Dear Boys, we protect those who are smaller.

RebeccaUncategorized230 Comments

be-kind

I almost didn’t write this for the fear of any backlash, but as the mother of four little boys, I just have to say something.

Rape Culture.

Good Lord, have I had it with that term being spread around like it’s the new “it” thing to discuss, like rape is a new phenomenon just now deemed newsworthy.  But the truth is, when we discuss something to death, that means it’s out there, raw, ugly, and in the open.  Most of the internet flurry about rape culture came with the atrocity of the Steubenville rape, and the media’s absolutely deplorable victim-blaming.  If you haven’t heard of this, go brush up HERE.  Then, note that the first adjective used to define this poor girl isn’t that she was brutalized; no, it’s that she was “drunk.”  Like “drunk” is some kind of free pass for these boys.  How do they describe the boys?  “Football players.”  Sorry, but the only word they should be using is “rapists.”  UGGGGGGGH!

Deep breath.

So the flurry of Steubenville dies down, but then today, I read THIS, about how this 15 year-old girl was gang-raped at a friends house, had pictures of her torture spread around her school, and was subsequently tormented so horrendously by her classmates that she killed herself.  Sorry, but WHAT THE HELL is wrong with these kids we’re raising?  How can we stop this?

I am the mother of four boys, and all I see when crap like this happens, is that my boys can’t turn out like these monsters.  If I have one responsibility in this world, it’s to raise these four good men, or I’m part of the problem.  Breaking rape culture starts with us, the mothers of boys.  So here we go:

Oh, my beautiful boys,

   Right now you are little, and cute, and have squishy, kissy cheeks.  Right now I am the center of your universe, the healer of boo-boos, the Goddess of hockey gear, and keeper of the brownies.  Right now, you are everything that is good, right, and thrilling about little boys, and the light that shines through those eyes of yours could illuminate the world.  It does mine.
 
    But you are growing up, and as you do, this world will become complicated, and sometimes ugly.  I’m sorry I can’t shield you from this.  I would keep you in a bubble your whole life if I could.  But, the amazing part of this is that you can directly decrease the ugliness by just being you.  I’m begging you to be the men you have the potential to be.

     When it comes to girls, and the sex I cringe at the thought of you having, she’d better be consenting or I will hunt you down myself.  Let’s have a quick talk about consent.  Consent means she said, “Yes.” Everything else is a “no,” and if she says “no,” you’d better respect her choice, otherwise you will become what is ugly in the world.  Ready?

   * “No,” means No.
   * “Maybe,” means NO.
   * “I don’t know,” means NO.
   * “We shouldn’t,” means NO.
   * Changing her mind when you’re about to round third or home?  That’s also a NO.
   * No response?  STILL MEANS NO.

     Do you know what means Yes?  It’s only when she says “Yes,” before you so much as touch her, and she’s not drunk, high, or otherwise impaired.  It’s saying “Yes” while of sound judgement, and it’s your responsibility as men to make sure she means it.  Oh, and if you’re having sex, you’d better be mature enough to know you’re a man, and not hide behind the “boy” title.  Question her “yes,” make her say it out loud, and not through a head-nod or what you think was her sigh of assent.  If she’s drunk, take her home and care for her like she was your sister or even me.  There is not a girl in this world that isn’t someone’s daughter, sister, or maybe even mother.  Treat her with the same respect and kindness you show me, because I know I’ve taught you to, and I expect you to.

     These are not chances to try to “change he mind” or guilt her into it.  If she’s unsure about this decision she’s making, then you need to back the heck up off and wait.  Why?  Because a few-seconds of orgasm isn’t worth the destruction it can cause.  Because you will be a good man, and men, the real ones, don’t take advantage of anyone.  Ever.

     Right now, as little men, we have a rule in this house:  We’re superheroes.  We protect anything smaller than we are.  Whether it’s an animal, a little brother, or a neighbor in need of our support, if we are capable, we are kind.  We are always capable.  I need you to carry this through your life.  Genetically speaking, you will be stronger than most girls, and with this comes a responsibility to protect them.  This doesn’t mean that you won’t meet mean girls with cruel hearts and spiteful tongues.  I wish I could protect you from them, but I can’t.  Whatever anger, or hurt they may inflict upon you, they still deserve your protection and kindness.  Why?  Because I expect you to be better, to take the love in your heart and make your words and actions match it.

     Why am I hounding you on this?  Because I love you, and I cannot sit by while a generation of men your age is turning cold and callous.  Because I was a teenage girl once.  Because when a man rapes a girl, and that’s what it is if she hasn’t explicitly and whole-heartedly said, “YES,” it causes irreparable damage to her, deeper than physical wounds.  It will also ruin you as a man, taking you from the honorable potential you have to be your amazing selves, and turns you into something abysmally evil.

     But there’s more to this whole “not-raping” thing.  When I say protect those who are smaller, it also means to stand up to the bullies who are committing these awful, deplorable, disgusting acts.  Too many stories are out there of girls being abused at parties, being carried out to be assaulted while the room stares and does nothing out of peer pressure because the boys are popular.  Please, do something.  Call the police.  Call her parents.  Call me.  I don’t care if you’re where you’re not supposed to be because you snuck out; if I get a call at 2 am from the police station because you assaulted some asshole raping a girl, I will happily bail you out and then make you brownies.  Be the good in the world.  You never know when a simple action on your part can change someone’s life for the better… or the worse.

     I can’t be with you every moment of every day.  Life is catching up to us, and you’re growing so fast I can barely keep the right-sized clothes on you.  I am so proud of the little boys you are, and the honorable men you will grow to be.  Every day, as you leave this house I say to you, “We made you beautiful, God made you smart, but only you can choose to be kind.  Make good decisions.  Be kind.”  I won’t always be here, but I hope that as you pass me on the height chart and make your way in our world, you remember these words, and you wear your beloved super-hero capes, even if only in your heart.  Be someone’s superhero, not their villain.

     Though you may not have a little sister that I can draw analogy to, who I could use as an example of providing protection, I have one more request to make of you.  When you are fathers to my granddaughters, teach them to be wary, smart, and strong, because I cannot raise every boy on this planet, and there will always be evil in the world around us.  Be her superhero, just like you’re mine.

    Please, my little loves.  Protect those who are smaller as I have protected you.  Kindness is never a weakness.  It might not make you popular in high school, or even college, but it will make you into the kind of man the world will stop and take notice of.  It will make you into the kind of man your father is, and your grandpa is.  Kindness is the kind of strength that will build you into a man so strong that you can conquer the evils in this world, even if you are one boy at a time.

     I love you, and though you have no clue that I’ve written this letter, I think I’ll go make you some brownies and kiss those cheeks while you’re small enough to not wipe it away.  Too soon, you’ll be men, but right now, you’re still my little boys, my little superheroes.

I love you with my whole heart,

Mama.

230 Comments on “Dear Boys, we protect those who are smaller.”

  1. michellejohnson35

    I'm not sure if I can comment through the sea of tears, but I'll try.This.This is what every boy on the planet needs to hear. This is what every mother needs to teach. This is the only way the madness will stop.Rebecca, you truly are a superhero.

    1. Anonymous

      You're one of the reasons this thing went big. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you for all your support, Michelle!

