In case you missed it, here’s how my week went:
Wednesday night, I’m brushing my teeth & scrolling through Instagram (bad habit, blah blah). And what do I see? Glennon Doyle & Abby Wambach are doing a free talk in Boston for Hubweek the very next day?! I settle into bed having made the very exciting - & very ambitious - decision to go. Here’s the crazy thing, kids - I woke up, & I ACTUALLY WENT. I packed up the little man, all his gear, enough food to keep him eating for hours, & drove to Faneuil Hall. It was uplifting & wonderful & soul-refreshing & inspiring, even with a toddler who screamed & ran around the room the entire time. (He also made friends with a puppy.) And then Glennon & Abby both regrammed my photo & tagged me & I’m dead from the awe of it all. I could write for days about the overwhelming emotion I felt after that hour. But that’s not what this post is about. At least, not really.
At the end of the hour, they took questions. The last question related to how, as parents, we raise our boys & girls to be everything they can be. Glennon remarked on how she whispered to her daughters that they could be anything - smart, strong, angry, opinionated - from birth. It wasn’t until much later that she realized she hadn’t done the equivalent for her son. To sum up the discussion, feminism is about including boys & men - just as women can be strong &. opinionated, men can be sensitive & thoughtful. As Glennon remarked, “The future isn’t female. The future is for everyone who believes in everybody.”
Into my mind flashed a New York Times article that came out last month which had a similar bottom line: while we shifted some (SOME!) expectations for women, we haven’t done the same for men. Adolescent girls have begun to feel that they can be anything they’d like to be, as is evidenced by their reported future goals. No matter how slightly that needle shifts in the right direction, we should be celebrating it! But, on the other hand, adolescent boys still feel restricted by traditional gender roles. They don’t feel as though they can be things other than strong & taciturn. While this is a HUGE disservice to every single boy & man, it is a crushing detriment to our girls & women. This has been particularly evident over the last few weeks (years, decades…). We’re creating a world of men who feel they can be nothing but angry. A world of angry men doesn’t make a world of equality. It doesn’t make a safe world, or a healthy world, or a happy world.
Maybe in a future post I will get into my Social Emotional Learning work & why I think it’s the future. My experience in that room yesterday certainly inspired many more posts. But, for now, I’m going to leave you with this:
As the mother, I focus on one small act of rebellion every single day. Even on days where the house is a mess & I’ve lost my temper & I haven’t gotten one iota of work done, I have accomplished this one meaningful thing: I nurture every feeling that little boy has. Every feeling. I acknowledge his anger, his frustration, his sadness, his fragility, his sensitivity. I tell him every day that he is thoughtful & sweet & helpful & kind & brave. It’s a small act because the moments are tiny, the effort is minimal - but the effect is monumental. Change happens in the smallest moments.
So, mamas, be rebels.