I Want My Son to Know…

I see a beautiful boy’s beautiful world through the eyes of my son. He’s 9. Old enough to process complexity but still a child.
Yet, the world wants him to grow up… in that traditional way.
A way that would leave him emotionally bereft, a hardened manchild, which perhaps explains why we have so many emotionally crippled manchild men over 30.
Cynicism and ‘tough guy’ posturing aren’t natural for 9-year-olds.
But I’ve seen it in many.
Girls have their own set of pressure and false programming. Boys receive one message over and over, “Don’t show weakness. Ever. Under any circumstance.”
“Boys don’t cry,” the world says. But that’s not true. Boys cry rivers of tears. They just learn to hide it young. By the time most boys have become men they’ve lost the capacity to feel fully.
Many men can’t cry. Even if we wanted to. We’ve lost the capacity.
Too much joy and you’re a dork. Show compassion to another human and you’re soft.
What feelings are boys allowed to feel?
Anger of course. That’s manly and expected, which might explain why it’s mostly boys and men who get into fights, commit violent crimes, crash cars, and commit suicide.
Boys are discouraged from showing pro-social emotions that connect and bring us together.
My son is on his own journey. I can’t shelter him from hardship, but there are a few things I want him to know.
I want him to know he never has to ‘man up.’
Because that term is just a thin veneer over, “never show any weakness.” Every man, from Brock Lesnar to Stephen Hawking knows deep down that we aren’t impervious to struggle. We’re not all powerful.
We’re made of flesh and blood and we hurt from time to time. “Manning up” should mean being honest and courageous, even if that means feeling weak for a moment or two.
That’s what I want for my son.
I want my son to know that boys can do anything.
Boys can have meaningful relationships. Boys can be a force for good. Boys don’t have to be society’s problem.
Boys can be friendly and connected, loving and kind, while still retaining masculine strength and direction.
These qualities aren’t conflicting.
I want my son to know that that caring equals strength.
Compassion is the ultimate strength. But compassion for others is impossible without compassion for oneself. We have a culture of misguided boys that become self self-loathing men who are incapable of compassion for themselves or others.
Boys are taught that caring is weakness, but it’s the ultimate strength.
Show me a man who cares only about himself and I’ll show you a brittle man.
I want my son to know he’s not a danger to society.
Boys can channel their enormous power, focus, energy, and drive towards positive and healthy ends.
Too many boys grow up thinking their only power comes from rabble-rousing and stirring up havoc.
The world needs healthy masculine energy now more than ever. I want my son to know that.
I want my son to know that he can understand women.
Show me a man who says, “I can’t understand women,” and I’ll show you a man who isn’t trying.
I want my son to know he can understand women because he can understand people.
I want my son to think of women as allies, not incomprehensible creatures with incomprehensible needs.
I want my son to know the most incredible expression of strength is love.
Because his heart is more powerful than anyone else I know, and I know that by loving others he is fully self expressed.
I want my son to know that not only is there no shame in that. On the contrary, it’s a point of pride now and forever.
I want him to know that he never has to mute his ability to love and that anyone who tells him otherwise has simply muted his own.
I want my son to know his future doesn’t have to look a certain way.
Because I know his future is more incredible than I can imagine.
I want my son to know he never has to stop daydreaming.
Because daydreaming is what geniuses and little boys do [and that’s pretty much the same thing anyways].
I want my son to know the pursuit of more for the sake of more will not make him more.
I want him to know that he’s complete as he is. I want him to pursue his wildest childlike dreams because what the fuck else is there to this life?
I want my son to know I will always love him.
Even when he pisses me off. Even when we disagree… especially when we disagree.
Read More By Zander Robertson on the ManTalks Blog:
There’s Nothing Left to Do But Die
The 5 Key Steps to Editing Your Life Story
Zander RobertsonZander Robertson is editor-in-chief of the Mantalks blog. He’s ghostwritten more than 20 books for major publishing houses and self publishers. Zander believes that the world turns on powerful, raw, and true stories. Visit his website to learn more. 
Email him at [email protected] to pitch your article idea for ManTalks.
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