  2. Cianna Splendiferous

    This brought so many tear to my eyes. This NEEDED to be written, and I'm happy that it was you.

  3. Veronica Bartles

    If every mother of boys taught them this, we wouldn't have the problems we do with this world. <3 I'm totally sharing this post with everyone I know!

  4. Mike Larson

    Perfectly written and a sentiment that needs to be repeated over and over until it sinks in.I wrote a similar piece a few weeks ago, only from a dad's perspective. http://www.5oclockhero.com/2013/03/trying-to-raise-son-in-culture-of-rape.html

  5. Jessa Russo (Stadtler)

    Like Michelle, I'm commenting through tears as well. As I raise my daughter, I am continuously reminded of the horrific world I brought her into, and it terrifies me. What was I thinking? It gives me hope to know that there are mothers out there who are holding their sons accountable, and raising MEN. Good, strong, honorable men. Thank you for writing this post.

    1. Anonymous

      Jessa, no need to fear. There are tons of mothers raising great men! Or at least, we're doing our best!

  6. Ana Blaze

    This is perfect. I cannot come up with words to do your words justice right now, but the tears sliding down my cheeks are for your courage and beautiful goal as much as they are for the sadness of needing to write this letter. I wish you joy and luck in raising your little superheroes; they have a great advantage heading into this world with a mom like you. They will become strong young men and so I leave you (and them) with superhero words.โ€œWith great power comes great responsibility!โ€ โ€” The Narrator in The Amazing Spider-Man.

  7. Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul

    That is fantastic. As the mother of a little girl (well, not so little anymore at 12), THANK YOU for helping to raise four strong, well-adjusted, kind men.And regarding this right here: "if I get a call at 2 am from the police station because you assaulted some asshole raping a girl, I will happily bail you out and then make you brownies." After a good night's sleep, send them over here for a second helping of fresh brownies. Bravo.

  8. Paula

    Brilliant, Rebecca! I'm printing this for my 16 year old son to read and sharing the link with every "boy mom" I know. I'm also going to share this with the teen girls I know and love, because they have the right to expect this treatment for themselves and their friends, and sometimes they need a reminder. Your boys are blessed to have a mother like you!

    1. Anonymous

      Thanks, but I can't take full credit for the cuteness. Some of it goes to the hubs. You know, like 5% or so. Yeah. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Haley Kent

    Through tears, I smile and raise (an imaginary glass of wine since Im pregnant) to you. My son's biological father bailed before he was born and I made a vow that I would raise a MAN not a boy. I would teach my son to respect women and this letter touched me!!

    1. Anonymous

      Absolutely! I'll keep you in my thoughts, Haley. Teach that boy to respect a woman, and that he deserves her respect in return. BIG HUGS!!!

  10. E.C. Adams

    This post made me cry. I have a son and two daughters, and like you, I believe it's up to us to teach them to be kind and make the right choices.

  11. Jennifer Echevarria

    I stumbled across your blog via a friend of a friend and I love this! I am also an Army wife, blogger and a mom of boys (7,5 and 15 months). Your words are inspiring, thank you so much for writing them. I always say I'm not raising boys, I'm raising men. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Anonymous

      Jennifer, that's the exact line I use every day! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it!

  12. Matt Womack

    Got this linked to my FB account and, as the father of 4 little men, I must say that this is an incredibly poignant and loving message which needs to be shared to all mothers, fathers and caregivers. Bravo and God bless you. It takes a very special kind of woman to raise 5 boys (I am including us husbands here) and I was fortunate enough to find one.

    1. Matt Womack

      After further exploration of your blog, I see that you are also one of the cherished few blessed with the intestinal fortitude to marry a grunt. You have my deepest sympathies ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Anonymous

      I am indeed the wife of a prior 19D. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It means the world to me to have a father's support on this, thank you. I hope you're house isn't quite as noisy as ours!

  13. Alla Aguirre

    How about praying for our boys? Not just talking to them but praying hard and asking God to give them wisdom? Because when they grow up they will be away from parents and we will not be able to talk to them anymore but a prayer of a mother is a very strong tool. And how about teaching them that sex before marriage is wrong. And when we disobey God in this matter we face terrible consequences?

    1. Anonymous

      To answer, I would have to say that I do pray for my boys. I pray for my boys every day, every night, and every moment in between. I also pray for their future spouses, wherever they might be. However, I think it's not possible to pray away rape, or premarital sex. In this instance, I'm a realist. We have a very open and loving relationship with God in this house, and we also believe in the power of forgiveness, for redemption that is our gift. There are real-world consequences; however, God is incredibly forgiving and I would never teach my children to fear Him, rather seek him out for love and understanding. That being said, as strong as my faith is (and I'm guessing yours is too), I would never assume everyone on the planet believes in prayer, in God, in a higher power, even. The beauty of this Earth is in the choice to believe, the free agency. And I do believe that what I teach them in our home matters when they leave. If not, why are we raising children? We are their first teachers, and they carry our lessons throughout their lives when they are well-taught. Until God takes me from this Earth, I will never be more than a phone call away from my children, as I am to my parents now. I do understand your concern, but a message of prayer only speaks to those who believe in it. A message of kindness to others speaks to all mankind. Thank you so much again for your thoughts.

    2. wickedlydia

      Printing your message to share with my grandsons that unless the girl says yes, then everything means no. Thank you for putting the unspoken into such poignant words. Now we can share them with our 'superheroes'. Well said.

  14. B

    As the mother of a three-year-old girl and a soon-to-be mom of a baby boy, this really spoke to me about my fears for her, and how I want to raise my son. Thank you!

  15. Wendy

    I really think this does need to be addressed and I have only one issue and that is when you say this: "Breaking rape culture starts with us, the mothers of boys." No it starts with the parents and caregivers, because if the Mom does this and the other caregivers, Dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc don't get on board (meaning they either disagree or are passive about it) then that is not enough. It has the chance of saying to our boys that are about to become men that it is just a Mom thing. This needs to come from all the adults that are raising children.Signed Mother of 2 boys.

    1. Anonymous

      Wendy, you're absolutely right, it does, and I'm blessed to have a husband who stands not just by me, but in front of me on this. My thought as I wrote that line is that I'm their first experience with a girl, so I'm the one who teaches them mutual respect. While I do agree that passive fathers can derail a mother's teaching, at least if we, as mothers, are teaching them to respect women, then at least they're hearing it. Thank you so much for your thoughts!

  16. Cat Buchanan

    Thank you for putting into words what I have been trying to live as a philosophy for 6 years while raising my son. I have tried to teach him that it is his job to watch out for those people smaller than he is (including boys who are smaller). That it is his JOB to stand up for those who are younger, smaller, disabled, or just plain not self-assured.

  17. Melissa Thayne

    for the longest time i have said i want a baby boy, so i can raise a proper man. You touched on so many important issues and for my daughters sake i am glad to hear there are proper mothers our there raising proper men. thank you!

    1. Anonymous

      There are as many awesome mamas of boys raising men, as there are wonderful mamas raising women. I promise, I'm just as thankful for the moms teaching their girls dignity, grace, self-respect, and above all else, LOVE.

