The other day, my wife of 10 years posted a picture with words (I have a hard time calling it a “meme”) stating how one should raise girls to be strong. It mentioned teaching them to be kind and confident, rather than simply focusing on a beautiful exterior. It ended with the note, “Teach her to be a beautiful person, not simply a pretty girl.”
This resonated with me, as we have both a boy and a girl, so I decided to find something similar referencing boys.
So, off to Google I go! What I found was, at best, disheartening.
The first article I opened gave me some hope. It covered needing to acknowledge boys’ emotional needs, not pressuring them to be good at sports, and taking into consideration their fears and doubts.
However, nowhere in this article did it mention teaching them to treat women as equals, carry their own weight around the house, or not judge those who have less.
So, back to the drawing board.
The second page I opened seemed to include everything! It discussed how our society has failed men as a whole by teaching them that they are to bear the weight of the world without cracking. It went into how we need to protect those weaker than us, treat everyone with respect, but not neglect our mental or emotional health.
As I went on, though, I was gradually turned off . . . where was the mention of integrity and honor that I had hoped to find? How do we teach our boys to be honorable men, if all we see in the world is pettiness and bullying?
It was then that I noticed something: most of these articles had been written by women!
It hit me like a punch to the gut. Have we as men become so brainwashed by society that we cannot even raise our own boys?
Have fathers failed so often in raising their sons that the mothers have to tell them how to be men?
As a caveat, I am not saying that women are any less qualified to raise men. Au contraire—they may be more qualified to do so, especially after reading what is recommended.
So, I figured I’d step in and add my two cents on what it means to raise boys to be good men:
Do not sacrifice your mental or emotional health for work. Money means nothing if you aren’t happy.
Don’t be scared to show emotion.
Ask for help. It takes more strength to ask than it does to be silent. On the flip side, help those that ask without judgment.
Everyone is equal, treat them as such. Race, religion, gender, or preference does not affect who they are as a person.
There are no set gender roles, or gender-based colors/activities. Anyone can do anything.
Protect those weaker than you.
Family first, always.
Pull your weight. Don’t expect others to clean up after you.
Respect yourself and others.
If you said you will do it, do it. That’s called integrity.