As the world is waking up to the awareness of mental health I wanted to talk about raising Boys this week.
Hero Bear is now four years old. From the day he was born he's always been referred to as "a bit funny with new people" and of course "a little sensitive". The Hero I know is sensitive. He loves cuddles & the sacred space his furry blanket creates for him. But once he gets to know you. you'll have friend for life.
So lets set the scene. Last week I am in the supermarket and He's tired, so I admit defeat and for peace we manage to get his long legs into the trolley seat. but he's still red eyed and whimpering. He just wants to go home and snuggle with his doggy on the sofa. And after a long day at nursery who can really blame him.
As we go through the doors to the fruit and veg, a lady behind me looks at Hero and frowns, as he hides his face in his hands she says "Oh come on now, boys don't cry!".
"Oh come on now, BIG boys don't cry do they!?".
I smile at her as he continues to hide his red eyes and I say "Actually we say big boys can cry whenever they feel they need to". Her jaw drops in confusion and I feel a ping of guilt. Perhaps Hero wasn't the only one who was tired? I mean she didn't mean anything by it.. I inhale as if to say something, thinking I'll smooth it over and make light of my comment, but that Muma Bear in me says "No, just leave it". So I leave her awkwardly staring at the lemons.
You see I refuse to inhabit my son's sensitive feelings. They deserve to be acknowledged just as much as everyone else's. I also refuse to punish him for his feelings. Yes he's only four and sometimes things are blown out of proportion. But for Hero it's important. Those feelings should be acknowledged and then worked through. no matter what.
You see for years it has been said that Boys shouldn't cry, that they should have a stiff upper lip and that they need to "Suck it up Son" . This then progresses through the years to the statement we hear so often "You need to man up!". This implies that to be considered a man you aren't allowed to be emotional, you aren't allowed to share how you feel and you certainly aren't allowed to admit you aren't coping.
Excuse my language but what the actual f***?!
Society may not favor sensitive boys
but we damn well should do.
So fast forward several generations and where has that got us? It's got us to a place where suicide is the single biggest killer in men under 45s in the UK? and 76% of UK suicides are men. 76%!!! Just let that sink in...That's a hell of a lot of men that feel they have nowhere to turn and no one to talk to. That's a hell of a lot of men that feel unable to talk about how they feel.
My point today is for too long men's emotions have been deemed unimportant or not to be shared with others. Talking about how you feel and your emotions is not a weakness. In fact we tell Hero it's a super power. It's OK to talk no matter your age.
If we raise our boys to understand their emotions, to not be ashamed and to speak openly about how they feel, we could save the next generation from a lot of heartache and struggle.
so here's to sensitive boys who will grow into sensitive men.
Raise them, Love them and celebrate them
because they can change the world.
Oceans of Love Cx
Charlie Edwards - Best Selling Author & Editor in Chief @ Untamed Soul Magazine.
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