  18. S. L. Wallace

    Exactly! I couldn't have said it any better. Thank you for writing this and for sharing it with the world.

  19. Traci

    As a mother to two girls ages 11 and 15 I am very thankful to you for writing this. I will pass it along on my facebook. As a survivor of date rape in high school the explanations of when a girl says No she means it and it is only ok if she says yes in a sober state of mind. I also wanted to let you know that you are spot on when you say that rape destroys her. It did for me and I have been in abusive relationships since then, both physical and emotional. I am finally at 42 on the road to being a confident woman who realizes that I deserve respect from Men. God Bless you!

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, and yes, you deserve EVERY BIT of respect! I would hug you if I could, and I'll say that I bet those girls will grow to be wonderful women!

  20. west_starlight

    I was one of those 15 year old girls many years ago. It wasn't boy's from school at a party. I was not one of the popular people. It was a man with a handgun, which he held to my temple the whole time. 30 minutes before I was a virgin. Had never even been kissed.Now, 42 years later I look at the kids on the street. I read the stories and I ache for the girls who because of today's technology are raped and brutalized over and over again.

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. My heart breaks for what you went through. I can only hope we raise a stronger, more respectful generation of young men.

  21. Rich Griffith

    Beautifully written and you're a lucky lady and your boys are lucky boys. Well done. Parenting: Achievement unlocked!

  22. BenJo

    * Changing her mind when you're about to round third or home? That's also a NO.*As a guy I'm definitely guilty of this. Now hear my defense before you crucify me. I think the influence of puritan culture runs deep as well and I think many girls are hesitant to say yes when they are afraid of appearing like "sluts".I don't call women sluts, but I see the effects of slut shaming everywhere. It makes the entire relationship between men and women, especially young men and women, so hard to countermand and find the truth in heated moments when language isn't exactly the first thing to mind.Long story short nothing is really going to change until women start getting down on one knee and proposing (or just making the first move, instead of an elaborate series of hints and gestures). In a way there's only so much men can do until women step forward and assert themselves on equal ground. Now on an anthropological I can understand the nature of "rape culture" because men have far less invested in sex biologically speaking than do women who have to hold children in their wombs for 9 months and hopefully raising them. But hey, birth control was invented 50 years ago so women don't have to face those challenges and I for one am active in "shaming" among my friends. The pimps and ho's double standard has got to go and it's becoming more obvious.

    1. BenJo

      Don't know how to do edits sorry let me make a few additions.I'm active among my friends in shaming the slutshamers because I'm a man and I can but I have found that women as well use the slutshaming devaluation to get ahead in their own circles so what can I do about that? As I said, women must step forward as well as men or by dialectic logic it's just going to continue to be a "cluster…" Nevermind.

  23. Rachael Perkins

    This was so lovely, and I am also crying. I have a little girl and I hope she can meet a person one day that was raised the way your boys are. I will try and teach her the same things, because kindness is always right and always important. Thank you for being such an excellent Mama.

    1. Anonymous

      Thank YOU for teaching your daughter kindness! It's my greatest hope that my sons marry women who understand their own self-worth, and have that same drive for good will. =)

  24. Kokopelli

    This is a powerful piece of writing! Everyone can make a change. And if it is "only" teaching four boys to be good men. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Fiona McLaren

    Rebecca, such a heartfelt and poignant post. If only every mother raised her children this way.

  26. Kevin Gaywood

    Father of a 3 year old boy. In my heart of hearts I truly hope my son turns out to be a "super hero." As he grows into a man I will teach him right from wrong and all the morals I've learnt from my parents, and hope that it is enough. My hope is not for him to become a famous footballer or a renowned scientist, just to be a man who is happy and good and kind.With people like you in this world Rebecca, it feels just a tiny bit safer knowing that at least some children are still being raised with morals. If we can all club together and teach our children what it means to be a moral person, and not take the lazy approach and let society raise our kids for us then the world just might be a better place. Thank you very much for writing this it was extremely heart felt (I had to read it in sections, I cant appear to be balling like a baby at my work desk lol) xx

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much! 3 is a gorgeous age, enjoy it while he's little! I have no doubt we're raising a phenomenal generation of men!

  27. Dave Murray

    Thank you for this, truly. As a dad raising three little boys, this is exactly what I want them to learn from me once they grow past their rampant toddler destruction phase. My two little superheroes (and one super villain…he's the baby!) all have the potential to be kind, caring and gentle men, and your words have touched me, making a big biker man cry. Thank you.Bullying is a constant spectre in our house, as our oldest son is autistic and just started elementary school. He has his trio of protectors at school (all very sweet and protective little girls), but the constant threat of bullying is tiring and maddening. What terrifies me even more is the possibility of peer pressure bullying, of other boys pressuring him to do horrible things when he gets older because he's so impressionable and is literal to the letter about everything. Pure nightmare fuel. I can only raise my boys and lead by example, and hopefully teach them to avoid bad people like that. I know all of my boys will wear their superhero capes, one of them literally, for years to come.Thank you for the tears, and for giving me a lot more to think about.

    1. Anonymous

      This just made me smile ear to ear; thank you so much!!! Bullies horrify me. There's nothing like worrying about your little guys when you're not with them. I'm sending my thoughts out that your boys are as strong as you are!

  28. Priscilla Farnsworth

    I recognize that this post is from the standpoint of raising boys and I was deeply moved by it but I would like to add one note, if I may. As a mother of 2 boys and a girl I'd like to add: to the girls, this does not mean that you are off the hook for taking responsibility for your actions. The world can be cruel. You will make bad decisions. This is not to say you'll automatically be blamed for the consequences of someone taking advantage of your bad decisions but please have the respect for yourselves to be the best you can be as well. Protect your femininity and do not freely give it away for passing popularity. Take stock of the people and situations you surround yourself with. Are they the kind of people you're proud to call friends? Are you participating in things that make you better, smarter, stronger, or are you participating in a culture that erodes everything good, beautiful, & uniquely you about you? Be smart. Make good decisions. Love and respect yourselves. Do not put the onus of this solely on the boys around you. You have that responsibility too and you are stronger than you will ever know.

    1. Anonymous

      Completely agree. Once we find our baby girl to adopt, you can bet I'll be drilling the same thing into her head, because like I said, I can't raise every boy on the planet. Girls have a responsibility to their fellow women to stand up, report violence, and stop it when possible!

  29. Jennifer Flores

    I only have one little girl, but thank you for this. I hope you print this out and share this with your boys in the not too far off future when they're about to cross that threshold and face their first Yes. Its the sex talk every mother should have with her son.

    1. Anonymous

      Without a doubt, my boys will have me in their face about this as they get older, though I totally cringe at the thought! LOL!!! Thank you!

  30. s1rk3ls

    Jeri Ryan shared this article ("7 of 9" of Star Trek: Voyager fame) and I agree with her comment wholeheartedly:"THIS, THIS, THIS. SO MUCH THIS.What an amazing mother this woman is. I wish more boys had mothers like her."

  31. Bobby Frazier

    thank you for posting this.and i agree with you.we need to teach our young boys to be real men,not big brats who think they are the center of the earth.i see it in a lot of young men,the laughs,taking pleasure in inflecting pain.men do not hit women.,they defend them.they stand up when they see a wrong.i have,and at times i have goten hurt.but,the world needs men,real men.

