by Dr. G
I sounded surprised, which was, I believe, the only strange part of this exclamation. As I was pregnant, and in residency, you’d think this would be a given, no? “Sweetheart,” my husband would tell me, “Give yourself a break. You’re building a person; it takes a while, and a lot of energy.”
This concept, and phrase, stuck for us. We are currently building 4 boys at our house. With young guys aged 11, 9, 6 and 4, we currently have 30 years of boy-raising experience under our belts.
I’m a family doctor, and my husband is an ER doc. We each work part-time (which he takes even more flak for than I do). We recognize how incredibly lucky we are to have this arrangement, and it took us a while to get here. A prospective boss once asked my husband why a man who was serious about his career would ever work part-time. His response: “There are a bunch of great emergency medicine physicians out there. I’m the best man to teach my sons to be men.”
Enjoying sons is often easy. Advocating for them takes some work. Building them requires intention and diligence. If you’re here, at Building Boys, you already know all that.
Have you thought about the strides our culture has made in how we view girls? The idea of “girl” activities, characteristics, academic pursuits, even colors, have been challenged and often rejected.
Boys, on the other hand, are often thrust into – and kept out of – certain roles, relationships and requirements. Boys face pressures to “do” and “be” on certain paths, and are denied others. So, as parents of boys, we are suddenly – in this generation – fighting stereotypes, pushing boundaries and challenging what’s expected for and by our sons.
As I mentioned, I am a family doctor. Because of my work with hundreds of families, I have the opportunity to go out and speak on the national stage about parenting. Am I a Parenting Expert? Sure. On the four boys who live at my house. Just as you are a Parenting Expert, on the boys (and girls) who live in your home.
My sons will grow up, and they will hang out with yours, work with or for them, date them (or their sisters), teach or learn with your kids, and create the “peer group” that we as parents think so much about.
Building Boys is our chance to see the forest for the trees. A community in which we can each ask – and answer – the questions we have that are boy-specific about who the men of the next generation will be.
Let’s build our boys into men we can all respect, and admire.