"Boys will be boys"… I disagree. I believe that there are values that we can consciously teach them when they are young and behaviours that we can help correct with awareness and communication when they are older.
When I witness a man treating a woman poorly (in some cases, that woman is me), I often think: "I would feel bad if I was the mother who raised you!". As a woman, a part of me would feel guilty for not instilling better values in my son when it comes to the way he treats the women in his life.
Most parents are very concerned about the way their daughter dresses, speaks or acts when she is around men. However, they seem less concerned about the way their son acts towards the opposite gender.
As a teenager, I remember my dad always warning me about boys because "they only want one thing". And I always thought "if their behaviour is an issue, then why not tackle... the issue! Why not teach them different rather than make me feel uncomfortable with exploring my femininity?"
They say that it's a woman who makes a man. This saying usually refers to the lady that shares his life, his life partner, but I firmly believe that the first woman to "make a man" should be his mother. As I’m contemplating motherhood, I am writing these words to my unborn son. I hope to set the intention of him growing up to be a man who is confident in himself no matter what and can treat women with respect.
I don’t know if you will ever exist but, if you ever make me the honour of coming into my life, I would love to express these words to you.
I know you will never fully understand what it is like to grow up being a girl (just like I will never fully understand what it is like to grow up being a boy) but just remember that it can be quite different from your experience. You know, many of us grew up scared to be girls because of what boys can do.
To help you understand, I would like to share some of my experiences with you. I’ve been made fun of over a stupid bet in seventh grade, choked at a party, harassed on the phone by an ex years after I ended the relationship, publicly shamed on social media and lied about by that same ex all because I wanted to move on.
I don’t expect you to be perfect and to never make mistakes but I expect you to treat women with respect, to see them as your equal and to think before you act, especially when you are being pressured by your male friends.
Know that you can still be masculine and be a good listener, be strong and show sensitivity, be a leader and be supportive… How you treat women will reflect on how I raised you.
I’m looking forward to guiding you in becoming the best man you can be, because my boy, you will be a man and a great one.