Monday, October 6, 2014

Queen of my Kingdom: Raising Romance Heroes

It's just a moment in time. It was less than one hundred and twenty seconds from the time he hit the goal post and fell to the ground until he was back on his feet. Yet in that minute, every moment I'd had with my little Puma ran through my mind.

As a mother of three sons, these types of moments -the ones that remind me just what boys are made of- are all too frequent. From the second they enter the world, and most especially once they begin to have free will, their gender is obvious in ways far more reaching than their anatomy.

I knew I was in for it the first time little Puma, still toddling around in diapers, pushed a little girl to take her toy. When she fussed, he patted her back and grinned. She calmed, smiled and he wandered off with the toy in hand. He'd just made his first girl swoon. (Yes, I did go back and make him return the toy.)

Good Lord - they wrapped themselves around my heart so quickly. My boys had the makings for men all too young, strong yet sweet and completely irresistible. Still, there's this nagging voice in my head reminding me that one of my roles as a mother of sons is to raise these boys into good men. Some days, that's a scary undertaking (and I'm thankful for a husband to help me).

Could I take inspiration from Romance Heroes?
Once, while researching the makings of a romance hero, I came across an online article that states men are either "a cad or a dad". It goes on to explain that research suggests men can't change from one to the other in later life. The type of man he is will be shaped before he even has the chance to act as a man.
"For a variety of reasons, including the way he was raised (such as the presence or absence of a father) or the way testosterone works in the body, men tend to stay pretty much consistent when it comes to mating strategies. That is, a nice guy who wants to be a dad and settle down can't usually fake being a cad. Likewise, a cad really can't convincingly pull off being a dad." [Source: PsychologyToday.com]
In romance books, authors often portray the ultimate hero as a man who can be changed, from "a cad to a dad" because the idea of the heroine being the catalyst for his reformation is a turn-on for women. It's a falsehood though. If the hero doesn't already have the makeup of a man with staying power, aka "a dad", he couldn't pull it off. When written well, an author can bring about that critical moment wherein the hero discovers his true self - he does not necessarily change but rather, emerges.

All this makes me wonder about the significance of the hero's mother in books... hmm... certainly if the hero's character is present at the beginning of the book, mothers are teaching their sons the lessons behind who they become.

There are so many lessons I hope to teach my sons. On that list is how to respect and care for women. I couldn't believe the coincidence when I happened upon a blog post that spoke to the true character of a romance hero.

Modern day books are providing a great variety in their heroes. They can be incredibly wealthy or poor, muscular or thin, alpha or geek, etc. The key link in the men seems to be the value they place on their heroine and the desire to protect and treat her well. And that behavior is both realistic and possible to teach to young men. Real men can be just as swoon-worthy as any romance hero when it comes to making a woman feel special.
"Sure, the heroes are usually good-looking, but that’s not why the heroine stays with him at the end.  The heroine ends up with the hero because he makes her feel treasured. That’s not an impossible standard or fantasy." [Source: Jami Gold, author]
Yes! I got it right. Just how their respect and care play out will be dependent upon their individual personalities but teaching boys the basic tenants is my focus. I can already see each of my sons' personalities affect their interactions with young women but I can also already see their attentiveness and respect.

Am I raising future Romance Heroes? I hope so. This past weekend was homecoming -little Puma's first "date"- and as we talked through proper behavior and protocol, he rolled his eyes and sighed. But then after they indulged the parents in a few photos, my son opened the car door and stood aside to let his date in. I don't know if she was swooning but I sure was! It was a proud mommy moment.

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