Drew at the Art Museum in Chicago
Yesterday, our son, Drew, posted on his Brain Wads about how time flies as he completes his first year of marking at DeMoss. In this post he shares thoughts on learning experiences since taking on this position, his personal growth as he has pursued his position at DeMoss and what he looks forward to in the future days with working with the DeMoss Group. As I read his post, I was the typical proud mama!
People have often asked Jim and me what our techniques were when raising Drew. The first thing was we heeded the advice of Jim’s dad/Drew’s grandfather. His advice on the very day Drew entered the world was; ” 1) First of all, love and respect him and 2)this child will do anything you expect him to do.”
Jim and I both were big believers in respecting Drew as a person from the get go. He was a child and we were his parents but there was a mutual aire of respect. When we wanted Drew to do something we did not demand he do the task or give orders. We simply would ask politely with a please and thank you. Before entering his room, we would always knock before entering. If Jim and I expected Drew to respect us, we had to do likewise and respect him. Looking back, during those rare time when Drew was being disrespectful, when we were honest with ourselves, we could see that the amount of respect coming from us (or the lack thereof) could well have been playing a role in his attitude.
You have heard and seen the commercials about the importance of the family table. There have been studies and documentation on the positive results of a family eating together. No matter how late it may be in the evenings before everyone was home, Drew knew that we would all sit down together, have dinner together, and share our day. I learned real quick that if you want a boy to express what is on his mind, feed him.
Jim and Drew finishing up dinner at Bubba Gumps in Savannah, Georgia May, 2009
Early mornings were important for Jim and Drew. From about the time Drew was five years old. He would hear his dad get up to start his day. He would go into the family room where Jim would be reading his morning devotional or the morning paper. Drew would climb up in his lap and read with him. Jim didn’t want Drew to ever think he could not approach him at anytime. As Drew got older, their meetings would be early morning at the kitchen table. They would read and discuss current events in the paper and sometimes with their touch of added sarcasm. Now, that Drew is grown, Jim and Drew call each other and talk as the best of friends and that added playful sarcasm (not directed toward each other, mind you) still comes out once in a while in their conversations.
Drew helping Dad at the office
By no means was Drew the perfect child. There were moments that required discipline. However, in the discipline process we would talk with Drew about where the error of judgement took place and the lesson learned. Yet, there was a time or two where reasoning just didn’t work out. One instance was when Drew was in middle school. He was taking too much time primping (yes, boys primp as much as girls) and making his car pool late for school. After many mornings of frustration and pushing Drew out the door and finally getting him out the door, without saying a word, Jim went to Drew’s room and began to remove items. First, the mirror on the wall came down and out. Next, Drew’s stereo and other activities that Drew enjoyed in his room. Then, Jim simply told me that when Drew arrived home to have Drew call him at work if he had any questions. The look on Drew’s face was priceless when he entered his room that afternoon. He turned and looked at me appalled and all I said was; “call Dad.” As Jim talked with Drew over the phone, Jim explained the problem and the solution he took to solve this problem and told Drew that if the problem did not resolve itself that Drew’s bed would be next. Needless to say, being on time became a priority for Drew from there on out.
Exposure. Jim and I made sure we exposed Drew to the world. Not to say we encouraged him to be of the world but we wanted him to understand the world around him and how to respond with certain issues. There were certain types of music genres, television shows and movies we allowed Drew to watch in our presence. We wanted him to understand the world and wanted him to be well equipped to find the humor and challenges that the world has to offer as . We felt if he experienced these things in our presence we could share with him what we believed and what we disapproved of and why. Therefore, when he went out in the big world by himself he was not shocked at things he saw or situations he may be put in.
Drew running with his DCXC team in State Meet (they took the title three years in a row)
Teamwork. Ever since Drew played t-ball as a pre-schooler, Drew wanted to be on a team. I remember him trying out for the Middle School basketball team and didn’t make it. He was so disappointed but a friend invited him to run on the cross-country team. Both his Middle School and High School teams were blessings to Drew’s life and ours. He had wonderful Christian coaches that not only coached him and his teammates in running but they coached them about life and gave them a solid foundation for life.
Church was another important part of our raising Drew. We made sure that he was involved in church activities as well as ourselves being involved. If we expected Drew to be at church then we should be at church. In other words, walk the talk we were giving. It is being involved in church activities where Drew also learned the value of having good Christian friends, people you can lean on and who will pray for you and with you. It is this teaching that helped Drew when we moved away from home. When he went to college one of the first things he did was call us and tell us he found a church. He did the same when he moved to Chicago and Atlanta.
Not only was going to church and being involved in church important in raising our son, Drew. But it was important to us that Drew had experiences like going to church camps and mission trips. It is in these environments where Drew learned how to initiate conversations with people he did not know, learn about other people, their lives and experiences. These experiences also taught Drew the importance of being a good listener and reaching out beyond his comfort zone at times.
Drew & Jim @ Vero Beach Florida
Listening. As parents we want our children to listen to us, our advice, views and what we have to say. Yet, our children have things on their hearts and minds they need to share. Jim and I tried to keep an environment where Drew knew he could come to us and we would listen with unconditional ears. It is this unconditional listening that brought trust into our relationship with Drew.
Expectation. This where I started my post on raising a son. Jim and I strongly believed, and still do believe, that not only will a child do what you expect him to but they will do as long as they see you walk your talk. In other words, if we expected his room to be clean, our room had better be clean. If we expected him to be ready to walk out the door a certain time, we better be ready as well.
I came across a quote not long ago that sums up the Hawkins’ philosophy of raising a son;
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And, if you treat them like sons, they turn out to be heroes, even if it’s in your own eyes.” Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
I raised a son who I am quite proud of. Along the way he has taught me more than a few things. It is to Drew I owe a thank you for encouraging me to blog. It is in my blogging I have heard so many stories from other people and have reached people who I never dreamed I would reach. Drew came into the world as my son but in my eyes he is a hero. He is a hero that I greatly admire and respect.
Raising a son or sons? Remember these two things: 1) always love them and respect them and 2) they will do what you expect them to do. Right now, they may seem to be just a son to you but one day you will look up at them and see a hero.
Check out Drew’s blog on his Web Site Brain Wads….the link below will take you to his post.
One Year At The DeMoss Group