I have had this as a potential blog topic for quite a while, but it feels especially relevant now. The older I get the more I have opinions on women’s rights legislation, and politics in general. I don’t claim to be a feminist- I really just feel like a mama, trying to raise decent human beings in this ever increasingly hateful world I feel like we live in. I am anti-Trump, believe love is love and this world needs more of it, and I firmly believe no one has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.
I am also an Atheist. I do not say this to exclude anyone from my blog, because this is a safe space for everyone and of every faith. I am trying to be as honest as I can on here, and my religious preferences shape how I live and raise my kids. I used to be a Christian, and struggled with my views on abortion. Now having kids of my own and having different religious views, I feel so much different. I also work in an industry where I see what happens to children born to parents who don’t love them, and this has also greatly altered my perceptions. If you totally disagree with my political and religious views, I ain’t even mad! We can all still come together under the common umbrella of “raising kids is hard AF” and voila!- we are back on the same page again 🙂
No matter what views you have, raising boys in this era comes with a lot of challenges. Not including the normal “boys are less drama than girls but harder to keep alive” mantra, of course. If you have girls at home, please leave comments below on what unique challenges you face, I want to hear them!
How do you raise boys to be respectful of women in a world where women are fighting for equal rights, equal pay, and personal safety? Dading and I already know we have to teach the boys about consent- this is NOT something they just know on their own. That if you have to buy a girl a few drinks before she accepts your advances, that is NOT consent. That their bodies and that of their partners (boys or girls) are to be respected and treated as something of value.
I want to raise boys that hold open the door for a mama with a stroller. That help an elderly man that fell on the sidewalk. That don’t bully and give into peer pressure about what they should or should not have done with a girl yet. I want boys that LOVE hard and fearlessly and without prejudice. I want boys that are tolerant of all religious and spiritual beliefs, no matter their own preference. I want boys that will stand up for what is right, not give in to what is easy.
So how do we do this? In a nutshell- kids learn by example. Society doesn’t seem to be setting a good one, and that bar is set pretty low right now- so we have to work even harder. It doesn’t matter what parental units you have or don’t have at home- work with what you got.
Biggie and Smalls aren’t old enough yet to ask about politics, or understand gender pay gaps. But when we watch The Greatest Showman and Biggie asks why Zendaya’s and Zac Efron’s characters are sad, we have an amazing conversation about diversity and acceptance, and how the only thing that matters about a person is what’s on the inside, not the color they are. (Seriously this movie is an amazing teaching moment, watch it with your heathens).
So we lead by example. We weed out negative intolerant people from our children’s lives. We surround them with love and structure and boundaries. We encourage reaching out for help when it’s needed, and never to lash out in anger. If you ask Biggie what family does, he will automatically tell you “watch out for each other.” We ingrain in their heads that as brothers they are responsible for each other and will always have each other to rely on.
And when they are older, I look forward to their questions about politics and legislation. I hope by that time we have put in enough hard work that they can see for themselves where the issues are. I hope they fight to change them. The world isn’t ready for them 🙂