When I grow up and be a man…

The Don is going to be four years old in five days and already he wants to become a man.  All I been hearing lately is this sentence:  “When I grow up and be a man, I can….” fill in the blank.  It’s usually something along the lines of what he can not do e.g.  If The Don wants to drive my car and I tell him you have to be (in the state of Pennsylvania) sixteen years old to drive.  The response is, “When I grow up and be a man, I can drive a car.”
What The Don doesn’t realize is that what he doesn’t want to do is what helps him to grow up and be a great man.  For example, when I ask him to clean up his room he tells me, “When I grow up and be a man, I don’t have to clean my room.”  

I tell him, “Daddy is a grown man and he still clean up his room and rooms in the house. Cleaning your room is teaching you how to be neat and clean.  It also teaches you to work and be responsible for putting your things away.”
When it’s time to take a bath and I’m teaching The Don how to wash himself but he wants to play in the bath water instead, he says, “When I grow up and be a man, I can play in the bath water all I want.”  

I would say to him, “As a man, you will need to learn how to clean yourself because no one should be touching or cleaning your body but you.  It’s your responsibility to keep yourself clean.”
When its dinner time and he doesn’t want to eat the purple cabbage, he would say, “When I grow up and be a man, I don’t have to eat the purple” (he doesn’t say cabbage).  

My husband would say, “When you become a man, you have to know what things are healthy for you to eat and what’s not.  Cabbage is good for you and will make you a stronger man.”
The one thing that The Don doesn’t like to do is to listen and do what he is told.  I guess no one really likes to be told what to do but it’s something we can’t avoid especially at work.  So, when I tell The Don to do something and he doesn’t do it, I will tell him that he has to learn to listen.   He says, “When I grow up and be a man, I don’t have to listen.”  

I tell him, “When you become a man, there are more rules you have to follow and listen to whether it’s for your safety or work.  You will be told what to do.  It is important to listen and follow directions so you wouldn’t get hurt.  As a man, it’s important to understand and listen to what people have to say especially when it comes to safety and not to break any rules because your life can depend on it.”

The Don being a kid with his little brother Bam Bam

Whether The Don realizes it or not, what we are doing and showing him is what will make him a better man when he gets older.  Cleaning his rooms teaches neatness and organization.  Washing himself teaches him to care about his body enough to keep it clean.  Eating health food teaches him what foods will make him big and strong and teaches him to choice healthy food choices.  Learning to listen will help him be a better communicator and understanding of people.  How to listen also helps him understand what he can and can not do in this society and to have respect for authority.  All we are doing is teach him how to be a responsible man when he grows up.  I guess he won’t see that until be becomes a man.  

I know The Don feels that being a man must be better than being a kid right now but one day when he is working hard and taking care of his family, he’ll look back on when he didn’t have any real responsibilities and have all the time in the world to play as a kid and realize that he didn’t have it so bad after all.  I know some days I do.  When he becomes a man, I know he will be a great one.  I just wish he would enjoy being a kid before it is too late to appreciate it.

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