  32. Ragan Kellams

    This is amazing. I will share the same sentiment to my son when he's older (he's only 15 months now.) I wish all parents were as involved in their children's lives.

  33. MN Hoosier

    I want so badly to keep my boys young, innocent and carefree (2 and 4 yrs old). Everything is an adventure and each new experience a chance to learn. The house is filled with laughter and chaos. Reading this confirms what I already knew; I can not and, further, should not. They need to grow into good young men that can impact their generation. They need to know what is right so they know how to act when they see what is wrong. They need to value and respect their peers enough to stand on the courage of their convictions and I need to help provide them a solid footing. For now, like the author, I am going enjoy and protect their innocence and do everything within my power to raise them to love, respect and honor others.

    1. Anonymous

      I couldn't agree more. I think the greatest gift we can give to the next generation is that of responsible, kind children!

  34. Kate

    I love your thoughts on kindness – and your response to the prayer issue. I enjoyed reading this post – found it shared on fb. I have three boys and feel this same sense of responsibility in raising kind souls.

  35. JBodnarDrowley

    Rebecca,Thank you for this post. I am the mother two superheroes and a princess and your message truly resonates. It is our responsibility and role as parents to lead by example and teach our children integrity, honor, and kindness. Well done!

  36. Sheryl Johnson

    Wow… Love this. I have this printed to read to my son. I am a single mother to 1 son (youngest) and 2 daughters… thank you for your words. I feel this sense towards not only son but my daughters as well.

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much! I'll keep you in my thoughts, and yes, please raise kind daughters so I have good girls to steer by boys towards when that long-off day comes!!! =)

  37. Point B for A Global Citizen

    Awesome, spot on post! I'm the mother of daughters…. but your writing is amazing! I'm sure you saw this online already but I thought I would share it – because Patrick Steward said, that MEN need to be the ones…. http://www.upworthy.com/a-brave-fan-asks-patrick-stewart-a-question-he-doesnt-usually-get-and-is-given-a-beautiful-answer?g=3

  38. Tenebrarius

    My kids are getting to the right age for this sort of talk, but I'm not worried. We instituted a few rules when they were very young. The most important one is "Stop means stop". No questions asked. If someone tells you to stop, you stop. Even if you don't understand why they said it, you simply stop what you're doing. Pillow fights, joking around, wrestling, the second somebody says "stop" or "ow, quit it" you back off and figure out what's going on. Once my son hits middle school I know that he'll be fine. We just need to make sure that he continues to listen and honor what he hears.

    1. Anonymous

      I love this! My family had the same rule as I was growing up, no matter what, if you said "Please stop," then they had to. It was wonderful to feel that control as a child. That's fantastic!

  39. Shannon Anderson

    Wow. I am truly speechless. I am so thankful I stumbled upon your blog. I am a survivor of a party-related gang rape 8 years ago. I have now stepped out and speak publicly to young people on the subject– hoping to change just one life in the process. I was recently approached by a juvenile probation department to speak to a group of mostly young males. I, of course, said yes. But, privately I've been struggling with how to approach them and how exactly to connect. You've done this perfectly. Thank you..you are a true inspiration.

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me! I think what you are doing is selfless and truly admirable! Thank you!

  40. MB

    I raised my sons to be men. That means to be fair, to be honest, to treat others as equals, and to be better than the standards society insists upon. Not to think "someone else will fix that, it's someone's job to help, it's someone's job to clean that up" but to be the someone.So far, my 20 year old has done quite well, and been in a committed relationship for 4 years (quite a long time at that age), and my youngest seems to be doing well too.I don't buy into this "Rape Culture" thing – but the current culture is dehumanizing EVERYONE by divorcing actions from consequences. It's encouraging binge drinking and acting out and irresponsible behavior by allowing adults to act like children, and teens to act like animals.I love what you wrote, and I hope there's enough of us raising responsible boys AND girls to help quash this crap.

    1. Anonymous

      Kudos! I agree completely, accepting responsibility is so important in both our men and women. Thank you so much!

  41. Unknown

    Thank you Rebecca. I wish every young – and not so young – man would read these powerful, beautiful words. I especially hope that for the enablers – the idiot politicians who think there's rape and "ok rape" and the coaches, teammates, the upper brass in the military and the churches and schools who have covered up rapes.

  42. Erika Marie

    I don't have children yet but I love this so much that I'm saving it for when I do! Absolutely beautiful message. I wish more people thought like this and passed it on. This is what it means to "Be the change you want to see in the world". Thank you!

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you for reading it! I have high hopes that my boys will grow to be that change, and that this generation coming up will be thoughtful and kind!

  43. Lane

    Dear Lord, please let my precious daughter meet one of your precious sons. Thank you for writing and sharing.

  44. rainbow

    I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. THANK YOU for being a superhero and teaching your boys to be superheroes, too.Carys

  45. AdriftatSea

    We need to teach our society that CONSENT is an active thing. If she (or he) is not actively consenting, then she (or he) is not consenting. Until our society teaches everyone that NO ANSWER or the INABILITY TO ANSWER is a NO. It doesn't matter what clothes she (or he) is wearing or not wearing, whether she (or he) is drunk, asleep or druggedโ€”unless she (or he) can actively consent with a rational mind, SHE (or he) IS NOT CONSENTING. Also, we need to teach that it is not okay to stand by and let someone do something to anyone who is vulnerableโ€”whether due to being unconscious, sick, drugged, drunk or any other reason. WE NEED TO STAND UP AND PROTECT THOSE WHO CAN NOT PROTECT THEMSELVES.

  46. Lisa

    As the mom of a 12-year-old girl, THANK YOU! Thank you for teaching your boys to be good and honorable men! I'm doing my best to teach my daughter to be a good and honorable woman, but as she gets much to close to dating age for my comfort, it helps to hear about the boys who are being raised right instead of always only hearing about the "boys will be boys" parents…oh, and before my daughter starts dating, she'll be a black belt in karate(she'll soon be a junior black belt). That may not help much if she's impaired, but if she's not impaired, at least she has a chance of being able to defend herself.

    1. Anonymous

      LOL! I have to admit I'm a "Boys will be boys" parent when it comes to the noise level in my house and impromptu wrestling matches in my toyroom. However, there's a time and place for that, and it's not when women are factored in. Kudos for getting her trained! And trust me, the mamas of boys cringe at the dating age just as much as the mamas of girls! EEEEK!

  47. Unknown

    I don't know you, but I love you so much for writing this. Thank you. Thank you for my granddaughters who are 5 and 6, and will need superheroes one day. Thank you for all the beautiful little boys who need help to grow up into beautiful men. Thank you from the girl I was a long time ago, who met up with some boys who hadn't gotten your message–and survived, but who shouldn't have had to.I'm sharing this everywhere I can think of to share it. You are an awesome person, and your sons and their dad are very, very lucky to have you. <3

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. As for luck, I know it's all mine with guys like this. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And buy those granddaughters a cape or two!

