I was recently talking to two other moms who are parents to tween/teen girls. I mostly was listening as they talked about worries they have for their girls. They were talking about dating, and what if something happened to one of them. You know, the typical mom stuff that we all worry about. They also talked about their worries that there were no boys out there good enough for their girls.
As I was listening, I was mostly keeping quiet. Because, who knows how I will really feel when my daughter starts to really like boys? Worrying about her dating isn't on my radar yet. But, these two moms were obviously worried. In one Mom's mind, all these boys were doomed to a life of not being good enough. Something about the conversation just didn't sit well with me, but I wasn't quite sure what.
I realized what it was a couple of days after. It was the fact that I am raising two boys of my own.
And, believe me, this isn't the first time I've heard this kind of talk from moms of young girls. I started to wonder, will my boys automatically be assumed to be bad before they are assumed to be good? Just because they are boys?
And, then it's like the universe was giving me more things to think about. Like articles about boys being just boys from the time they come out of the womb. Crazy, wild, into jumping around and destroying stuff. Believe me, my boys are like this too. And, I didn't raise them this way intentionally. They just are. They are Crazy. Wild. Carefree. Uninhibited. FUN.
They are amazingly fun.
My daughter was the firstborn and she did not prepare us for boys in any way whatsoever. She sat in a corner with her toys and whispered while she played. I'm not even kidding. She whispered.
In church the other day, she drew the alphabet with a picture to go along with each letter in nice rows and columns. My son drew pictures of bombs. I kid you not. In church.
But, I've been lucky to surround myself with lots of friends that have boys too, so I don't have much experience running into the judgmental mom that is often wishing my son would stop being so... ya know, boy-like. But, I know they're out there.
I read a lot of blog posts, and articles about concerns families have for their girls, and since I have both a girl and boys, raising boys is on my mind because I just don't see those kinds of posts as much. My job to raise these boys to be not only decent men, but good ones is important.
I try to protect them, and help them when they make wrong choices. But, are other moms that aren't raising boys just full of fear for their daughters? Do they worry that because they are boys, with boy-like inclinations, that they are doomed to fall into the traps of pornography, pride and disrespect for women? Will it be assumed by those that are raising girls that boys their girls' age just aren't good enough simply because they are male?
And it hit me with full force. We try so hard to talk about female empowerment, feminism, rights and how girls should not depend on a man to be happy, etc. etc. etc., but what about the boys? I don't like thinking that the world is assuming my boys will undoubtedly fail to be a good man some day.
Of course, no matter how hard I try to raise my boys right, there is no way of guaranteeing they won't screw up. Break a girls' heart. Look at pornography. Cheat on their wife. In life, there are no guarantees. I can talk about how to respect women, while also acknowledging their equality until I'm blue in the face, but there is no guarantee that I will raise boys that will turn out to be perfect men, but I'm trying to raise good men. But, I also don't believe for one second that because they are boys, they will automatically fail at the standard that some moms of girls are setting for them.
I have also read a lot of articles about women trying to raise strong, independent daughters. I think that's commendable. There are a LOT of "what I want my daughter to know...." type posts. But, let's not discount that there can and WILL be good men that are raised in today's society too. The same generation that is trying to raise good girls to be confident, strong-willed and independent are also raising boys to be respectful, trustworthy and moral. And, some of us are lucky enough to raise boys and girls.
So, my suggestion to all of you mothers out there of teen/tween girls that are worried is be worried. But, don't count on there being no boys out there for your daughters to date that are good enough. Don't say in front of your young daughters that all the boys her age are stupid, dumb, thoughtless or not good enough. Watch how you speak about the opposite sex in front of your girls. I believe there are good teen/tween boys being raised, too. I know a few of them myself.
Right now, I look at my little boys and I see kindness, and sweetness and respectfulness. Sure, they are only 6 and 3, but they are in a loving home where they are learning how to treat girls, what is right and wrong and how to show emotions in appropriate ways. They have a father who is a good man. One of the best. The world isn't just raising confident, independent, feminist girls. It is also raising strong, loving, compassionate men, too.
To all of you moms with young, impressionable teen/tween girls: Remember me (and all the other moms of boys) when you're talking in front of your girls. Remember that I'm trying my best to raise good men. And, I hope, to succeed. Your daughters believe you when you say that there are no boys out there good enough for them. Sure, a woman doesn't need a man to survive, but let's not raise her thinking that not only does she not need them, but that there actually aren't any good ones. Because, that doesn't give me, and the rest of the moms raising boys much credit.