In a world oversaturated with the complaints of harassment, cries of feminism, and sobs of #MeToo, one rarely comes across something talking about the not-so-evil version of boys (and men).
You pick up a newspaper, turn the TV on, lurk on social media, and you can count all the bad men on your fingertips (you’ll need many fingers for that, of course), but you’ll find it really hard to look for good men. If you are a man, you will doubt your politeness, you’ll start questioning your niceness. You might even start believing that you’re born this way and that decency is not for you.
A sweet son, a caring brother, or a decent man is not found in many magazines and newspapers these days. And when you do find him, he is almost always sitting in a corner, not being made the cover story (because such stories don’t sell), waiting for you to at least look at him, give him a chance, or maybe a fair trial for something he shouldn’t even be accused of.
I had accepted men to be evil, and was almost getting satisfied with this thought, when I read Faith Salie’s "How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men." Just by associating the quality of sweetness with a son, she has done something special. The fact that she doesn’t curse men or rant in this piece of hers, but instead gives hope and a solution so simple that it makes one wonder why no one has thought of it before.
Boys must, at least, be allowed to feel. They should have the right to cry. They shouldn’t be keeping their sadness hidden. They should have the liberty to accept that they do get hurt, that they are not made to fight, that they are, after all, humans.
When you associate the "qualities" of toughness, aggression, and anger with boys, you’re taking something very important away from them -- emotions, feelings that make them human. When you do not let them feel afraid, sad, and silly, you’re taking bits of humanity from them, engendering frustration, anger, and all that we come across in the news.
Sweet boys exist, decent men are still present, and we can find more of them if we let our kids feel. Believe me, once you get to know him, the good guy, you will feel a little relieved.
“Boys will not be merely boys. If we let them, boys will be human.”
– Faith Salie