Candace Ott
To mix things up a bit, the following is a guest post by a mom who has three young boys, and her experience with raising them up to be gentlemen for their future wives. Enjoy!

As a mother to three active and energetic little boys, I strive to instill on a daily basis values and morals that I find most important when raising young men. With a majority of research claiming that boys learn from their father on how to be a man, and how to treat women, I come to you with this question: "why can’t mothers do just the same"?  After all, who knows more about how a woman wants to be treated than a woman herself, right?  This is not to discount that dad’s play a very important role in raising young gentlemen as well, because let's face it ladies, our boys will eventually turn out like their dads in certain respects (isn’t that one of the reasons we married them?).  ;) Now bear in mind that I am teaching my boys far more than what I could possibly write here, but this will be just a glimpse of the greatest job I have been given - raising gentlemen.

It is never too early to teach our boys the importance of being a gentleman.  If anything, it just gives them more time to get accustomed to it and make it a daily mindset rather than a “for dates only” mindset. While our youngest boy (only 18 months old) is too young to understand most of the values and morals I'm trying to instill, it does not deter me from including him in my daily routines to help raise these young men of mine. Even with the smallest of gestures to include the boys in my personal daily routine, I have seen the boys blossom into young gentlemen.

My oldest son loves to complement me on my hair after it's been blow-dried in the morning.  He loves to run his fingers through it during a cuddly family movie night. He is also the first one to notice a new haircut or style/color change.   I love this about my oldest, and encourage this behavior. Noticing simple changes and complementing are values that will take him far in his relationship with his future wife.  As a result, he will make her feel beautiful on a daily basis (what woman wouldn't want that?). 

Our middle son adores complementing my nails. Every time I come back from getting a pedicure, he is the first to notice and say how pretty my toes look. He also gives me his input by telling me what color or design I should get next time.  I love that he not only complements me on something that's usually overlooked, but he also strives to be involved in the process. While it may not mean much to a 4-year old boy that his mommy’s toes look nice, the value I hope to instill by encouraging this behavior is monumental.  This will benefit his future marriage when he takes a sincere interest in his wife’s hobbies, or supports her even if he has no direct enjoyment/connection to them. By encouraging this, I hope to instill the desire to make his future wife happy, and share in the joy with her.

To go beyond the daily routine and instill values on another level, our family started a new tradition: Mother/Son date nights. Not only do these dates offer a great way to teach gentleman-like values, but they also allow for quality one-on-one mother/son time (something quite rare in a typical busy family of 5). I use these date nights to teach the boys specific gentlemen values such as: opening doors for others, and proper restaurant manners.  However, it goes beyond simple etiquette.  These times are also for letting the boys explore their creativity, and practice their planning skills. There is no denying the joy and excitement that comes from our spouse, fiancĂ©, or significant other planning an entire date based on our own personal likes. Knowing that they took the time to create a night devoted to our enjoyment makes us feel loved beyond belief, and keeps the cycle continuing, as we in turn want to do something special just for them. So, by allowing my boys to create/plan the date night and letting their imaginations work, I hope to instill the foundations for their future dates - my goal being to encourage spontaneity and the creative desire to try new things (even if it's something they don't particularly like). After all, their future wife may have different likes, and it’s important for my boys to encourage those likes and participate in them as well.

I will continue to share these moments with my boys for as long as I can. I admire their ability to grasp and learn at such a young age, and I hope that they will one day thank me for these memories. Maybe, if I’m really lucky, I’ll even get a thank you from my future daughter-in-laws as well. ;) For now though, I’m just soaking up these precious moments with my 3 little guys, and holding on to the childhood within them. For all too soon they will be off in the dating world all on their own, and I will only be able to hold my breathe and pray that what I taught them now will carry into their adult lives.
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