Following the global Women’s March on Saturday, I came across a post in my feed that really captured me, it was a picture of this woman’s young daughter, maybe three years old, wearing a dress with superhero words like “wow” on it and she was wearing a gold cape. The caption read, “Strong women… may we know them, maybe we be them, may we raise them.” A quote I have often seen and felt a tinge of “bam, I am woman hear me roar” in my step afterward, especially at that moment. I was so moved by her post because I get it… motherhood. I immediately wished I knew her and we were friends.
At unsettling and uncertain times like these, we have an incredible opportunity and immense responsibility to teach our children, not just our familial or core values but values of humankind. So, yes, mothers and fathers of daughters out there… raise them to feel empowered, strong, and beautiful. While you are instilling values of confidence, self-respect, and how incredible it is to be a woman, I will raise my sons to respect your daughters. I will raise my sons to appreciate the beauty of a woman without objectifying them. I will raise them to appreciate the endless love of a woman’s compassionate heart without taking advantage or deprecating their ability to love. I will raise my sons to be strong themselves, to have self-respect, and to also know that it’s okay to show compassion. I will raise my sons to not be the cause of a woman’s tears while feeling comfortable enough to shed their own. I will raise my sons to respect women and to always fight alongside them to ensure they have equality. Period.
What an opportunity for me, and I am so honored. As a woman, I am so fortunate to raise sons, to show them that they have nothing to fear from women, but rather to gain by knowing them. I hope we can all come together during this time and focus on what we are so proud of as Americans and exercise or liberties in the way they were intended, and that so many before us sacrificed and endured to secure for us. Let’s raise our children to be superheroes! Let’s raise them to uplift, encourage, inspire, and achieve. Let’s raise them to show kindness, empathy, and love. Let’s raise them to work hard, study hard, respect themselves, and more importantly others for both their uniqueness and similarities.
As we move forward, because that is all we can do at this point, we will do so much better if we are stronger together. We all have a responsibility to this world, to leave it in a much better place than we found it. We have a responsibility as parents to raise our children to be strong, self-reliant, respectable, respectful, compassionate, and responsible. I hope to take this time of uncertainty and unsettling divisiveness as a teaching moment for my children, and for myself really. The one thing I refuse to do and questioned even including in my piece of hope here, is this: I will not raise my sons to spread hate, to ridicule or be mean, to use social media as a toxic waste ground. I will not raise them to join in the conversation unless it is one of love, hope, and actions that support the same.
To love is to accept, to accept is to understand, and to understand is to let go. Let go of fear, let go of judgment, let go of expectations, let go of entitlements, let go of hate, let go of “me-ness.” Find love. Seek it out. It is everywhere. Kindness. Be it. Find peace. Share it. Acceptance, we all desire it… to have a good neighbor is to be a good neighbor. Try it. Go beautifully and authentically forward from love.
Let’s be the superheroes our children think we already are… let’s show them how to be.