I can’t wait to talk about my weekend trip to WOW Summit but this seems to be more pressing given the circumstances.
As many of us have, I have been watching the recent news about Donald Trump’s comments with horror.
Just as I read in horror the coverage of Stanford University’s Brock Turner.
Just have I have sat in horror reflecting many, many comments which are explained away with statements like “boys will be boys”.
Yes, boys will be boys.
As you may have noticed… I’m surrounded by quite a few boys. In addition to having 4 boys of my own and having been married for 10 years, I have a father and a brother and grew up having many male friends. Regardless of whether or not I had any of those, I live in a society dominated by “boys”.
Over the years, I have learned a thing or two about boys:
I have learned that fart jokes are almost always funny.
I have learned to tolerate a little rough housing as long as they move the coffee table out of the way first.
I know that no matter how much I clean the bathroom it might never matter.
I know that they may have trouble expressing themselves, or freeze when you do. Boys might say things that make your eyes roll, because it’s gross or dense or just plain annoying.
I know a lot girls like the above too.
But I know something else about boys:
I know that they can listen.
I know that they, like girls, look up to role models.
I know they can control their behavior.
I know they can control what they say.
I know they can think of others before themselves.
I know they can treat people with respect.
I know they can understand the meaning of the word ‘stop’.
I know they can be caring brothers, and fathers, and friends.
I know they can tell the difference between right and wrong.
I know they can be emotional.
I know they take cues from their parents and our society.
And I know that boys can live up to the expectations we set for them.
These are the type of boys that I hope my boys will be.
Every day as I raise my 4 boys I remember this. Every day there is some example, somewhere that I can set for them… and every day there is some example somewhere that makes that job more difficult.
Sure, we all have our flaws, but being a boy doesn’t have to be a flaw. Being a boy doesn’t mean that they will be vulgar, or disrespectful. It doesn’t mean that they can ignore people’s boundaries. It doesn’t mean they can take what they want without asking.
We TEACH them what being a boy means. Every day. We show them what it means when we give them passes for bad behavior because they are “just being boys”. We teach them that it’s okay to behave poorly when they see other “boys” get away with it.
And so, I am asking you to help me. Give my sons the credit they deserve. Don’t write them off, hold them to a higher standard. Give them role models who set the example of who boys can be. Help me show them that boys can be strong without being cruel and that kindness and strength are not mutually exclusive.
Hold boys, including mine, accountable. Start when they’re little. They can take it. Don’t let them get away with being less than what we know they can be. They are better than that. I promise you I will do my absolute best to make sure that my boys live up to the standard we set for them.
Help me teach them what it means to be a boy. Because, yes, boys will be boys… but eventually these boys will become men.
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