We must raise our boys to be emotionally literate.
As a grandmother I am worried about how our boys are being raised. Are they being raised to be emotionally literate?
I grew up in an age where women were ignored. Where they were only thought of as good for being wives, mothers and sex objects.
The women’s movement changed all of that and allowed many women and their men to become more humane with one another.
During this time I was raising four boys, and I so wanted them to not only speak from their head, but be connected to their hearts. I encouraged them to feel.
One even got mad at me when he got older saying, “Why did you raise me to be so open?” That was quite shocking to me, to have my own son angry with me for raising him to be open, but I got it. He was not understanding how to have an open heart in a culture that only emphasized using your brain and not your heart. It’s very painful and one has to be very courageous.
When I began dating online I would see the same thing happening. Many of the men had no connection with their hearts and would constantly speak to me from a place in their head, and if they were open hearted with me it lasted for a short amount of time and then they closed up.
What I see now is us concentrating on our girls, wanting them to be competitive in the job market, and giving them all of the opportunities available to them, but ignoring our boys.
I don’t see or hear us encouraging our boys to be kind, gentle, considerate, respectful and I don’t see us supporting our little boys to have an open heart.
We’ve always had violence in our culture, but why are we seeing so many more young boys going into schools and creating the most violent of acts shooting their contemporaries or little children.
We seemed to have ignored our little boys. Rather than asking them what’s wrong when they’re crying, we’re telling them to man up and stop crying. Why are we over encouraging them all go to top schools, rather than letting them know they can go to tech schools and still get a good education, make decent money and have a good life.
Why do we tell our little boys to man up, when what they need is for us to sit with them and find out where they are at and what’s wrong?
So many parents have been wounded themselves in their own upbringing (who hasn’t), and why haven’t they taken the time to find out what they can change within themselves so they don’t repeat the same mistakes that were done to them. Why do they feel money will take care of everything?
I do see many more men involved in their children’s upbringing, but you cannot be there physically without showing up emotionally.
If your little boy is crying and you are once again telling him to “Man up and stop crying” or telling him “You must never show your emotions because that’s a sign of weakness,” where does it leave him as a member of our society?
If we are so busy working, traveling, to give him everything we never had, this is the message we’re sending to our boys: “The only thing I can give to you is material possessions and you must always be the provider and you must never show when you are weak and falling apart.
Look at all of those men in our Congress—they are not representing us. Their message to us, and our little boys, is that greed rules.
Many single men are now raising children, many gay men and women are raising children. With all that we’ve gone through as a culture, and with all of the changes we’ve made, don’t you think it’s time to devote more time to our boys and show them not only how to be a man, but how to be a man with an open heart?
The old ways of raising our boys aren’t working. And the advancement of technology does not encourage verbal communication. It encourages communication, but at what cost to an emotionally intimate conversation with another human being.
If we don’t teach our boys to be emotionally literate they will never learn about compassion, and what kind of society will we have then?
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Photo: elephant archives