Surrounded By Cement

We have been surrounded by cement for a majority of our married life. This means that our children have also been surrounded by the same thing. We have never lived on a farm, by a farm, or anything like a farm. We don't have a 2 acre garden, we don't raise llamas, we don't build fences for cattle and we don't have barb wire fences that need attention. We've never had chickens that needed a hen-house or a goat that needed a shed. The closest we've come to having 'animals' has been two bunnies in our back yard. And yes, when we had them, Daniel took care of them.

So, what do you do with boys that are not in an environment that causes them to run in flowery meadows with collie dogs, dig holes for fences or paint boats? You FIND things for them to do.

It is always nice to know that your sons can do dishes, cook a little bit and maybe even do some laundry........but this is NOT their realm. It will not be their role when they grow up, so while those things are nice to have a little training in, it is not the important thing.

I remember when Caleb was growing up.......I used to say.......the natives are restless. Meaning, there's some pent up energy and somebody is wanting to throw a spear, skin a cheetah or run through a river chasing a wild hog or something!

As parents, we have got to keep our boys busy doing things that will make good strong men out of them. Dishes and floors do not do this for them. Boys need to be challenged and they need to get dirty. Here are some things they can do:

change ALL the tires when they're flat.........don't put the flat one in the trunk for them, make them do it

mow lawns..........even when it's hot.........if they don't want to mow, they've got a lazy bone and it will NOT go away as the years pass by, it will only become larger

they need to learn to weed-eat also, buy them a $100 weed-eater and let them go at it.......(safety glasses too)
you say, they don't have any yards to do? find somebody's yard they can do and let them be a blessing to somebody
you don't own a trailer for things like that? you can get more in your trunk than you think.....

pull weeds for somebody.......yes this means they will have to bend over and they might get their jeans dirty........they might even get bit by red ants

have them paint something........even if it doesn't need will be good practice for them

they should be washing the cars, vans and trucks you own........if you have able bodied boys your vehicles should not be don't have a hose? get them a bucket and have them wash part of the vehicle, then they will make trips in and out of the house to get clear water to rinse that part........then they will move on to another part.........when they're done with this, they will get a night's sleep like they haven't had for months

while they're at it, they need to vacuum that same vehicle.........spend a little money and buy an extension cord for them so they can vacuum your car........or go to the thrift store that is buy a car wash and give them some quarters..........while you shop. Better yet, have them spend their own quarters.

boys are supposed to do doesn't hurt girls to do it, but boys ought to be taking care of it and keeping the trash can clean

do your boys have bikes? do they have basket- balls? do they have ropes and things to tie their sisters up with? do they have good tennis shoes?

sure all of this costs money.........but we are talking about keeping our boys busy with good things........what is the alternative here? I don't know if there is any proof of this, but it seems to me like it is mostly boys that are on drugs in public schools........they are the ones that can't sit still, so they're drugged. Girls were made to sit and sew, read recipe books, quietly fold wash-rags and crochet. Boys need action, they need to be pushed, they need to get hot, they need to have something to help them get rid of the energy they have.

Caleb got to work with PaPa for a time while he was growing up........he did carpenter stuff with him and he was SO excited for PaPa to come pick him up he could hardly stand it! We still have some birdhouses he made for us hanging on the fence in our back yard. They're kind of crooked and very plainly made, but we think they're pretty neat. It was something Caleb did with a saw, hammers and nails. Caleb helped re-plumb our house. It had an interesting outcome, but it works. Now when somebody asks about pvc glue, Caleb can give an intelligent answer. (that purple stuff that makes your head swim) Caleb washed cars, rode bikes, pulled wagons and helped his dad with a new office, stealing half of my garage area. Caleb got a job mowing lawns for let's say........a pretty big 'company'. He had to slow down from his usual speed to being snail like. It drove him crazy to be with a group of men that took all day to mow a very small area...this, they did on purpose. I was proud that Caleb wanted to go fast, didn't want to hide behind buildings and wanted to get a job done so they could go to the next one. This business didn't work like that. Caleb also got another job where he counted stuff. What he counted he then moved. Then he moved it to another place and counted it. Then he put it into different boxes and containers so he could count what was left. That also drove him crazy. He wanted a challenge......he has it now and he seems to be lots happier.

Daniel has been the same. I think, if given the opportunity, he would start at one end of the block and just mow until he came to the road, then go back and forth until it was all nice and trim. Then he would weed-eat. OK, maybe he wouldn't do that, but I sometimes feel that he has the energy to do it given the chance. He plays tennis, runs certain mornings, lifts weights, mows and mows and mows, mainly takes out the trash and has a job from 10-2 every day. He makes burritos, sweeps, does the cash register, mops, fries the beef and chicken, fills the ice machine and comes home to find something else to do.

Was it their upbringing or their personality to be wired like this? A little of both I would say.

So, don't do your boys a disservice by letting them lay around and read, watch TV, play video games, be idle, whine about the heat, or try to have them do domestic things to expel their energy. Boys need more than that. Don't cause them to be soft, don't allow them to prefer somebody else do the hard things.
Watch your sons and see where they're at. "IF" they got some money, would they buy a video game, a movie, some ice cream.........or would they buy some steel toed boots? a wagon? a hose with a neat sprayer on it? a can of paint to paint an old bookshelf? some nails to fix a picture?

I got an old piece of furniture at a sale for Caleb. It was rather falling apart, but we had him sand it, paint it and fix it up. It took some time, it wasn't really worth very much money when he was finished with it, but it was a PROJECT for him. Take some time for your boys just as you should your girls and keep them hoppin.


jennifer said…
Great post. I say something similar about my boys. I say the natives are restless.
All of my boys work. The younger 2 have a yard service and work 3 afternoons a week. The oldest has a full time job while putting money away for school.
I agree that it is important that the boys know how to help in the home, but they must learn how to be providers. Only through actual work can they learn to work.
I use the same for my daughter, she is in training to be wife and mom.
Pastor McEntire said…
Boys are little men.

Boys must be challenged. They must learn to work without complaint. They must learn to do for others without expecting anything in return. They must be given the opportunities that will make them strong, dependable, confident, decisive, leaders.

I would rather have a boy that can do minor repair work on a car, mow a yard and get satisfaction from it, than a boy that can cook an egg and fold towels any day. Raise boys to be men and they will be able to find a woman who will love to cook their eggs and fold their towels, a woman who will delight in cooking the bacon he brings home!

Great post and I am so thankful the Lord has given us the ability to raise two boys with a genuine work-ethic.
Anonymous said…
Brilliant, as usual.
What did your boys do when they were 7?

Anonymous said…
Kristi said...Michele, you know how I like to change things around. Well my 3 boys helped me move furniture. From basement, to main floor, from main floor to top floor, depending on where I wanted something that day, week, or year. We have moved some heavy difficult things and I found who had the stamina to finish it through and not complain, but I let them know I definitely appreciated their help. Each boy helped their Dad build a LONG cedar fence around the house lot and each one helped build the chicken & dog house. Now they are moved out of the house and I miss them but I still call on them once in awhile for help!HA
Anonymous said…
Yeah i would like to have your guidance on appropiate things for my 3 boys to do. They are 4, 6 & 8 and very very full of energy. We must not live to far from you by looking at the post you made before this one from the Rainforest in Galveston. Needless to say we don't have a lot of room for them to run and we don't let them really play a lot out front in the neighborhood unless we are out there. We do go camping as much as possible and let them tear the trails loose and haul firewood and keep our campsite cleaned up .
Ideas would be appreciated. If you want you can email me privately at


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