Menu

Here’s to raising boys to become men of compassion

Together we are creating a whole new culture of men who are healthy, confident and balanced. ?

Here’s to raising boys to become men of compassion

Here is to raising boys who are compassionate!


“Mom, here. Hand me your bucket. I've got it," My six-year-old son said to me. We were blueberry picking in the warm summer rain at a local organic blueberry farm. My three-year-old daughter was tired and wanted me to carry her up the hill. We had picked two buckets full of blueberries and though they weren't heavy, my son could tell that I was trying to carry too much. And he wanted to help.

I handed the basket over to my son. I watched his slender, strong figure take a basket in each hand, distributing the weight. I saw his growing six-year-old body walk up the hill, paving the way, lightening our load. As we walked, I “got a glimpse" of him as a grown man—seeing his aged mama and seeing how he could act with compassion.

FEATURED VIDEO

“I've got it, mom," I could imagine him saying as a grown man. But I saw his way of being with me or any woman isn't one of “dominating" or “having power over," rather it's one of deep regard, shared power and compassion. I imagined him coming into my kitchen, putting down my groceries, making us a little something to eat and still asking his mom to listen to him as he shares what's on his heart.

A few tears welled up in my eyes, blending with the rain gently falling on my eyelashes and cheeks. My heart was full of awe for the boy—and man—he is becoming. My heart swelled with gratitude for my husband who is showing my son how to be a man—a man of compassion and kindness, a man of gentleness, a man who regards life in all its forms, a man who is redefining what “power" and “being a man" mean.

We have been ever so intentional about raising both of our children with a counter-cultural way of defining things like “power" and “being brave."

True power is not domination.

It is not having power “over." It's about mutuality. It's about having power “with." The kind of power I'm talking about is SHARED power.

True bravery isn't about being fearless.

It's about having the courage to be vulnerable, to name our fears and to reach out to connect when we are suffering.

My husband and I are raising children who can name their feelings, who can abide with what is arising within them, tend to what is happening in their inner landscape with compassion and share what they need.

THIS IS HUGE. HUGE. Counter-cultural. And yet so so so what our world needs.

I sit with men in therapy. I see how most men weren't raised with the permission and spaciousness to NOTICE what they are feeling, to NAME it, to be VULNERABLE and share it, and to healthily ASK for what they need. I see how we have a very limiting definition of what it means to be a man and to be brave. I see how our culture defines power.

This is NOT how many of us are raising our sons today.

We are raising boys to become compassionate men. “Compassion" means that they KNOW they are being moved by the suffering of someone—including themselves—and they can respond with kindness. We are raising boys who have the vocabulary and skill to discern what they are feeling, to name it, to see sharing it as a sign of STRENGTH and to be able to ASK for what they need.

This mindful way of parenting boys requires that we as parents become very familiar with our own inner landscape. It requires that we are able to “be with" what is arising within us, name it, tend to it and ask for what we need.

It also requires that we get in touch with our own aggression. I have seen how one thing that is uncomfortable for many moms in raising boys is “aggression" (yes, girls show aggression, too, but right now i'm talking about boys. No, not all boys are aggressive, either. I'm sharing what I see and hear from clients, readers, and friends).

We are uncomfortable with aggression—we are quick to label “wrestling" as aggressive. Why? Let's go all Freud here and say: we are uncomfortable with our unconscious and unexpressed feelings of rage and aggression. So what do we do? We squash even the slightest sign of “aggression" (when things like, wrestling, sword battles, etc. may not even BE truly aggressive). Much of my work with moms, in particular, who are raising boys is getting in touch with and developing a healthy relationship with their aggressive impulses and rage—aggression and rage.

With dads, much of my work entails supporting them in redefining what it means to “be a boy" and to “be a man." It's about dads exploring what is uncomfortable for them—namely, to be “weak" (or how they define “weak" and “strong") and vulnerable. As dads do this, they create space for their boys to have a full range of emotions and to healthily embrace (and balance) both their masculine and feminine selves.

Together, we are redefining what it means to be “strong" and “brave."

What it means to be a boy, what it means to be a man. Together we are creating a whole new culture of men who are healthy, compassionate, confident and balanced. Our entire world needs such men.

Here is to raising boys who become men who are compassionate—to themselves and others.

Here is to raising boys who become men who are able to name and healthily be with their feelings.

Here is to raising boys who become men who regard life—in all its forms.

Here is to raising boys who become men who redefine what “power" means.

Here is to raising boys who become men who acknowledge and balance the masculine and feminine in themselves and encourage this healthy balance in our culture.

Here is to raising boys who become men who can ask for help and who believe that being vulnerable is an act of bravery and strength.


This article was originally published on LisaMcCrohan.com.


Join Motherly

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


Keep reading Show less
Shop

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

There are major health benefits when baby looks just like dad, says study

They had fewer emergency room visits and were less likely to suffer from asthma + illness, according to findings.

We’re the ones who carry them for nine months, so it can be a bit of shock when a baby is born looking nothing like us. It might even feel a bit unfair, but don’t take it too hard, mama. Science proves looking like dad has some big benefits for babies.

Keep reading Show less
News