It’s easy to become jaded in a world with random shootings, outbreaks of disease, and lots of people who don’t treat each other nicely. I had two little children when 9/11 happened. I remember feeling uncertain that I would ever feel secure enough to bring another child into the post-9/11 world. Who wants to bring kids into an unpredictable, sometimes frightening environment? But a year later I had my third child, Ben. He is now the same age as some of the boys in this video created by Fanpage.it.
The video is nothing less than heartwarming. My son is sweet, bright-eyed, and big-hearted just like the kids in this video, which depicts some silly boys ages 7 to 11 interacting with a girl close to their age, Martina, and following the instructions of a narrator.
“Make a face at her.”
They do what the narrator suggests with charm and embarrassment.
Then the narrator says, “Slap her.”
It’s kind of shocking. The set-up is a little manipulative, and I’m not entirely comfortable with Martina silently acting as the object of whatever the narrator tells these young boys to do to her. That said, their reactions are priceless.
They slowly shake their heads and tell the narrator, “No. I’m not going to do it.”
Even though they, apparently, have been given permission to do something mean, they refuse. And they don’t even do it as a joke. Boys this age are notorious for having little impulse control. And yet, they know better than to hit this young lady.
“Why?” asks the narrator.
“Because I don’t want to hurt her.”
“Because I’m against violence.”
“Because it’s bad.”
And finally one little boy says with a trace of defiance in his posture, “Why? Because I’m a man.”
It’s so important to see that boys aren’t naturally violent or misogynistic. It’s my job as a mother to make sure this sweet fair-mindedness stays with my sons through adolescence and into adulthood. Parents need to overtly teach their boys that violence against women is unacceptable. You can tell from this video that they have an innate sense of this that we can nurture and encourage by the way we treat people, the movies we watch, and the games we play. I think having two sisters has helped my boys be more compassionate towards women. My husband is a great example for my boys in the way he treats me and the other women in our family. I expect my sons to be kind and thoughtful. I don’t buy into the “boys will be boys” mentality. When they are sweet, they are encouraged. We don’t promote macho behavior. My husband and I share housework and childcare so the kids don’t view me in a subservient role. With my first son, I think I was more fearful about raising a boy. I didn’t have any brothers growing up and I didn’t have a clue about what to do with a boy. As I found out, you simply love them and do your best as you would any child.
Parenting is at its core an act of faith. We bring our kids into the world because even though we are aware of certain harsh realities, we are making a bid for something better. It take optimism and hope. I ended up having two more kids after 9/11 — four total. I’m glad I did. It sounds like a cliché, but every mother believes it of her children: I think the world is a better place with them in it.
Image and video courtesy of YouTubeMore On