Boys Will Be…

Some of my favorite boys.

There we were
seated at the dinner table
pasta, salad, a splash of wine
a typical Monday evening family meal
when our sports-lovin’,
thirteen year old son spoke up,
“What’s going on with Robert Kraft,
the owner of the NE Patriots?”

Young adults of this age —
all ears and eyes,
plugged into news,
topics on social media,
hearing pieces and tidbits
of tragedy that seem
to be the heartbeat of the press

The choice arose —
to dismiss, shrink down
or speak up about a man, a spa
and his wrongdoings.
How could we, as parents,
shrug this one off?
Sweep it under the rug?
Ignore the inquiry?

There we were
seated at the dinner table
prostitution, human trafficking,
illegal sexual encounters
an unlikely Monday evening conversation
that needed to be addressed
to our rising adults who know more
than we think they do

A conversation that led
to the beautiful body
and sacred nature of sex,
to honor women and all people —
not to use individuals for our own purposes,
as objects for rude commentary
or selfish pleasure to abuse one’s dignity

The phrase “Boys will be boys” arose,
a twisted adage that simmers ire in my veins
for what the message implies:
a granted permission for boys
to be aggressive, mouthy, dismissive of women
Words that lead us to deny harmful behavior
and reply, “Well, you know, that’s just how boys are”

Actually, as a mom of two boys,
I see boys are beautiful creatures
of deep thoughts, hearts of gold
and care that oozes from their interior
IF we give them rich soil and space to reveal.
Each day, they give me ripe opportunity
to sow them with threads of love and forgiveness
this, my challenge and responsibility

The antiquated phrase “Boys will be boys”
needs a nice burial and polite goodbye, in order to
resurrect something lavish and hopeful
for boys growing up in the twenty-first century.
Here are a few possibilities:

Boys will respect themselves and others
Boys will be kind
Boys will be creative
Boys will be compassionate
Boys will be playful
Boys will spread their love into the world
Boys will add their unique stamp into humanity
Boys will use their power for good, not corruption
Boys will follow a Spirit of Love
Boys will be confident in their purpose
Boys will use their strength to build up, not tear down

What would your positive addition be to this list?

Let’s be the kind of people 
who shower our boys
with love, beauty and wonder so they
move into the world as men who
desire equity for all.