Saturday, April 28, 2012

the perfect boy

The perfect boy would wake up on his own, put his pajamas in the laundry and quickly get dressed in matching outfit showing all that he's a perfect boy.
The real boys sometimes have to be awaken and sometimes wake up the entire house much too early. They lounge in their pajamas, and, when they finally take them off, the pjs end up anywhere but in the designated areas. They need to be repeatedly nudged to get dressed, and their attire screams: I picked it out myself!

The perfect boy would get his bowl, spoon and cup and sit down at the table to a quiet nutritious breakfast, low in sugar and high in protein, vitamins, fiber and all those other brain-boosting things.
The real boys take multiple trips to get their breakfast items. They make poor food choices. They spill. They take too much. They sit with their legs on the chairs. They talk and talk and talk. They forget to make brachot. They do not want to bentch.

The perfect boy would immediately get his siddur, enthusiastically open to Mode Ani and daven with such kavana that anyone could take his picture and post it as the davener of the day. He would want to daven more and more.
The real boys do not want to daven. They much rather read/play/do nothing. They cannot find siddurim. They have to be pushed and prodded and encouraged with davening treats. They do not want to add to their davening. Their photos would belong in gymnastics catalog or marching band. They will fight over being a chazzan and then try to daven less.

The perfect boy woud know where all the school supplies are and would dive straight into his lessons. He would finish then promptly and neatly. Of course, there would be no mistakes. He would eagerly takcle unfamiliar material.
The real boys cannot find their pencils. Once they find them, thei drop them, roll them, lose them. They do not want to do things that are hard. They need to be reminded again and again and again to stay on task. They make mistakes and get frustrated. They vent their anger. They do not do their best. Sometimes they do not do good enough either. Heck, sometimes they do not do at all.

The perfect boy would be unfailingly polite, even-toned and mild-mannered.
The real boys are too busy with themselves to notice that manners are required.

The perfect boy would never make a mess.
The real boys do not notice the mess they make.

The perfect boy would never disappoint.
The real boys are constantly told how they disappoint. They do not measure up. They are too loud, too rude, too inattentive, too impulsive, too lazy.

The perfect boy would never dig in a sand box--he would not want to get sand all over his clothes. The perfect boy would read only at designated times, lest his parents have some other activity planned. The perfect boy sounds boring.

And the perfect boy sounds too much like a girl.

I have real boys. Instead of trying to make them perfect, I am trying to keep it real.


  1. Yay for real boys! (and real girls)! Go Ilana!

  2. I was with you all along until this sentence..."And the perfect boy sounds too much like a girl." Real girls can be challenging, messy, rude, lazy, impulsive, inattentive, etc. as well. Real boys don't have a monopoloy on that.

  3. No girl is perfect, and no adult male or female is perfect either. Humans are not perfect (though we should all strive for perfection).

    1. I did not mean that girls are perfect or quiet. I mean that we are emasculating real boys. I have a real girl too, but most people have issue with real boys' behaviors.