Boy Wanted, Addressing When Children Disappoint

I am dedicating this post to my son. He tells me at least ten times a day that I’m the best mom in the world. My shoulders sag with guilt. I do try, but I am not perfect.

The ministry of this post is found in a short video that I put together.

Below is a copy of the selection that I read.

Boy Wanted

by Frank Crane

This “want ad” appeared in the early part of this century.

Wanted — A boy that stands straight, sits straight, acts straight, and talks straight;

A boy whose fingernails are not in mourning, whose ears are clean, whose shoes are polished, whose clothes are brushed, whose hair is combed, and whose teeth are well cared for;

A boy who listens carefully when he is spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business;

A boy that moves quickly and makes as little noise about it as possible;

A boy who whistles in the street, but does not whistle where he ought to keep still;

A boy who looks cheerful, has a ready smile for everybody, and never sulks;

A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl;

A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how;

A boy who is more eager to know how to speak good English than to talk slang;

A boy that never bullies other boys nor allows other boys to bully him;

A boy who, when he does not know a thing, says, “I don’t know,” and when he has made a mistake says, “I’m sorry,” and when he is asked to do a thing says, “I’ll try”;

A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth every time;

A boy who is eager to read good books;

A boy who would rather put in his spare time at the YMCA gymnasium than to gamble for pennies in a back room;

A boy who does not want to be “smart” nor in any wise to attract attention;

A boy who would rather lose his job or be expelled from school than to tell a lie or be a cad;

A boy whom other boys like;

A boy who is at ease in the company of girls;

A boy who is not sorry for himself, and not forever thinking and talking about himself;

A boy who is friendly with his mother, and more intimate with her than anyone else;

A boy who makes you feel good when he is around;

A boy who is not goody-goody, a prig, or a little pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life.

This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys want him, the girls want him, all creation wants him.

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5 thoughts on “Boy Wanted, Addressing When Children Disappoint

  1. Oh my. We read from that book all through our homeschooling days – I even bought the tapes. (this was before CDs were available!) The kids would memorize poems from there. You brought back memories…

    About our sons: We DO mess up as moms – but they don’t remember. And I don’t remember the times when he messed up. I still like spending time with my boy, and have the privilege of working for him in his business (so he obviously still likes spending time with me). Having expectations is good. It bears fruit that others value later on in life. (My son’s wife appreciates what we, his parents, laid into him.)

    Beautiful story – wonderful post. Thank you.

    • Boy, am I glad to know they won’t remember! Maybe you should have an “encourage your child” page to supplement your “encourage your spouse”. I am looking forward to learning from you!

  2. I shudder to think of how many times I have flopped as a mom, especially with my first-born son.. Poor thing has always been my unsuspecting guinea pig! But what strikes me is that his attachment is strong and healthy. He knows I’m human and loves me in spite of it. And unless we’re “in the moment” I have a very difficult time recalling his flops!

    Terrific post!!

  3. I hadn’t seen that poem before, but I like it. It’s the kind of son I hope I have someday, and the kind of man I wish there were more of in the world.

  4. I am the mom of 3 little boys. They are wonderful boys. They are gentle and love me- they respect and love their father. They open doors for ladies (even though they are all under 10 yrs). They aren’t afraid to bow their heads and pray in front of people. They are kind. But, I cannot – for the life of me – manage to keep their fingernails clean 🙂 I have scrub brushes at every sink and work at it several times a day – were an outside kind of family – guess I cannot have everything. Sweet poem – as long as “fingernails in mourning” isn’t a deal breaker 🙂

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