"Boy Wanted"

This entry was written by my co-author. My dad.
Donna and I were very happy with three little girls. Actually, I was afraid to have a boy. Then one day, one showed up. We used to read, “Boy Wanted” to him occasionally from William Bennett’s, Book of Virtues (below) as soon as he was able to understand it.
Girls naturally become civilized as they grow up but boys need to be taught to be civilized. With all the confusion about what manhood should look like in our society, boys need direction. For example, we used to ask him how many children he would like to have when he grew up. This encouraged him to look into the future and to see himself as a grown up. Gratefully, he is all grown up now and has his mother’s gentle temperament. He remains a “boy wanted”.

Boy Wanted
This "want ad" appeared in the early part of [the 20th] 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 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 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 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 a 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.
Source unknown
Quoted in The Children's Book of Virtues
by William J. Bennet
This is our son, Dan and his wife Lydia dancing their first dance as husband and wife last July:

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