When I was a kid I was told I was going to be gay. Why? Because I walked on my toes, had a stuttering issue and chose to be friends with the girls in my class (as opposed to boys.) I guess looking back now I’ve always had more of a connection with sensitivity and empathy as opposed to the masculinity boys/men are supposed to have. I grew up playing baseball and was in a band but could most of the time care less about sports.
In my twenties, I enjoyed watching the NFL and occasionally going to an MLB game not because I really cared about the sport but more so because of the experience. Over the past several years I haven’t actively watched sports games other than the big Super Bowl or World Series. To be honest I care more about the food and drinks and family than I do about the game. I used to wonder why I didn’t tend to connect well with the men in my life then I discovered myself at age 30 with two girls and a wife that didn’t need me to be a “MAN” they needed me to be their dad, father, husband. They needed me to a human that they could connect with, tell a story to, share a hug with, someone who could and would communicate love and caring for them. This to me is what it means to be not just a man but also a positive influence in their world.
This is what is missing in our children’s lives today, a connection; it’s not the only thing but a big part. The chance for them to connect and be who they want to be and express what they want to express, without negative criticism from others is important. Sometimes their ideas or feelings come out before they are entirely ready like an egg waiting to hatch and it takes others points of view to allow it to come into clarity. We as parents and community leaders should be there for that clarity. There is a difference however between constructive criticism and negativity.
When I was younger, I received my fair share of verbal abuse some of which I continue to battle with every day. Somewhere between the “gay” comments and the “are you stupid?” arose a burning desire to care for others, which I entirely appreciate. In life, it’s almost as if we learn more from others about what not to do as opposed to what we should do. Since I’m not a psychologist or therapist I have no clue on why we do what we do but based on our past experiences. When it comes to this subject I can only state what I went through. Because of this, we choose to raise our children with constructive words and lessons as best as possible. We are not perfect and do falter some days but we also know everyone does. That is the part about being human, forgiveness and loving others, as long as you continue to love and spread your light and inner genius the universe has a way of working itself out.
I met Ashanti last year and he is one impressive dude. If you have children or work with them take some time to watch this movie, it will give you some perspectives on students and children today. The Mask You Live In
Girls: We love you. Mom and dad. #DigitalLegacy