In the past few decades, men are doing what were traditionally women’s jobs and women are doing jobs once reserved for men. These are amazing and wonderful progresses for both genders. Men are trusted as caregivers of children and parents, and women can sometimes be only source of family income. Moms are coaching sports teams and dads are baking their specialties for bake sales. Men are teachers, and nurses, and professional cooks. Women are FBI agents, politicians in positions of great power, and soldiers.
Teaching our children to respect the opposite gender is important. Helping girls to realize a man whom stays home with children and cooks and sews does not make him less of a man. Helping boys to know that a woman whom builds houses, fixes cars, and takes Karate does not make her a man. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? Men do not have to be violent to be men. Women do not have to silent to be women.
Teaching sons to be good brothers is a start. Taking care of his sisters with kindness and compassion will lead him to a life of always treating women this way. Having him play sports and games with his sisters will encourage him to want to be on teams with women in his job. Letting him help her with her homework will allow him to be a teacher and to be attentive to others in need. If they do not have sisters, this can be put into practice with cousins, neighbors, and close family friends.
Teach your daughter that she is allowed to have a voice and that their voice is important. Let her know that her body, her opinion, and her personal safety are paramount. Remind her she has value and that such value is not wrapped up in how she looks or how popular she is in school. If she has a life full of men whom respect her and treat her with love and kindness, she will be more likely to seek out those kinds of men in her friendships and romantic relationships. If you put down the foundation of mutual respect and decency, your sons and daughters will grow up to be one another’s advocates, and lifelong protectors for each other, and all those they come in contact with in the years to come.