To my sons,
It seems you grow taller by the day. Stronger. Smarter. More aware of everything. I have no more babies.
Your personality, style, and sense of humor are evolving. You’re making friends and learning to be one. You’re refining your interests — sports, clubs, the arts ... girls.
You’ve hit that age when we can no longer hide the world from you, nor you from it.
The turning point comes suddenly. No more scripting, hovering, or follow-up.
You’re officially a young man. You face your own monsters now. You make your own choices, and must live with them.
As your parents, we want this for you. We want you to dream, work, plan, partner, and use every good thing you are to create a life worth loving. We want you to be successful and happy and independent.
But I have to be honest. As your mother, I want more.
In this world where women and girls still struggle for equal regard and opportunity, I want your help ... and your commitment.
I want you to use your maleness to create safe spaces for women and girls.
I want you to be the voice of reason when we’re treated unreasonably, and the hand of friendship when a friend is hard to find.
If you hear other boys laugh about violating girls, I want you to refuse to play along. If necessary, I want you to remove yourself from not only the situation, but also from people who get their joy from others’ pain.
Son, I want you to be the one. The brave one who stands up. The honorable one who protects and respects women.
The kind one who remembers — when it matters most — his sisters and mothers and grandmothers and aunts who may have taught him well, but who loved him even more.
I want you to be that one. Because if a man is only as good as the good he does, he is made better by the good he is.
Be the one, Son.
Not just for me. For all of us.