As a young man, I remember the rage I felt whenever someone said anything negative about my mother. It would spring out of me like a tiger and take everyone, including myself, by surprise. I’m not sure if it’s a trait that males are born with or developed over time. As I became a father, I felt the same tiger spring from my thoughts when my children would offend their mother…
“Bracken, I made tomato soup and grilled cheese! Are you hungry?” she would lovingly reply.
Bracken would squint his eyes and throw out his tongue as he shouted in disgust, “YUCK! Tomato soup is disgusting! I don’t want that.”
Before I was even aware, I’d find myself saying to Bracken, “Young man, your mother works hard to feed you, clean up after you, and keep you healthy and warm. Don’t you ever tell her the food she has made is disgusting.”
My own father was this way. Maybe that’s where it all began for me. He loved and defended my mother at every turn. Not only my mother, but all women. He was quick to open doors and lend a hand. He treated women as something to be respected and praised rather than what so many men treat them as today: a body to be admired or a crazed woman to be feared.
Finding my wife was no easy feat. It took time for me to learn how to express my feelings which was something women begged and begged for. My wife was patient with me and it became easier and easier to be vulnerable with her. Now together, she and I teach our sons as best we can to not only respect their mother but to respect women in general.
Our society is in such desperate need of men and women who see each other as equals rather than as bodies to be used for pleasure or gain. Instead of expressing love and a desire for partnership and commitment, youth are settling for temporary relief, cheap satisfaction, and selfish desires.
What Examples Do Mothers Set for Their Sons?
My wife teaches our boys how to respect women by respecting them herself. She doesn’t watch tv shows or movies that make light of nudity, sex, or relationships. We believe this has a major negative effect on our children and the way they perceive the “real world.” She is kind, never catty, and always looking for ways to help other people. We need more women and mothers like my wife in the world.
Instead, we look at social media and see a lot of women looking for praise and respect for their bodies, posing in their underwear, putting on their makeup, or seemingly having perfect homes and perfect lives. It’s conditioning our children to have a skewed perception of what life is really like – hard, uncomfortable, and taxing (while not so obviously very rewarding).
So how then, when all they see are photoshopped images of life and women’s bodies, are they going to cope when they get a dose of reality from time to time?
Respect Has To Start At Home
Our jobs as parents start from the second we know the task is at hand. The most effective way we can grow and teach our children is by example. We cannot expect our youth to mirror an image that we ourselves are not displaying. If you want your sons to respect their mother, you have to teach them to respect women.
Start by modeling that behavior in your home. Remove inappropriate images, movies, block websites, filter your music. Present women in a light worth respecting by avoiding remarks about your wife that would be damaging for little children’s perceptions of them.
By respecting and honoring women yourself, your children will be more likely to see and follow your example. And the opposite is definitely true as well: if you degrade women, if you treat them like objects, as though they aren’t smart, as if they’re crazy, or they’re a handful and just something we have to put up with – your children will view them in this way as well.