My first born and only son turned 18 today. It feels like such a historical moment as he officially transitions from a teenager to an adult. It feels like just yesterday I witnessed him take in the world for the very first time, walk for the first time, talk for the first time and….RUN for the first time. #Yogirunnerboy
As I sit back and observe him taking his right of passage into manhood, my heart swells with pride. He is a perfect example of a man our world so desperately needs. And although I cannot take all of the credit for who he has become, I can reflect on how I chose to raise him. As I continue to embark on my quest for female empowerment, I find an urge to share the top 5, less than traditional, things I sought to teach my boy:
- Don’t hold the door for women, hold the door for people. Women are not feeble beings you need to inauthentically “respect” through a simple gesture like holding the door. Holding the door is a courteous gesture to do for all human beings.
- Respect women by treating them as your intellectual and emotional equal. Never show respect to a woman through a condescending “traditional” act just because you think you are supposed to. If it doesn’t mean anything to you AND to them, it doesn’t matter. Rather, find ways to embark in meaningful conversation so that you understand how to best connect with and truly respect your female counterparts.
- Rather than be quick to judge others who think, act, or represent differently than you – seek to understand and realize you have so much to learn from them! Become their friends. Hang out with the underdogs. These are the people you will learn the most from.
- Question everything. That’s right….EVERYTHING. Don’t believe something just because I or anyone else believes it…research and learn enough to find your own truth. Your beliefs will mean nothing unless they come from deep within you.
- Be comfortable with exactly who you are. Never try to adjust yourself in an attempt to seek others’ approval. Approve of yourself and you will be content forever.
I think differently than many. I see the world through my own lens. I don’t expect or even desire my son to see things as I see them, but my hope has always been that he has a genuine respect for all living beings. Little did I know, he would grow up and far surpass me with open mindedness and respect for others. And so I’m left with the question I may not every truly be able to unravel. Did I teach him, or did he teach me?
I think I will settle on the idea that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I am confident, however, that in my son, we have a man this world so desperately needs.