Friday, September 4, 2009

Raising Cain

Anyone seen this documentary yet? If you have boys, or even if you don't..but especially if you do, I highly recommend it! The movie goes into the lives of American boys and how we are raising them. I cried through the whole movie, thankful that my boys were given my gentle husband for a father rather than meat-head all American "manly at all costs" fathers, or worse no dad or an abusive dad. Get this-boys are more sensitive than girls. Yet, we raise them to hide their emotions, act manly, get along with less sensitivity and help. Sad.

I used to want a girl so badly. My husband and I have decided that we will bring no more children into the world, but rather give a home to children already here who need one. I have fantasized about adopting a little girl, all the while having a deep knowing that my lot in life is to raise boys. This documentary actually made me want to raise all boys. How 'bout that?! I have a thing for boys...an extra, extra soft spot in my heart for them. I think they have it harder than girls in this world. We expect so much from them and don't really understand them.

Boys who have good fathers often are still misguided..as their fathers were, no body's fault, just the way they were raised and are now raising their sons. You know, "piano and drama is for girls...football is for boys" type of conditioning. Then there is the epidemic of boys without fathers at all. Jeez...not to even mention children with abusive fathers. I'm not saying football is bad, people. Boys are inherently more active and more likely to want to play sports. I'm just saying if they'd rather be in drama, who are we to stop them? It's actually damaging to stop them from what they are drawn to do.

Oh!..and raising them with sensitivity, while it does mean letting them take piano and play with dolls, does NOT mean that we have to freak out when our two year old picks up a stick and pretends it's a gun. I used to always redirect my children away from violent play until I learned that it is actually healthy for them. There is violence in the world and this is their way of processing it, to play it out. They don't actually get the reality of killing and death at a young age. It's normal for them to go to that place in their imagination and there is no indication that they will be violent when they are older if they are allowed to go to that place in their imagination at a young age. On the contrary, it's violent images on TV and video games that they cannot process that can lead to actual violence.

Let's step up to the plate and understand our boys. Let's give them support, guidance and allow them the freedom to grow and learn without heavy expectations of them being tougher than girls. Oh, and watch the documentary!