Women’s empowerment is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. But as a mom and wife I have noticed that resources aimed at empowering the men & boys in our lives are much less frequent, yet I believe no less important. I believe that the men & boys in our lives need to be lifted up and encouraged, supported and appreciated.
If we want our society to move forward towards empowering ALL of humanity we must include our boys and men rather than assuming they’re already empowered.
I am blessed to have two amazing males in my life; a wonderful husband of 21 years, and a 15-year-old son. They make my life richer, more diverse and have gifted me with the ability to view life differently than what I had grown up with while mostly being raised by a single mom with three girls.
Over the years I have observed that, just like women, there are unrealistic expectations put upon males to look, act and “be” a certain way. While I was prepared to have discussions about healthy body image with our daughter, I was completely surprised that my son needed it as well and this was an important lesson for me.
When given the opportunity boys & men will share their hopes, dreams and fears and it’s our honor to be able to listen when they do. Be open and understanding and listen – There’s a saying that we have one mouth and two ears for a reason.
Throughout the years, here are some keys I have found in empowering the males in my life.
- Be a safe-haven – when they know they can literally tell you anything, they will.
- Believe in them. Within each of us is the ability to do great things, and when you let them know that you believe in them it allows them to dream big and achieve great things.
- Delegate responsibility, without being attached to it being done the way you would do it. Different doesn’t mean wrong, and done is better than perfect.
- Teach them to ask for help. When our son was in 3rd grade he was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and ADHD. Over the next 6 years we consistently taught him to ask his teachers for help. Now, as a sophomore, he is confident in his ability to seek out the help he needs to succeed.
- Encourage and support. This can be a tricky one if we don’t really agree with their decision, and it’s a fine line to walk, saying “I don’t think that’s the best decision, but support your ability to make the one that’s right for you and will be here no matter what the outcome is”.
- Let them fail. Unless they experience failure, along with the unconditional support and love you still give them, failure becomes something to fear rather than to expect and know that they can still move forward.
- Teach the difference between empowerment and entitlement. To quote the movie Spiderman – “With great power, comes great responsibility”.
Empowering the boys & men in our lives to be confident that they can (and do) make good decisions, that they are capable of being strong and soft, and that they (just like women) can do more than what has been traditionally accepted in our society allows them to be the best version of themselves possible. It’s amazing what they can and will achieve when they come from a place of empowerment, and here is where all of society benefits.
An empowered man will stand up for what he believes is right. If it’s within his ability he will stop a situation where he sees someone else being mistreated. These are the type of people we need in our lives & society to help create the world we all want to live in.
Empowering the men in your life can lead to an increase in joy & happiness and is a beautiful thing to see. If we want to create a world where people empower each other, and I assume you do since you’re reading this, where better to start than with ourselves and in our homes?
This article was written by Sandy hall and originally published in Magical Goddess Magazine