There is a buzz happening. You can hear it all around our country right now. Women have gathered to make their voices heard, and whether you supported the cause or not, you have definitely been inundated with the coverage and/or the people’s opinions about it. But now the march is over. Now the multitudes are heading back to regular ol’ life and it has left me wondering…What are these women planning to do now to affect change?
I wasn’t at any of the marches, and I am not writing this to debate anything political. Rather, I’m here in the middle of all of the chaos raising my hand to say that if we truly want to affect change, then we are going to have to focus on the small hinges that will swing big doors.
What are the small hinges, you ask? Well, it could look like a lot of different things: Volunteering, running for local office, or being involved in issues that you are passionate about are just to name a few. But the one I’m really interested in talking about today is a little different, and possibly the most important of all.
You see, right now, we quite literally hold the power to change our world. We hold it in our arms and hold it by the hand daily.
And it’s these “small hinges” that will empower our next generation.
Here are my two little guys. I swear, their names could be “Wild & Adventure.”
These two will grow up to be men. It is my job (along with their dad) to get them there, and if you have sons, it is your job as well.
So if you are a mom and you are reading this, I would like to invite you to the next march. We will not be gathering in the streets of Washington, but in the halls of our homes. We will not be protesting for the future of our government, but rather shaping the future of our world. This march will have a clear mission that I hope you can support one hundred percent.
In my commitment to this cause, I made this list for my boys. These are the small hinges that I will focus on that will swing big doors as they grown into men.
In a world that is seemingly more and more divided every day, it is important that we are raising men who will excel in the kind of leadership that empowers the people they are leading.
It is our job.
Not the school.
Not the church.
Not the Scouts.
And, Lord help us, not the media.
It falls only to us. And if we are going to succeed in raising the kind of men our world needs, then we are going to have to lift our little ones above the noise.
These are the things that I commit to teaching my boys (make sure to check out the pinnable image of the list at the end!):
- Remember your manners: Treat others with respect, say “please” and “thank you,” use “Sir” and “Ma’am.” And, for the love of all, clean up after yourself. It is no one else’s responsibility to clean up your messes. Make this a habit and these simple behaviors will take you far.
- No one owes you. No one.
- The friends (and someday the woman) you choose to be by your side will make you or break you. Choose wisely. Don’t think you can change a person. That is their journey and you can’t do it for them.
- Don’t ever go looking for a fight for the sake of fighting, but know how to defend yourself. Some fights are worthy of your time and others are not. Learn the difference.
- Standing up for someone is always worth your time.
- Keep your hands to yourself. There will come a time when you want to touch another person. From the time you’re a toddler up through adulthood, it is never okay to touch someone (or have someone touch you) unless it is welcomed.
- You won’t always get what you want. It is okay to be disappointed by that fact, but don’t whine about it. And don’t let it stop you from dreaming big and working hard to reach your goals.
- Don’t lie to me. No matter how hard the truth is, I always want it. I can help you through whatever it is if you just shoot straight with me. Plus, trust is hard to regain and takes a looooooooooooooooong time. See all those o’s. That doesn’t even begin to do it justice.
- Have strong convictions and don’t back down from them. It is not a sign of weakness to say no to someone who is pushing you to do something you don’t want to do. It is a great strength.
- Men and women are not the same, but that doesn’t make one greater than the other. We were created to be counterparts, to be the strength in the other’s weakness. We think and communicate differently and that can sometimes make relationships hard. Take time to learn about the women in your life. This will also take you far.
- Effective communication is the most important thing I can teach you. When you learn to effectively communicate with people it will bring you to success in every area of your life.
- Sex. It makes babies. You aren’t ready to have sex until you are capable of being a responsible father and committed to the woman with whom you want to make babies. There are NEVER exceptions to this.
- By all means, be adventurous. Just don’t be stupid.
- Don’t ever say something through a screen or on social media that you wouldn’t say in person. Always remember that there is a human on the other side of every screen.
- Likewise, remember that relationships cannot be built through a screen. Put that thing down and share life with others.
- Having celebrity commands attention, but does not equal having wisdom. Just because someone famous says or does something, that does not mean it is worthy of following.
- There will be boatloads of times when you disagree with others. Having a difference of opinion is not a call for disrespect toward another person. Learn to be firm in your beliefs without the need to fight everyone who has a different view. If you choose to be a leader, you’ll be hated by some and loved by others. Don’t abandon your convictions for either party.
- Love big. Tell people how you feel. Laugh and cry as much as possible. Do not let anyone shame you for your feelings. Having emotions is not feminine, it is human.
- It is okay to be angry. But know the difference between angry and mean. Know how to clean up messes, and always do it as they happen.
- Bad things happen all the time…the kind of things that can ruin a day if you let them. Soak them in, but then send them back out. Don’t let those things steal the only resource you can’t get more of…your time.
- Lead people well. Leadership isn’t micromanaging. Effective leadership happens through strong organization, clear and consistent processes and providing an example to your followers.
- One day you will not be under my roof. You may not live there anymore, but my home will always be your home. Create your own life and make your own roots, but come back as often as possible.
- You are meant for greatness, so please, don’t settle for any less. And do your absolute best to spur others toward greatness as well.
- Remember that I may not always be here, but that I love you always, with every ounce of my being.
- Love you more.
Well, there it is. I suppose this is the most grassroots effort of them all. 🙂 I hope that as you read these, you were inspired to make your own list and to commit to your own march. Let’s come together and do the best we can at raisin’ our babies.