After I incubate on this topic, I’ll have a post with a list about what Southern Fathers can teach their daughters. I was fortunate because I raised both a boy and girl. It’s a great thing being raised in the South. I really don’t think I could live anywhere else. I wanted to list here (with a few comments) a dozen things Southern can teach their sons when they’re young. I know the list changes with age and perhaps regions lived in, and there are many other skills that could have been listed here, but here is a list of what I think is important for a Southern boy to learn:
1. To sharpen a knife: This is a skill he will need all his life, so the younger he learns this the better. Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones.
2. To fish or hunt: You know the saying–Give a man a fish and you feed him for a meal. Teach him how to fish and you’ve fed him a lifetime. And I think all methods are important–rod and reel, cane pole, trot-line, nets, box traps. Fishing is great in the South. Same for hunting.
3. To type: This is really not hard to do. Teach him the correct finger positions and call out the letters, numbers, and symbols he should type. I personally think a manual typewriter is best for this. Work him up to forty words a minute, and he will always be able to find work.
4. Teach him how to play different sports and encourage him to join organizations (Scouts, etc.): He may not stick with any of them. He may not even like them, but if he knows he can make an intelligent decision about it. Besides, sports are good for a boy in this couch-potato, television numbed age. I really believe there is a physical sport for every and any boy. The more he learns the better. Time and talent will reveal the one(s) he excels in. Look for scholarship trends and opportunities.
5. To read and use a map: Very practical. Teach him perspective of distance and awake curiosity of new places. (Internet can help you with these matters). You can use a topographical map to teach compass use and about terrain when hunting.
6. To follow written directions to make or do something: A boy who learns to read instructions will be way ahead of the pack. Too many boys live by, “When all else fails, read the instructions.”
7. To tie knots. We will always need to know how to secure items and accomplish tasks with rope and string.
8. To take photographs: One doesn’t regret taking too many photographs as much as “not” taking them.
9. To keep a scrapbook, diary, or create collections. Collections often teach the boy as he’s making them.
10. To defend himself and others. There’s no reason a boy or those important to him or the innocent about him should be victims. He will thank his father later for such training.
11. To start and build a fire (several different ways), to learn to swim, and other survival skills.
12. To work and to make money from that work. A boy who doesn’t learn how to work won’t be worth spit.
There are many other skills and needs I could have put on this list, some that relate more to the spiritual and social side of a boy, but perhaps these will get you thinking. This list may be reproduced and used freely as long as you give me and the Southern Missive blog credit.