With Father's Day looming, MomSpeaker Brie Latini's thoughts about the way the men in her son's life may influence who PJ will or won't become seem particularly apropos.
Recently, I was watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs and casting my usual voodoo curse upon Sidney Crosby, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a regular subject of my ice hockey hatred. He's an extremely talented player, one in a million, really. He's also unsportsmanlike and whiny and prone to dives that would win anyone else an Oscar. If PJ becomes a hockey fan, Crosby is not the kind of player I would want him to admire.
While I was watching Crosby pout because the Penguins lost, I started to think about what kind of man I do want PJ to admire.
I think that, for the most part, most young children are surrounded by women. Although it is the year 2015, it seems that teaching is still dominated by women, which means that our children spend most of their day under feminine supervision. Nearly all of PJ's therapists have been women, too. I am thankful every day for these amazing people who have helped my son reach goals I was scared he would never reach. They are the type of women I respect and admire and want to raise PJ to respect and admire. Our lives are better because they have been a part of it.
But that night, I found myself thinking a bit about the men in PJ's life and what he gets from knowing them. He's surrounded by some pretty strong, smart, talented boys and men, and I hope he has the opportunity to learn and draw from their gifts, just as he does from the women in his life. Just as I hope he appreciates and admires women, I hope he learns how best to do that from the example of the men in his life.
I hope he knows and appreciates the importance of math and science, and to understand his importance as a child of Jewish heritage, something he will learn from my dad, his Zayde. From his Pop, my husband Pete's dad, the importance of building something from the ground up and family loyalty. From his Uncle Steve, how to work hard, and from his Uncle Carl, how to balance work and fatherhood. From his cousin Carl, how to share his natural talents and gifts with the world and his cousin Robbie, how to unlock secret worlds with imagination. From his amazing soccer buddies, Anthony and Nick, I hope he learns how to show others pure, natural kindness. From his "Uncles" Bob and Adam, how to be the most loyal friend possible. And of course, from his father, how to offer a composed, confident, healing hand to those who are sick and scared, to be confident in his beliefs and opinions, and how to be selfless, gracious and brave.
Of course, as PJ gets older, he will become a fan of various musicians or sports heroes or movie stars, and I can only hope that he finds men to admire that display those same types of traits. Fame and money don't make life perfect, but it can certainly make it easier to be a kind person, and I hope PJ admires the best types of humans. I would like to think that the positive influence of the men who are in his life by design will shape the men he chooses to admire by choice.
PJ is lucky enough to have a very, very strong group of people — both men and women — who will influence him as he grows. As his mother, I am so thankful for that. I can see bits of PJ's future in all of the people around him and it looks very, very good.
Brie Latini is a South Jersey writer and mom. This post is adapted from her blog ( . . . a breezy life).