  48. Rick Land

    Would that ALL mothers were like you. Often, all it takes is just 'one' person to stand up and say NO! Not while I am here. It is sad that many of our young (boys & girls) do not learn that we MUST stand up for each other until they are grown up and finally realize that their attitude and deeds as young people were indeed despicable. All too often they were the ones who did those terrible crimes. There is a poster out showing Will Smith saying: "Boys laugh at what they put girls through, but they won't be laughing when they're wiping the tears off their Daughter's face for the same reason" Thank you for speaking out about this. The fact that you have over 16000 views show that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God Bless in your efforts to raise Men from boys.

    1. Anonymous

      I love that saying, and it's so true. I know our boys will make mistakes, and they'll end up hurting someone at some point. I only hope that they do more helping than hurting.

  49. Abi

    And don't forget, there will be times when even yes means no. Sometimes she hurts so badly, sometimes she is so unsure of herself, sometimes she feels such a need to be loved, that she will be willing to do things that she knows in her heart that she shouldn't. Take this time and let her know how much you care for her, and that you will love her reguardless.

  50. ttownbarb

    Rebecca, you are my hero……I have a 34 yr old son, and he is also my hero. He served his country in the Army and he can now stand up to anyone he believes is doing harm to another. I hope your sons grow up to know what an amazing mother they have, and follow the guidelines you have given them. Bless you.

  51. Suzanne McCarley

    Wow, how sad for you that you gave birth to four potential rapists. So glad you've told them to "Man Up" and not grow into their destinies.There is no Rape Culture, there is only Rape Hysteria.

    1. Anonymous

      Hmmm. I had to think about this for a bit. I think there is the inherit ability for evil in each person, and without the proper love, support, and instruction, that evil can manifest in several ways. Are my boys potential rapists? I certainly hope not. Do I think it's important enough to be discussed? Absolutely. It's part of being an upstanding man of moral character, and I make no excuses for teaching them to respect women. As for rape hysteria, take a peek at the comments on just this blog, and tell me that each of these women who has suffered a rape didn't wish that a mom got ahold of that boy and taught him right from wrong. And yes, I am glad I told them to Man Up and to grow to be what we know they are capable of, beautiful kind souls. Not a single excuse given here.

  52. Julie Hall

    Rebecca, today you have made me a better parent and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was devastated yesterday when I heard about Rehtaeh Parsons and was horrified and sickened by the images and behaviours that I came across when following the #FBrape campaign. Last night I was talking with my husband about how we make sure that our son and daughter are prepared for the world that they are going to grow into. You have given me some tools today that will help me make my children better teenagers and better adults and for that I am extraordinarily grateful. What an amazing and beautiful writer you are. Thank you

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so very much! It's scary to me sometimes, to see this world we're raising them in, but I know we can raise good, kind little people!

  53. Anna

    beautiful!! i hope many many people read this and reflect on how we are raising the young men among us.

  54. Suetois

    I have four boys–well, young men–and, while I've certainly taught them right from wrong and that their greater strength must *never* be used to harm anyone, I didn't have your eloquence. Thank you. I hope this post goes viral, because every parent needs to read it.

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so very much, from the mama of four boys to another, it gives me hope that they're young men and you lived, LOL!

  55. Joshua Whiting

    We can't expect society to uphold what's right. Sometimes we can't even depend on those in charge of law enforcement. Lessons like this must, must, MUST be learned in the home, or else it will not be learned at all.Thank you!

  56. Jason Barwise

    That was so aptly put and so touching. The only thing missing is the role their fathers play. I'm a dad to two little boys and I have a huge role in setting the example as the loving, non-violent male. As a high school teacher I've often seen it said that we have to teach boys to not rape. This is a misnomer. You can't teach someone to restrain a nature that has been built in to them from a young age. You can't teach someone not to rape. You have to do like you are doing and teach them everything else, how to love, how to respect, how to be protective. I don't rape a woman because I have a five step mental process to cool down if she ever said no. To force sex on a woman who has said no would be completely contrary to the point of healthy sex for a real man. I don't not rape a woman who's said no because I was taught not to; I don't rape a woman because of who I am. Not raping women, or for that matter not beating women isn't like flexing a muscle for a man; it shouldn't be treated as such either. We need to teach our boys to love properly not to 'not rape'. But as I said, men have a role to play. They need to set an example with the women their boys see them with and they to go beyond model and do everything you are doing. Thank you for showing men what they should be doing. Now let's hope their wives show them what you've written. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Anonymous

      Agreed!!! I'm so lucky to have such a positive influence on my boys as my husband is. When he's here (he's often deployed), they are witnesses to the kind, respectful way he treats me, and them. There's nothing quite like a dad showing a son how to be a man, but sometimes we don't all have that luxury. I hope in that case, the mamas step in and show them what women deserve, respect and kindness, the same as every little boy. Thank you!

  57. Jason Barwise

    PS: Kinda missed the "military wife" part at the beginning. Please don't take my message as a finger in the eye about the absence of the father in your case, simply that dads in general need to stand up and be recognized as part of the solution. I'm former army so I can imagine what your situation details in terms of being both mom and dad.

    1. Anonymous

      LOL! No offense taken. And believe me, there's no absence of the father in our case, he's present in this house even when deployed through phone, skype, email, you name it. =)

  58. Kasha Jackson

    If you don't mind. I will have to share this on my page. And to my 2 little boys. Amazing words. Thank yu.

  59. Katy Lee

    Being a rape survivor as a child, I never wanted to have a boy myself. I knew what boys were capable of. I cried my eyes out when I learned that my husband and I were having a son. But God told me that I would be raising a gentleman and he would be my healer. My son is now ten and God was right. He has such a gentle spirit. He is like an old soul, not of this world, and he has been my healer.I will print this letter for him someday, so he will always be a gentleman.

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I think everyone is capable of evil, but when we do our best to raise children up in grace, dignity, and kindness, we can have a fantastic generation. I know my boys have healed my soul so many times. Bless you!

  60. Cindi C

    As the mother of two daughters, I MUST thank you for this. This is beautiful. I pray my daughters will find friends, boyfriends and husbands who have a mom like you. {{{HUGS}}}

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much! Not sure I'll be a good mother-in-law. I might be a touch overbearing, LOL! =)

  61. macpuffins

    As the mom of a beautiful 4yo girl, and someone who's been raped in the past, this article NEEDS to be viral. It NEEDS to permeate the minds and hearts of every male on this planet. AND every female too, since it isn't only men who rape women, but it can also be women doing the raping. I think your boys will be ok. You aren't hedging around the topic, you are facing it like a bull's-eye stands up to an archer. Your boys will know, in NO uncertain terms, what IS acceptable and what is NOT, and what is expected of them. And sometimes it might be so that, as you say "if I get a call at 2 am from the police station because you assaulted some asshole raping a girl, I will happily bail you out and then make you brownies. " A parent who is likely to have that attitude is more likely to have a son who understands that stepping up and stepping in are worth it, because doing the right thing in the face of evil is to wear the face of God for that instance. I pray they never have to find themselves in a place where that stepping in is required of them, but knowing that Mom has raised them to do the right thing will give them the intestinal fortitude to DO the right thing.Thank you, your future daughters-in-law are going to thank you too.

