3 reasons why you should buy your son a doll.

As a young boy growing up, I wanted to push life's fast-forward button to instantly become a man. "Men can drive, buy things, and do whatever they want," I thought.

But that was the cool part. It became confusing when I tried to learn about how men are supposed to act.


When I turned on the TV to find out what manhood looked like, it often involved destruction.

In some instances, it was a dude destroying buildings.

GIF from "The Wolverine."

In others, it was a dude destroying other dudes.

Fear the educated feet of Mr. Norris. GIF from "Walker, Texas Ranger."


My dad was (and still is) an amazing role model and taught me that being a man means so much more than drinking beers, bench-pressing 250 pounds, and mean-mugging. Unfortunately, what I saw from my old man didn't jive with what I saw elsewhere.

That's why it's not surprising to find young boys interested in toys that perpetuate the tough guy stereotype, such as guns, swords, action figures, and violent video games.

But how will the aforementioned toys prepare our young boys for manhood?

Every toy doesn't need to be a teaching tool and there's nothing inherently wrong with kids pretending to blow stuff up in their backyards. However, no matter what young males decide to do for a living, there's a high probability that many of them will become fathers.

Why not give them a head start on what it means to be a modern dad by providing them with a doll for the holidays?

Wait, what?

No, really. If you're hesitant about the idea, start by checking out this comic by Chris Hallbeck (who completely nails it).

Image by Chris Hallbeck via Maximumble, used with permission.

Here are three reasons why buying a doll for a boy is a good idea.

1. If little girls can do it all, why can't little boys?

As a dad with two young daughters, I love seeing how the world continues to evolve to include their diverse interests. In past generations, little girls were read the memo to be nurturing, loving, and not too much else. Now they're being taught to become leaders, doctors, coders, scientists, engineers, and anything else they desire.

Just check out the awesome work GoldieBlox is doing to help inspire the young ladies in our lives. The company released a short video capturing the frustration girls feel when searching for toys that suit their interests.

Many young ladies are interested in more than pink and glitter. GIF from GoldieBlox.

Sadly, society is not so quick to follow suit when it comes to boys. Yes, they can be leaders, doctors, and scientists — but playing with dolls? Not so much.

In order to be a well-rounded human, wouldn't it make sense to show little boys that it's just as cool to be wild and competitive as it is to be loving and nurturing? If it's cool for girls, it should be cool for boys too.

2. Learning empathy at an early age is a good thing.

Many parents can remember when their firstborn children became big brothers or big sisters for the first time. The proud older sibling would hover over the baby like a hawk, reacting at every giggle or cry. Rare were the moments when they didn't offer to help with feedings, baths, or anything baby-related.

In other words, the big kids felt deeply connected to the emotions and well-being of the smaller kids in their lives.

Sure sounds similar to playing with a doll to me.

It also sounds a lot like empathy.

Empathy is a way of saying, "I value your feelings." GIF via Brene Brown, The RSA/YouTube.

Studies have shown that empathetic people enjoy greater success emotionally, academically, and interpersonally than those who don't feel empathy.

Girls have countless items at their disposal to display their nurturing side. What happens to the boys who love playing with their younger siblings but aren't allowed to play with dolls?

It cuts off one valuable avenue for our boys to learn about empathy, and that absolutely shouldn't happen.

3. It builds confidence.

A single mom named Heather Manville shared her personal experience with her 8-year-old son, Joey.

Props to Joey and his mom. Photo via Heather Mainville, used with permission.

Since Joey was young, he always had baby dolls, accessories, and anything that would encourage him to engage in play that celebrates empathy and nurturing.

The results are a happy and confident little boy who will surely become a great man someday.

"Joey loves dolls and has the confidence to speak up when he hears that boys shouldn't play with them," Mainville told Upworthy. "He's also a loving and protective playmate with younger children due to learning empathy at a young age."

Is there a better sign of a confident child than one who is willing to do whatever he wants without worrying about what others think of him? In a copycat world where most kids are content to fit in, it's refreshing to see boys like Joey who aren't afraid to show their nurturing sides.

Sure, toughness breeds confidence — but in today's world, sensitivity and empathy comprise what true toughness is all about.

So why not pick up a doll for that little boy in your life this holiday season?

Other than potentially finding a new favorite toy, it will give him the confidence to know that he can be anything he wants to be in the future.

And there's a good chance that "thing he wants to be" will be a good dad.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's