(I wish to someday have children and should one of them be a boy, this is what I would want for him. However, I have worked with many young men who I have treated in a similar fashion, so this message is intended for all boys and young men – and grown-up men who should have heard this while they were growing up.)
A letter to my son:
This world, and particularly this country, is filled with messages written for empowering girls…and I don’t want you to think that you are being ignored – at least not by me.
I worry for your future and that of your friends. I want you to know that with the right learning and with hard work, there is very little that you can’t do. Any job that you aspire to, any career that sounds cool, challenging, exciting – you can do. You can be a lawyer, teacher, mechanic, nurse, soldier, biologist, pediatrician, accountant, economist… the sky’s (and your talents’) the limit. Work hard in school, especially in the subjects that are harder for you. I will even get you extra help or help you myself, should it be an area I’m good in.
I know it is often uncool to be a boy (young man) and be smart. Though it seems far into the future, it is even more uncool (and stressful, particularly as a man in our society) to have very limited options for employment. Believe it or not, all of the subjects in school matter in helping you become a well-rounded (and employable) adult.
You have the intellectual ability to do well in school and you have the ability to excel in various areas. Don’t be afraid to live up to your potential. And I promise you that so long as you try your hardest and you challenge yourself, I will remain proud of you, whatever the outcome.
But just because you don’t hear it from a school program, just because some soap company doesn’t have commercials geared toward empowering you… the message should be loud and clear from me:
You are beautiful.
You have a good heart.
You are witty.
You are smart.
You are wise beyond your years.
You can be anything you want to be.
You do not have to look like, act like, or sound like the men you see on TV, in the movies, or in magazines or the Internet.
Take time to invest in yourself and getting to know yourself (and talk to me about your discoveries on this journey).
And, for goodness sake, even if you are amazing in one or more sports, find the academic area(s) where you’re amazing and spend as much or more time honing those skills… your mind is worth more and the talents of it last longer than those of your body.
I believe in you, I support you, and you can be anything you want to be – no limits beyond your own imagination.
Dream big. Follow thru. Work hard. Have fun. Enjoy the journey.
Love you always,