    1. Anonymous

      I think my boys will be okay too. =) I hope that they keep the lessons with them, and grow to be wonderful men. I too pray that they won't ever be in harms way, but I also pray that they will do the right thing when called upon. Thank you so much!

  62. Melanie

    I am married to a true gentleman and together we have created three lovely little boys. So much of what you have written here echo my thoughts. I want them to understand that sex is complicated, and important, and can have consequences they can't imagine as young men. I want them to know this and remember to tak the same values into their sexual experiences as their father and I have taught them to exhibit in every day life. As a 'mother of men' (friend's mum called me that one day) it is my duty, my challenge, and my privilege to raise good ones.

  63. Angel Drummond

    Amen to this. Good for you for writing it. We need more parents expecting and yes demanding their kids be gentleman and ladies. My heart aches how horribly frequent these awful stories are coming to light. Every parent needs to take the time to have this talk with their children! I was speaking to my fiance about the news story you mentioned in your post. The first thing I took note of is how many times it is a room full of boys doing this to a girl, and wondering how on earth this happens. How does one boy bring up this horrific idea and have a group of boys go along with it? Where is that one MAN to stand up to them and say absolutely not, beat me up over it if you must but you're not touching that girl?! Thank you for raising your boys to be those men that won't tolerate this, won't turn their head to these acts because yes turning your head is as bad as doing it yourself.

    1. Rebecca

      Absolutely. We have that talk a lot, about how being complacent is right up there with starting any bad activity. Let's just hope the lessons stick. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  64. Monker Family Adventures

    Thank you thank you thank you for having the courage to write this and post it! This is how change happens ;-)Mamma to one superhero ๐Ÿ˜‰

  65. lovedlikethechurch.com

    This gave me chills. I have two daughters and a son. All still so young (5, 4, 1.5) and yet I know the world they are going to face. And it makes me sick. Already, we've been telling them how they need to treat others as though they are like a sibling – meaning, you don't treat people like crap without my wrath. And while I can't even fathom my kids being at the age of having sex (my mama mind just won't let me go there!!), I know it will happen. When it does, I pray that it was like mine, when I in my full mind, with my complete consent, said yes. Also, a hundred times yes – stand up for the little guys. Always and forever, take care of those who can't take care of themselves.

  66. JennyMayRunaway

    … as the mother of 3 boys myself, the eldest of whom will soon be entering tween territory, I wrestle with how to raise them to be good men, knowing what they will be confronted with before they are ready. I encourage them to be kind, generous and to stand up for the underdog. To trust their instincts. To allow themselves what many would be consider "weakness": emotions like sadness and fear and anger. These are normal, human emotions that it is natural to feel, they as boys are not any less for feeling them. I try and show that crying is simply a way to let off steam if they need to, to never feel they are bad for crying or that they should be angry instead of sad because it is more "manly". It is a delicate line to teach… how to be kind and peaceful but not be a victim. How to step up and defend themselves or someone else without advocating violence. That girls are strong and capable just as boys are, but like humans everywhere, not always kind. That taking advantage of the weakness in others is not victory. That mistakes are something humans make everyday. To understand that it is brave to acknowledge their shortcomings head on and apologize for them, to recognize that a mistake is simply a challenge to become a better person, a challenge that is lost when personal failings become a hidden source of shame. Not everyone is cut out to be a hero, though. I want them to know that they should not feel ashamed if they are frightened to verbally or physically intervene in a circumstance where they know someone is being taken advantage of… but that they should never walk away and forget about it, they should find a group of friends to back them up or an adult to intervene on their behalf. That, when the time comes (gah), porn is not real, that real women do not and should not be expected to look or act like that that… but that to become aroused by pornographic images is a natural physical reaction for humans and should not be a source of shame. To know that there is a lot of it out there, *everywhere* but to clearly understand that it is NOT a reflection of the reality of their female peers. Both myself and my partner take very seriously our jobs as their mother and father, to show our boys how to be good human beings. I believe that becoming good men is a natural growth that emerges from the seed of becoming decent, honest, upstanding humans. It is not Mamas only that teach and embody these lessons, Papas must stand up straight for their boys and embody the soul of the good man, a person that has empathy for others, the strength to protect, a soul that can experience both joy and sadness, sometimes anger, but that physical violence should always be a last resort of defense of their own person or someone else, and *never* enacted on any person smaller than they. We are all humans and it is our responsibility, mothers and fathers both, to teach what it is to be humane, to all of our children, boys and girls both. Thank you for your post!

    1. Rebecca

      Agreed. My first hope is that they are never moved to violence, even in defense of another, but I also hope that if it's necessary, they'll step up like that girl was their little sister.

  67. Sherry

    Thank you for so eloquently sharing these thoughts and feelings on your blog. I am also an only girl in a household of boys. I share your feelings and thoughts. I pray our boys remain, for life, the super heroes that they are.

  68. Jacinda Grove

    Your eloquent words give voice to just what I want to say to my sweet little boy; the very things I try to make sure that he grows up to believe in, day after day, through the love and kindness that he is shown at home. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful message to pass along to those who are willing to take the time to read. I will post this myself for all those I know, with the hopes that they will take a few minutes of their time to read this incredibly important , and very poignantly written message you have been so kind to share with us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  69. Janet

    Bravo for you and your lucky boys. I will share your words in the Department of Justice where I work.

  70. Andi-Roo TheWorldForRealz

    Crying. So beautifully written. I have an adult son and a little 8yo girl, and I was raped in my early 20s, so I felt this from so many angles my heart hurts. But in a good way. I've taught my son the lessons herein, in part of course because of my personal experience, but mostly because of what you have pounded home: Be kind. Do the right thing, no matter what, no matter where, no matter how difficult. Every time my son leaves the house (living home while putting himself thru college), I tell him, "I love you. Have fun. Be safe. Make smart choices." And like you, I would be happy to get that 2am call if it meant he chose "this" instead of "that". I'm lucky in that I can, and often DO, use his little sister as leverage ("How would you feel if it was HER? Would you want HER to do this? Do you think SHE should say that?") but ultimately we, as mothers, must do our very best, and then trust we've done right in our training… and then hunt them down to hold them responsible should they choose badly. I loved this letter. Even though I've talked to my son, a krillion times over the years, I'm going to keep talking, and our next talk will be me reading your words, verbatim. Because you summarized so succinctly everything I've tried to tell him over the years. He's a good man. And I know your boys will be good men, too. And we're good moms. We'll hold them to it.

  71. The Bruffey Family

    THIS is an incredible post!! As a boy mom to a 2 1/2 year old son who aches and prays for the man, the real man, he will become – I plan to share this with him when he is older. Thank you!

  72. Kade and Emily

    Thank you for this. As a mother raising three daughters in this scary world, it is good to hear and remember that we mothers all want the same thing…to raise our children to be good and responsible adults. Even though they are all small, it's difficult to think about what lies ahead and to not want to protect them from EVERYTHING! But I know I would be wrong to teach them that men are beasts and the world is a terrible place. I know there will be good young men out there for them, thanks to mothers like you.

