can do is set him up with a few awesome male mentors and role-models who love him and care about him and want what's best for him. Just like I do.

He needs it so badly.

And, for the past few months he's been spending more and more time hanging around my friend, doing "boy" things. He's gone with Aiden on different outings around the city; he's been watching Aiden play soccer and teaching him how to keep his head in the game; he's been talking to him about how to be a team player; he's been teaching him how to keep pushing -- even when he feels like giving up; he's been showing him why it's important to listen and follow directions and set high goals.

And Aiden has taken to him like a fish to water.

They click. And I know it's because Aiden needs it -- a mentor, a role model, someone he looks up to teach him more about this thing called life. Everyday I'm reminded of this more and more, and I'm determined to it that Aiden gets the mentors that he needs.


  1. (hugs) I have the same experience with my son. Granted he hasn't said anything like that to me. I strongly agree that young boys need an opportunity to develop relationships with strong male role models. It hurts though as a mom because there's something broken that you can fix. *shaking angry fist*

    But you are doing the right thing with Aiden. And I know that Aiden will grow up knowing he has the best mom who did the best she could.

    1. "There's something broken that you can't fix." That right there is what breaks my heart.

  2. Oh I felt that - my heart just melted. Boys absolutely need male mentors. My son is now 21 and has never had a relationship with his Dad and I know it still hurts him. He told me once, Ma, you can teach me to be a respectful and god fearing young man but you can't teach how to be a "man"! That just hurt but I know what he meant. My hubby has been a good influence on him these past 7 years.

    It sounds like you're doing an awesome job with him and your friend sounds like he's a great guy.

    1. It's the best we could do, right? That's what life is about -- doing the best we could do with the cards we've been dealt.

  3. Awww! It's great that you have your friend to help you out with Aiden. It's unfortunate Aiden's dad doesn't want to be apart of his life.

    I can already tell you're doing a great job with him :)

  4. This post touched my heart so much. You are doing such an awesome job with Aiden. You are giving him a great example in how you live your life. Everything you do will help him succeed. I'm glad he now has a mentor for all the "boy stuff". {{{hugs}}}

  5. It's heartbreaking that 1- these men are missing out on such an awesome experience, watching their little boys become men, 2- the kids feel this! I'm glad you have someone willing to stand in the space and keeping his weekends filled will also help in the end. Good job Mom.


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