We should teach boys to be human

“You must not cry”, “You cannot show weakness”, “Tears are for girls”, “No, you cannot be seen to be vulnerable.” These and many more statements are always told to our boy children.

Is it that boys do not have tear ducts? I understand the fact that males cannot get pregnant because they have no womb.  However, they have tear ducts and they are there to be used.

They also have emotions and these, when, demonstrated show that they are human. I believe and know that my son is not a brick wall which when hit shows no pain.

When God said in Genesis that it is not good for man to be without a helper, my understanding is that God saw that man needed someone to help him. That alone is sign that there will be times that man fails and will need someone to help him up. That shows vulnerability, otherwise, he would never ask for the help.

However, when we look at what society thinks of man today, it is so unhealthy and ultimately harmful.

See, right from childhood, we train our girls how to behave. “Sit well, that is not how a girl sits,” we say. On the other hand, you will find a boy nearly squatting in the name of sitting.

“Comb your hair, girls must be neat,” we say. Yet you will find a boy with uncombed hair and no one is bothered about his unkempt look.

“Fold your clothes, clean your bedroom, and lay your bed,” we say. On the other hand, a stroll into the boy’s room introduces you to clutter, an unmade bed and at times, a stench which shows laxity on his part that is unchecked.

Then when they become teenagers, while we teach our girls about the changing hormones and the need to take extra care of their hygiene, boys are left to their devices. Does it mean that they have not reached puberty, are they not sweating thus need to do better to keep clean, or it okay that their pubic hair becomes a bush? 

While our girls often receive talks and are encouraged to join girl empowerment clubs, I have only heard of a handful of boy mentorship bodies.

When getting ready for marriage, we take our girls to their aunts for refinement, we encourage them to go for counselling and they receive bridal showers loaded with advice. On the other hand, a stag party is all the boy child gets.

How then, can we expect him to be an excellent husband, an appreciative manager, a considerate co-worker or a good role model? How will he keep track of appointments yet his mother crippled him by being his constant reminder with nothing on his part save appearing looking he has just come out of bed?

It is these very sons who later meet our girls and become their husbands. While we have empowered the girl child, she is sharing her space; at work, home, on the bus, in the bank queue and anywhere else she is with a boy child that only knows how to hide what he feels.

We need to allow boys and males, for that matter to be human, embracing the various stages of life and their emotions. Maybe, we will lower the suicide rate which is at three times higher than in women according to BBC, as of 2019.

We will also create better father figures for the next generation. Hope is not lost, if only we take the first step towards doing something for our sons, fathers, and nephews.

Joan S, a journalist, blogger, and parenting coach