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you. There will always be good men. Thank you for raising good daughters, trust me, we'll need them in about 20 years! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  73. Michelle

    What a super awesome fantastic message. My friend in Canada forwarded me your post today and I want to share it with my boys (I have 5yo and 3yo boys plus a girl) when they are old enough to understand. Kindness they know now, so thankyou for reiterating it and how important it is for boys to grow into kind men. Know you are touching some lives in Australia and no doubt all over the world ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. kure_ee_ous

    Thank you for writing about this. My husband and I were just discussing this exact issue. We dont have kids ourselves, but we work as a teacher and camp director (for almost the past 20 years). We have seen society go from playing "Oregon Trail" on the computer to the Internet wrapping itself around everything we do. The accessibility to information is amazing, but kids are also able to see things that they should not be seeing and not understanding it. If parents would help caregivers by having honest discussions about the videos/photos/shows that kids are seeing, then that would help. We can continue to pretend that "there arent any monsters" but there are some scary things out there, and we need to be there to help our kids undertand everything that they have access to. Because it isnt like in our childhood, when there was 1 violent show on TV, but it was on after our bed time. Now, anyone can find anything they want right away, by typing a few words like I am now. The internet is an amazing place but we have to help guide our kids… we dont let them drive without guidance and lessons, lets treat this information highway the same way. Thank you for "listening"Sarah

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you, and I agree. We really limit what the kids do/see/hear online, hoping to keep them little just a wee bit longer.

  75. Mary Lou Hulan

    I have a son and a daughter. I hope that I can teach my son the way you have taught yours. And I hope my daughter will meet boys like yours! Thank you!

  76. alyssaroyse

    This is such a lovely piece, and I did share it widely, though with the caveat that there is one paragraph that is, well, just wrong. I simply told people it would be glaringly obvious which one, and sure enough, everyone guessed that it was this one: "Because when a man rapes a girl, and that's what it is if she hasn't explicitly and whole-heartedly said, "YES," it causes irreparable damage to her, deeper than physical wounds. It will also ruin you as a man, taking you from the honorable potential you have to be your amazing selves, and turns you into something abysmally evil."Being raped does not have to cause irreparable harm As one who was violently raped, and who speaks about it often, I was also absolutely repaired. I am not damaged goods now, I am as whole and magnificent as anyone. I am concerned that if we continue to spread the idea that it is "irreparably harmful" we will spread the idea that being raped is the worst thing in the world and there is no bouncing back. It is unimaginably awful, but not irreparably. It may seem semantic, but is vitally important that we make that distinction.Likewise, there are men and women who commit rape in complicated situation, making a horrible and tragic mistake, often clouded by drugs or alcohol, and they are not irredeemably abysmal monsters after that. They have a lot of work to do, reparations to make, understandings to come to and teaching to do as a result, but they are not abysmally and irredeemable evil either. Your statements are so well-intentioned, but they turn rape into a death-sentence for everyone. And they are very common, you are far from alone. But I think we need to move past this black and white sentencing in order to fully understand that we can heal from rape – as individuals. And heal past rape as a society. Thanks for this piece, it is truly lovely. And I, as I raise 3 girls, and really glad that people like you are raising 4 boys. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It took me a bit of a breather to respond and really take a peek around my heart. I certainly don't think that rape is a death sentence for anyone. There are so many strong women telling me their stories because of this piece and it leaves me stunned and humbled. However, I could not tell my boys that it's something they could recover from or the girl could, because I don't want them thinking at any time it's okay, or "fixable." I stand in awe of those move forward with grace and dignity, and simply pray that my boys never cause another such hurt.

  77. Eleana

    Thank-you for this! What a powerful piece of writing. You are truly a superhero for your boys. I'm reading this with my little guy in my lap and I know that as he grows up these are the very things I hope to teach and instill in him.

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you so much! I promise, they're ones with the capes, I'm just running fast enough to stay ahead of them!

  78. Diana

    Here's something in the same vein that you might find worthwhile watching: http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.htmlI'm so glad this kind of conversation is beginning to be more widespread, and so sorry for all the girls and women who had to suffer to bring it about.

  79. ViolaFury

    Rebecca, I stopped over here at the suggestion of Andi-Roo, who is me, only 20 years younger, with the children. As an only child of an Air Force pilot, who flew in the Korean police action and childless myself, I wasn't sure I would really relate. Never fear. How could I not. You speak to all that is decent and human in every one of us. It isn't just a matter of protecting the smaller and weaker, but being, really the very best; treating people with decency and honor. Not cutting corners ("maybe" may mean "yes"? Not in your book and not in mine, either.)I know people will look upon this as moral absolutism and say that there are gray areas, and then turn right around and try to enforce zero-tolerance policies in schools or in justice systems that make no sense. We cannot have it both ways. I think we find ourselves in this chaotic situation because, on the one hand, a moral laxity and double-standard applied in the raising of children during the 70s and 80s, and the results came home to roost in the 90s and 00s. So, here we are and it takes a supreme amount of courage, gumption and forthright admissions of our own mistakes (in my case) to look at ourselves and say, "we were wrong, let's make it right."Steubenville seemed to be some kind of tipping point, because there were other examples prior to that, where rapes and excuses of that nature were swept under the rug. Added to this shameful behavior of the media, we had the GOP yelling about "legitimate rape" and "binders full of women," during the run up to the 2012 election. None of this boded well for the sane vote and I think people were really taken aback by the treatment in the media of the Steubenville victim. When you add to her torment of bullying by her classmates to the point of taking her own life, we've just gone past everyday nightmare to a tragedy of Tolstoyan proportions.The fact that mentally ill (of which I am one) people who are bipolar, LGBT, transgender, different in ANY WAY, are bullied to death is another article altogether. I've been part of different support groups, for people who have attempted suicide. My door's always open. My mother attempted suicide when I was 7. It is a horrible, horrible thing. But, with your auspices and the rearing of your lovely boys to fine men, you will mitigate the pain and suffering of some of these young women, and probably some young men. Let your sons be the beacons of light; the paths they are on look to be the right ones. You and your family are already heroes and to be admired and honored for your tremendous sacrifices you've put forth for our country. I honor you, Rebecca. You're a superior Mama and your family is awesome! I loved this post. It has made my day!Maryaka ViolaFury

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you so much! I certainly hope they grow to be great little guys! Hopefully they grow in a generation of respect toward everyone else!

  80. SwishDesigns

    Love this. Definitely a new fan. Such a serious topic. I hope that I can give my son (and daughter for that matter) the foundation and courage to be the one to stand up…to speak up…to be honorable and kind.

  81. sharri06

    This was an amazing read! I think the 'super hero' teaching is amazing and should be something brought into schools. Thanks for the great read. how do i follow you?

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you so much!!! If you'd like to follow, there's a section above on the right, just click on it and join up! Thanks!!!

  82. Kay Kauffman

    Yes! I've told my oldest son some of these same things already, but my younger two will hear it in time. Brilliant words!

  83. Renee Williams

    Rebecca, I have raised two sons to manhood and have tried to instill these values in them. However, you said everything I thought and tried to teach so eloquently, I could never have written it as well. Thank you for the confirmation. I was proud of my little boys and am even prouder of my grown sons. God bless you!

