Bringing up boys to become glorious men!
Bringing up boys to become glorious men!
“You didn’t come with an instruction manual you know...” – a statement my angelic mother always made rather clear to me as a young man whenever something was amiss. Sometimes said sternly, but always lovingly, it was a way of stating transparently she didn’t have all the answers and that she was just giving parenting the best she had; almost a declaration that she wished she knew more or had been handed a manual on raising boys.
In a 2017 survey, 47,000 Australian kids aged 6 to 18 were questioned on current health concerns. More than half across the board worried about being bullied, over 60% worried about body image (18 year old boys more often than 18 year old girls) and nearly three quarters of the youngsters quizzed were seriously concerned about their future in general. [i]
Also when looking at the study, the question arises; why is the most common concern for 10-year-old boys to be worried about their future? Is it because they are mirroring what their parents bring into the home each day?
How does a parent truly prepare their young son to brave the world ahead of them?
To begin, is the question flawed? Brave? Is the concept of struggle learned? A small child is born with an innocent disposition – he or she doesn’t even know the concept of struggle, worry or that there’s anything to brave; until that is, the words ‘oopsy-daisy’ are introduced. This is a concept brought forward by Serge Benhayon – that there is nothing wrong with having a wobble as one learns to walk. How else does one learn to walk without falling and isn’t any part of the process that enables walking a great thing, rather than to be made wrong?
The world we know – or perhaps more aptly said, the people of the world – seem imbued with a sense of struggle and therefore to harden oneself in preparation to it has been the advice of many as their logical answer – but is it? Fragile 3 or 4-year-old boys are exactly that: fragile, delicate, often extremely sensitive and asexual in their tendencies, and sometimes even their appearance. Why is it that as a parent, or even a family friend of a young man, we have so many automated responses that predominately lean toward hardening them? So many questions and who has the answers – it’s a matter of looking at the way we have been bringing up boys and realizing there’s more to the story.
So, who is guiding us, to guide our young? Let’s explore that.
One could argue that it’s stereotypical, but for many fathers, witnessing their young son playing with a doll or in girls clothes nets a relatively stock standard response: essentially to move them away from that type of play and toward something more boy-like and respectable; trucks or hammers etc. Some, may even blatantly tell them not to ‘be gay’ or play ‘like a girl’ – as though it’s threatening their own manhood. There have been shifts in this type of parenting, but it’s still relative and illustrative.
The young boy who runs into the corner of a coffee table is frequently and quickly shushed, defined immediately as ‘you’re all right’. But don’t they need dearly attending to, settling and being held close, as would any little girl? It’s the classic case of dressing boys in blue and girls in pink – who made that silent rule? Whilst clichés, there are undercurrents such as these that continue to flow; an undercurrent of raising boys that is strong and silent and harmful beyond imagination and to stem the tide will take a paradigm shift.
Could it be that many fathers are operating from an unaware space, with undealt grief from losing or shutting down their own sensitivity? Are they projecting onto their sons a protected way of living that abides by the status quo, rather than expressing themselves as they naturally had a tendency to do so?
One need only walk into any toy shop and try to find an arts and crafts gift for a young boy (often just as creative and gifted in sewing or arranging beads as his similar aged sister), to realize that if you want to buy him that gift you are going to have to cross a threshold of sorts: it’s going to be packaged in a bright pink box!
And what’s wrong with that you ask? Great question! Well, truly there’s no issue with that at all – you can hand him the present in the pink box and most young boys won’t bat an eyelid provided they haven’t already been convinced that femininity in any form is weakness. Why as parents can we not:
Select a present by sensing the young man’s qualities, rather than that of the silent stereotype?
Have enough understanding to foster all parts of our boys, rather than just the typically masculine side of them – all too often seen as the only strong side, completely devaluing 50% of the boy in the process?
We’re talking about rejection here: rejecting the innate feminine and sensitive qualities of men. Rejecting one’s Ying and bolstering the Yang was only ever going to create an unbalancing of men. This imbalance just adds weight to the untruth men are trying to protect themselves from: the lie that men aren’t sensitive!
Could you imagine if just a handful of young boys went to crèche or primary school truly prepared for the world, rather than against it? Not just braced and desensitized so the world couldn’t hurt them anymore. Imagine bringing up boys supported by their parents, honoured in their inherent delicateness. Young men presenting something so utterly different, yet completely true of what all young males have in spades. Imagine a young man knowing his sensitivity to be his greatest power, not needing to display a complete veil of hardness and heightened masculinity.
Alas, the critical mass of men have shut away this side of them, causing the wearing down of or straight out attack on men living in their essence. To quote Serge Benhayon who clarifies beautifully this point:
"Parenting is largely about getting out of the way whilst we nurture the child’s essence into adulthood. This way, the child can be who they are in full rather than making kids into who and what the parents need them to be"Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings and Revelations Volume II, Ed. 1, p 308
A young boy who has been confirmed to the hilt – for his every feeling, for his every breath – is such a child. There’s not a greater preparation for him in the world and not a better reflection for the world to receive: a boy who is repeatedly responded to and met for his feminine qualities as much as he is for being masculine and physically strong. A boy who is not introduced to the code of ethics of being a tough man, instead, who is treated as delicate, and for whom vulnerability is his greatest strength. We would see a young boy who is ridiculed for nurturing another boy hurt in the playground turn and face his taunters, and rather than pretend not to be so caring, to react back at them or take it personally, would simply have an understanding that his taunters are denying themselves of their own sensitivity.
We would see young boys play sport to within their limits, stop when they are sore or even choose a different extra-curricular activity altogether – absent of bone-clashing competition. We would see more men walking tall and clear of the resentment that often fuels their corporate careers or business conquests, following their hearts to where their expression is strong, true and more likely to experience a flow and temporal success, unreachable by forcing their way through a career perhaps they never wanted. A place where the incessant toughening, trying and betterment is a thing of the past and an opportunity for men to stop rotting in drive and begin their natural expression. Contentment is a rare thing in a man today.
As we can see, there is plenty to discuss; at the dinner table, during pillow talk and through self-reflection, the greatest place of all. The statistics are pointing at us, begging for a closer look. In bringing up boys with ultimate awareness we prepare them for the world in the strength of their delicacy and not against it; our cribs, playgrounds and cities will likely be filled with fuller, wiser and more truly delightful men. For as Gus Worland from the recent TV series Man Up has highlighted on his website: “Alarming new research suggests that some men choose to take their own life, rather than appear weak by asking for help.” Associate Professor Gibbs from the Behind the News research goes on to say, “What was really troubling was that 26 per cent of children said they wouldn’t speak to anyone about their worries.”
Let’s turn the tide on this insidious culture of hardening boys through their childhood. Let’s embrace them at all ages for the dear, sensitive and precious beings they are, taking a forward stance with them throughout their incredibly important and formative years, raising boys to become glorious men.