It is a mans world. Locker room culture persists. A boys will be boys mentality is still tolerated in the mainstream. Crude language, lewd behavior and rampant sexism against women are part of the everyday drum beat. As a mother and the guardian of two very male little souls, it occurs to me that if change is to happen, I have the responsibility to do my part. I have the responsibility to teach my boys the pitfalls of the Lad Culture. I have a responsibility to teach them to live their lives above and beyond. It boils down to one simple moment. When my sons knock on your front door, to take your daughters out, I want you to know:
My boys will understand their own worth and will not seek power by demeaning women in their words or actions.I will teach my boys to first look inward and not to judge, to focus on their own strengths and weaknesses. I will teach my boys to listen, observe and think before they speak or act. They will know to respect women and understand how women have shaped our culture today. They will know that success is never accomplished by treating others badly.
My boys will treat their female friends with respect.
They will know to communicate their needs openly, commit to nurturing their friendships and be consistent in their behavior towards their female friends. My boys will look out for them always. They will stand up to any young man who is acting aggressively in the playground and beyond. When they fly the nest, they will be the ones to call a cab after a night out and make sure all their female friends get home safely. They will enjoy the company of other boys, but never leave their wing women out. They will enjoy their friendships and know the difference if things develop further. They will understand that the bar is set high on both fronts.
My boys will see young women as their equals.
At home, school, college and beyond, they will be taught to value their female friends opinions, collaborate with them, support them and defend them as valid individuals not just “girls”.
My boys will know that Chivalry is not dead .
My boys will know that old fashioned good manners go a long way. Yes, my boys will open doors, carry heavy bags, help a lady on with her coat and in to a car. My boys will call when they say, follow up on promises, write thank you notes and never forget to send their mama flowers :).
Finally, my boys will understand what it means to be a man .
They will know this poem by heart and live this poem to the core:
Enough said. I have some work to do!