To my little boys: How to “Be A Man”

I don’t really care how smart you are or how good you are at sports. What I deeply care about is that you are a compassionate and kind human being.
Smile.
Use your strength and privilege for good.
Challenge other men who pressure boys to be tough, competitive, feeling-less, and closed-off.
Show your gentle side. Be vulnerable.
Don’t believe anyone who says pink is only for girls. Pink is a fucking color not a label.
And while we’re at it, the only thing I can think of that’s “just for boys” is a urinal. And even that assumes certain biological sex characteristics. Everything else is fair game.
Please don’t use the terms sissy, pussy, or girly to denote “less than.”
Don’t hold back if you feel the tears coming. Holding them back creates scars and perpetuates the notion that men shouldn’t feel.
Build others up.
Spread gratitude.
Hold babies. Snuggle bunnies. Laugh and play with kids. Hug your family and friends.
Stand up for others.
Take care of your family. Defend and stick up for your brother.
Learn to communicate freely (without a screen or smartphone) and truly listen without judgement, IT’S A SKILL.
Share your emotions – the good stuff and the trickier stuff.
Cultivate compassion and empathy for others.
Don’t hold sad and mad feelings inside.
Treat women and all human beings with the greatest respect. Also all animals. (Yes, even bugs).
Learn mindfulness. It will save you from your monkey mind.
It’s OK to feel embarrassed and vulnerable. Everyone does. But not everyone knows how to be resilient.
Be thoughtful about how your actions and words affect others.
Above all else, be yourself.

I love you so freaking much it physically makes my heart ache. I hope you know that feeling some day.

Love, Mommy

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4 thoughts on “To my little boys: How to “Be A Man”

  1. I am so proud of you, Joy. This is a strong, compassionate message to your boys.
    I know that heart ache – I’ve had it for 40 years.
    Much love, Mom

  2. Joy, Very well said! I feel your passion as I read. Ash and Austin will become the kind of men you describe because the have you and Joe as their mentors. Love you lots, Dad

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