  84. Staretza

    Bravo Rebecca. I have two sons who heard these things repeatedly from both me and their father. Bravo to you for saying everything that every young man needs to hear from SOMEONE IMPORTANT IN THEIR LIFE and often does not because so many people can't be bothered to make a commitment or stick around to be responsible parents.

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you! Agreed. All kiddos need someone dependable to teach them how to be kind, and show them by example!

  85. damsel.in.de.tech

    Great post. One message I hope you'll add to your boys is to let them know is that their consent is 100% as important as their partners', regardless of the difference in age and size, and that they also have the right to "no", "slow down", "not yet", etc. We sometimes forget that boys are also getting messages that undermine the value of setting their own boundaries, too.

  86. from_the_nest

    I was sent this article a few days before I read yours and thought I should share… teaching about consent needs to start as early as possiblehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/the-problem-with-boys-will-be-boys_b_3186555.html

    1. Rebecca

      Thank you! I have to say that I do think boys are boys, and they won't ever behave with the same characteristics as girls (they're all individuals), I do agree that consent starts early.

  87. spincyclediaries

    So well written…and so important. As a mother of two young boys, I feel like it's such an important part of my responsibility to raise them into men that will listen, respect and empathize with others. Bravo.

  88. Ms Betsy xo

    I clicked through to this from someone elses blog. Thank you. I have a son and the world scares me, I live in a society that means both of us have to work full time to keep a roof over our heads, I sometimes worry how this affects my children. I'm always looking for ways to raise them better and smarter. I also have 2 girls and raising them strong to stand up to the men of the world who aren't parented like you are parenting your boys is always a struggle also.. thank you for this, it is beautiful and strong and full of information.

  89. kitten18

    I can so relate to this as I am the mother of two boys ages 16 and 13. They have made me so proud over the years. They know how you are supposed to treat females. They have even come to me complaining about how other boys were using crude language around the neighbor girls. They told one neighbor boy that he shouldn't talk that way around girls. There was also an incident where my boys and a couple of their friends (brother and sister who were neighbors) went for a bicycle ride together. When they made it back, my boys told me about a group of kids making a chain across the road trying to prevent my boys and their friends from getting through…trying to cause trouble. They told me about one of the boys threatening to rape their female friend. I immediately looked to the girl & told her we were going to tell her mom about it. I told her this was not something to take lightly. Her mom then called the police, and our four kids showed us where this all occured. As soon as those other kids saw the police, they all scattered like crazy to get away. The kids at the time were no older than 14. I couldn't believe this!! Especially coming from kids at such a young age.

  90. Poonam

    I am a mother of a 2.5 years old daughter, and do hope that I be the kind of mother with whom she never hesitates to share anything… anything at all, that she treats me as a friend and also looks up to me in case she needs any advice.I was planning to have another one soon, and in case, if my future baby turns out to be a boy, you have already told me how to bring him up.Beautiful words… I don't know if anything of this sort can ever be expressed better than this.I would keep a copy of this for myself, to explain the same to my future son ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. Marsha Sigman

    I hope everyone who reads this understands that all those involved in the Ohio case were kids. The boys were not 'monsters', just kids who made a horrible decision. A decision they will pay for the rest of their lives, just as the victim will. No one is mentioning they were drunk as well. This is a tragedy for everyone.But I think I will continue teaching my boys to respect women as equals, not as weaker /inferior beings who need their protection, and to treat others as they would like to be treated.

    1. Mark Stimson

      I just posted on this blog which led me to read your post. I just want to say that the boy I confronted was, at that time, a monster in every sense of the word. The crime he was about to commit, the look on his face and the threats that came from him were far more than horrible decisions! He was a monster and what he was about to do to that young girl was monstrous in its depravity and consequences to this young girl and even to himself. Please do not excuse such incredibly depraved and callous actions as just a horrible decision as it is much more than that. I hope your boys do learn that girls are more than their equal and are not inferior in any sense of the word. But for them to understand that women are physically weaker and may be in need of their protection is a virtue of great desire to obtain.

  92. Mark Stimson

    I greatly appreciate your sentiments and desire to speak up about this evil. And evil it is! As a young man in my teens, I mostly got things wrong. But not this. I was that boy who you desire your sons to aspire to be who at 16 confronted the school boxing champion at the drive in movie theater as I opened the back seat car door as he was just about to rape a girl who was intoxicated. Everyone else seemed to know what was going on, but nobody, not even the girls, did anything about it. He threatened me as he was laying on top of her within seconds of raping her. For some compelling reason I would not, I could not, back down. He could kill me but I would not back down and I discovered a little something about the phrase that "right makes might." When I did not back down, he did and I retrieved the girl out of that car. My fears of retribution never materialized as he never bothered me. My hope is that his conscious got the best of him and he later realized how wrong he was. I will add one more suggestion to the thoughts that you expressed. To be a man, a true man and a real superhero means a lot more than making sure the girl really has consented by clearly saying yes. That standard just means that you are not a criminal. I suggest that being a true man means that you will never ask her to say yes and that you will even say "NO" if she is the one asking. A true man understands love and the power and sacredness of physical intimacy. A true man will protect virtue even and especially when another may not have that understanding or has lost a sense of their value and self worth. A true man and superhero of integrity will protect others and set an example of what virtue and love really is. Only then, can you understand the power of being a true man and a real living breathing superhero.

  93. Gwendolyn Q

    This is the first and probably only time I have signed up to "Follow a Blogger" because what you wrote about rape culture starts with us as mothers and you wrote the truth about our sweet little boys. Thank you, we're all thinking it and it needed to be said as eloquently, honestly and full of our hearts as you just did. Thank you for the tears.

  94. Mark Stimson

    I greatly appreciate your sentiments and desire to speak up about this evil. And evil it is! As a young man in my teens, I mostly got things wrong. But not this. I was that boy whom you desire your sons to aspire to be who at 16 confronted the school boxing champion at the drive in movie theater as I opened the back seat car door as he was just about to rape a girl who was intoxicated. Everyone else seemed to know what was going on, but nobody, male or female, did anything about it. He threatened me as he was laying on top of her within seconds of raping her. For some compelling reason I would not, I could not, back down. He could kill me but I would not back down and I discovered a little something about the phrase that "right makes might." When I did not back down, he did and I retrieved the girl out of that car. My fears of retribution never materialized as he never bothered me. My hope is that his conscious got the best of him and he later realized how wrong he was. I will add one more suggestion to the thoughts that you expressed. To be a man, a true man and a real superhero means a lot more than making sure the girl really has consented by clearly saying yes. That standard just means that you are not a criminal. I suggest that being a true man means that you will never ask her to say yes and that you will even say "NO" if she is the one asking. A true man understands love and the power and sacredness of physical intimacy. A true man will protect virtue even and especially when another may not have that understanding or has lost a sense of their value and self worth. A true man and superhero of integrity will protect others and set an example of what virtue and love really is. Only then, can you understand the power of being a true man and a real living breathing superhero.

  95. Sheena-kay Graham

    I think it's great that you've done such a post. We need to let boys know from they're young to respect females, each other and themselves. The culture of rape is a part of the great selfishness that is pervading today's society. Thank you for discussing this and taking care to warn your boys.

  96. MomofBoys

    Many tears, well written, love it! I have printed it out and will read it to my 2 boys!Thank you!

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