Raising a "Man" in Today's World | Indiana Lifestyle Photographer
It's impossible to ignore the daily, heartbreaking headlines that scroll across our tv screens, pop up on our social media feeds and on the news apps on our phones. It seems that every single day there is more trouble, more violence, more disagreements, more upheaval, more stories of lost people that are off track and are making decisions that hurt others. School shootings, mass shootings, homocides, suicides, bombings, bullying, abuse, neglect... It can be so easy to lose hope in our world today, but it's important that we don't. The more and more I read and hear about the terrible events that are happening in our world - to our neighbors, to our children, to our loved ones - I can't help but think, what is the root cause of all this? Why is today's world so different than it used to be? And where do you even begin to make a positive change?
I'm nowhere close to even beginning to have the answers. But this documentary - it has been weighing heavy on my mind and heart since I watched it. It emphasizes primarily how boys growing up in our society are taught that it is not okay to talk about their feelings and seek help when it is needed. That they need to be tough and "be a man" at all times.
Tell me - what does being "a man" look like to you? When you think about good men - the kind of men our world needs today - what does that look like? What type of man do you hope your own son will grow up to be one day? Now think, are we equipping the boys in our lives with the tools they need to achieve those qualities, or are we hindering them by allowing society to continually teach them unrealistic and untrue ideas of what they should look like and become?
Being a mother to a little boy myself, this weighs heavily on me. I want him to know that being "a man" is so much more than being tough and hard, being strong, being good at sports, etc. I want him to know that it is okay to be gentle and loving, compassionate and kind. That it's okay to talk about his feelings, ask questions and seek help and support from someone he trusts when he is in need. How sad that so many young children and young adults feel so much hopelessness and desperation. And how heartbreaking is it to know that they could be helped, but they are too fearful to reach out to someone because they see that as being weak or not "manly"? Or equally as heartbreaking, because they feel they have no-one to turn to for help?
We can't continually expect that our society and world as we know it today will change without our input. If we want tomorrow to be characterized by more love, more empathy, more understanding and compassion - then WE have to start today, and we have to start with the children that are growing up in and learning from this world we're living in. If we aren't careful, they will learn from what they see on tv and their video game screens, from social media, from the radio, and from poor examples they may see in their daily lives. Let's be honest, life is totally different for kids growing up today. They aren't facing near as much as we were growing up. We can't assume they will naturally have the skills and wisdom needed to make smart choices and decisions for themselves and their lives. They have to be taught and shown. We have to protect them from untruths and give them the tools they need to navigate the messiness of this world. They need real, living, positive examples in their lives - people they can see, talk to and learn from. We can all be that. It just takes being intentional and making the decision to make a difference, rather than sit on the sidelines and wait around for change. Having a positive impact on just one person can make more of a difference than we will ever know.
Is there an easy, quick fix to the troubles of our world? Absolutely not. But being the change we want to see is a start, and it's something we can begin today, without waiting on someone else to begin the work for us. What do you think?
Whether you're a parent (especially if you have a son), a mentor, a teacher, a coach, or in any position in which you work with children - I highly recommend you watch this documentary. We all have the opportunity to make a positive impact in the life of a child. We can all serve as a mentor or positive example in the life of someone who desperately needs it, and I can't think of a better time when it's needed more than today.
Below you'll find the full documentary, which you can watch here or you can click on the "YouTube" icon and it will take you to the site. You can also find it on Netflix. If you watch it, I'd love to know your thoughts!