Free People, Free People

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The other morning, I woke up with some special people on my mind. Those people are people like me who never fit into gender stereotypes and have felt less womanly or manly because of it. So, like most millennials I took to Facebook to express.

It was a stream of thoughts. I’m gonna post them here the same way I posted them on my profile.

If your kid cries a lot, try saying “use your words” instead of “stop crying.”
1. It’s ok to express emotions.
2. Tell them what you want instead of what you don’t want.

Your son has tear ducts. He’s supposed to cry sometimes. That doesn’t make him like a girl because he does it.

Let’s agree to stop using “like a girl” as an insult to little boys who we want to grow up and respect girls and women.

Playing with dolls and enjoying hanging with girls doesn’t make a boy gay. Stop listening to your emotionally inept family members.

If doll play is so damaging, girls shouldn’t play with them either. A four year old girl doesn’t “need” to practice mothering either.

Let’s raise children who don’t have to heal from their childhoods.

Respect =/= fear.
Take that out of your parenting tool belt.

The things that damaged you as a kid will probably be harmful to your children. Break the cycle.

Learn your child’s love language and love them how they need to be loved.

You can prepare your son for the harsh realities of the world without crushing his spirit. In fact, you should.

Let that boy play with dolls. You might have a playwright in your womb if you don’t extinguish the gift.

Let your daughter play basketball if she wants. I know it sucks, but odds are she wouldn’t grow up to be a princess anyway.

This morning’s messages come to you from a woman who hates dresses and who hated dolls and who has spent literal decades (20 of my 28 years) trying to figure out how to perform “girl.” Ever since a girl told me that girls don’t play the drums when I taught myself. Her words coupled with the stares I received until I started again at 25 (thank God for my time spent at Shekinah) crippled me.

Your words have power and they shape your children’s lives.
Your silence is also meaningful.

I woke up feeling liberated this morning so I thought I’d pass that on.
Free people free people.

“This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share with y’all.” India.Arie

Be A Man

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Something that truly irritates me is when I hear people talking to little boys telling them to “be a man” or “man up” or something of the sort. He’s not a man. He’s a child.

I totally disagree with the belief that men are naturally insensitive unfeeling people. They just get taught early on in life that it’s not okay to cry then they’re rarely encouraged to still express their emotions. They get told to suck it up and be a man.

And we wonder why men and women have such a hard time relating. (But that’s a whole ‘nother post)

I read a Child Watch Column by Marian Wright Edelman and its title sums up what I’ve been thinking about. “Treat Children as Children.”

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And we can see instances of this forced adulthood in so many places. For example, I finally watched a recent episode of Black•ish. (Have you watched that show? Do it! NOW!) Brilliant.

It brought out a topic we often ignore. Men who are raised by single mothers who end up hating their sons’ significant others.

After watching this scenario play out over and over, I deduce that it’s because the sons take on a dual role as their mother’s man.

I posted that as my Facebook status after watching and one commenter said this “Yep. Calling them little man, man of the house, king… Etc. Childhood is symbolically lost. You’ve nailed it.”

I don’t think we really understand how much our words really mean.

We have to stop forcing our boys into manhood with our words and actions.

OhCAE?!