Advice for fathers about their sons and their mothers

The measure of a man

Every father should want his son to grow to be a man. They grow older, but do they grow into men? Some do and some don’t. What is a “man?” I suggest that a “man” is far more than simply a male of our species. Each culture has its own rites of passage for passing a boy into manhood. For those of us in the Anglosphere it may range from learning to turn money into noise by killing animals, to starring in sports, to getting a good job, to marrying and raising a family, or otherwise developing qualities of good character and trustworthiness. I believe there to exist a simpler test of manhood and a singular essential path to developing a boy into a man.

How does the boy treat his mother? Or the grown male for that matter, as his mother makes that inevitable march toward dependency on he who so depended upon her. How does that male person treat all women? Therein lies the test and thus it is clear that the path to manhood must include the inculcation of a respect and reverence first for his mother, and thereafter for all womanhood.

It was so in my home long before I pledged Kappa Alpha Order at the University of Texas. There was little I could do any worse to draw my father’s anger than to disobey or disrespect my mother. And the worst part of drawing his anger was that it was far more a matter of disappointment than anger, which left me spinning into self-reproachment. I would have preferred an old-fashioned whipping.

Thus the motto of my fraternity, Dieu et les Dames, was comfortable to me from the outset: For God and Women.

That lesson — that a real man respects women and especially his mother — has been driven home many times in my life through several career paths. As a young man, a husband, a Naval Officer, later a father, as a lawyer often doing divorce work, and eventually as a trial court judge I have observed many males … and a few men.

I don’t “preach” that point in court, except with juveniles. Almost to a person, the young males in juvenile court range from being simply disrespectful to their mothers (and in many cases those marvelous mother-substitutes:  grandmothers with custody) to being outright aggressive and abusive. I believe that to a great extent that defect is the origin of what produced their appearance in “juve.”

The boys and men who respect their mothers and treat them well usually also treat their wives and daughters well.  From our collective life experiences I believe we can observe that those men protect, provide for (to the greatest extent their abilities permit), and sustain the women in their lives. Failing to do so often leaves lives in ruin from abuse, divorce and, on the far end of the spectrum, sexual abuse of children.

So, mama don’t let your boys grow up to be cowboys; and dads, be sure your boys grow up respecting and honoring their mother and all womanhood. Then they will be men.

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About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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3 Responses to Advice for fathers about their sons and their mothers

  1. DLS says:

    Gil, I am a mother who is treated terribly by my 18 year old son and have been for years.
    My ex-husband has never taught my son to respect me, as his mother so he feel he can
    call me names, treat me with disrespect as he pleases, ignore me and take advantage of me.
    We divorced when my son was 2 years old because my ex-husband decided he could not be a
    full time father, so I took on both rolls. I do not want to paint myself as a perfect mom, because
    ofcourse, I made my mistakes. But since my ex-husband came back in my sons life he has done nothing but point out my faults and use anything he could against me. This has been going on for
    8 years now. I am at the point of letting go because he is hurting me too much. Any advice??
    Hopeless

  2. Pingback: 10 Things to Teach your Son about True Manhood | Todd's Point of View

  3. donbynum says:

    Gil,

    Very well said. Very well.

    Don

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