From Boys To Men

This video really spoke to me when I first saw it.  I’ve watched it 3 times and for an internet video, I never really watch more than once as things we find on the internet need to be taken with a gargantuan grain of salt.  I’ve thought about this subject matter in reflection of my own life, insecurities and dealing with people, but more importantly, how my wife and I are raising our 3 boys.

Please click the link below and watch the attached video….

http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-absolutely-wrong-with-what-we-do-to-boys-before-they-grow-into-men

It’s so true that we are asked repeatedly as men, boys, to sack up, man up, push down our feelings and not give it a second thought.  That is really harmful and I think it’s worse in the U.S. because of our constant inflating and deflating of our egos.

As a father, I’m totally guilty of it.  I hear crying, whining, complaining and irrational venting.  I respond by yelling, sending kids to their rooms, time-out, deny them treats, take away toys, basically anything I can think of but draw the line at violence.  They’re not always wrong, but if I don’t scold them, then they’re given the impression that their behavior is okay.  To be specific, today, playing outside, Andy was bursting into tears at every little thing, his helmet was too tight, his bike wouldn’t go as he was trying to pedal up a slope.  This is a new bike and new helmet, so we just had to make adjustments.  My thinking is, let’s just discuss it, Andy needs to ask for help; yes he’s got to calm down and ask nicely and be polite.  This is just today between 4pm-5pm, to be fair, his brothers also had their times today and I have to remind myself that they’re kids, constantly learning and testing to see what they can get away with.  One of my most difficult tasks as a Dad is I’m always looking for rationality from irrational brains.

I definitely have many fears about the future for my kids.  I want to make sure that I convey the importance of talking about things that might seem petty, but important, no less, to my children.   Mental health is an issue that has been misunderstood, misdiagnosed and ignored for too long.  We as a society need to change that and it starts at home.  If our kids are not shown love and understanding, then they will never know a how to give love and understanding.

I am always trying to remember what it was like to be a kid as I watch my own.  My previous comment about the future relates to exactly that.  I can’t imagine being a kid today, from technology to the way technology is manipulated to exploit and endanger is hard for me to grasp.  I’ve been needing to change the settings on the iPads as AJ searches online for videos relating to Scooby Doo and Skylanders Giants, but general searches could lead him anywhere.  I was told that having no restrictions on Internet searches is like sending them out alone at night in NYC.  My kids could handle it, but I wouldn’t want them to have to do it.

When I talk about the future of my kids, I am trying to remember middle school and high school, but I should probably include elementary school as well as our kids are exposed to so much more real life, earlier in life.  They are also exposed to so much more that is not real and they need guidance, preferably parental.  When I was in middle school, I had awful friends and I changed that in high school.  While I was still an immature kid, I also learned that it was important to have friends that build you up and to do the same for them, as I think that as a teenage boy, it was in our nature to cut each other down.  That is so important to building relationships, whether it’s with teachers, peers, bosses or family members.  We have to be good to each other.  Many of us are on Facebook (or whatever social media you choose) every day and our interactions since not face to face, are not 100% genuine.  We post what we want people to perceive about us and if someone does us wrong, it’s so much easier to call them out on it from behind the laptop screen. That’s one reason cyber-bullying has become such an issue in recent years. There is no fear of consequences as kids don’t see the repercussions of their actions immediately and need something drastic to happen to make them realize that the internet can be damaging and permanent.

fb 1There are 1000’s of tangents that could lead into lengthy discussions but the bottom line here is that we cannot act surprised by our kids’ actions if we’re the ones shaping them.  Kids are so impressionable. They will go through things we will never understand. It is important that we as parents are the ones that give them the strongest positive influences. Kids learn through our modeling. It is important that we are aware of how behavior influences them. We have to make an effort to spend quality time to get to know who our kids really are and make them feel comfortable enough for them to show us.

**All of the attached media in this post was found at the George Takei Fan Page on Facebook, with a link to the attached video at www.upworthy.org, both are highly recommended and I give 2 enthusiastic thumbs up.  Thanks George!

 

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