“My son won’t be a heart breaker.
He doesn’t need to ‘man up‘ or stop crying.
And ‘boys will be boys’ just ain’t gonna cut it in this house.
I am setting higher standards.
My little boy is just that — still little.
He’s a child, and he’s learning.
So I’m ready to drown out the messages he’ll hear outside these walls.
Because my son?
He’s got a lot of personality and a ton of love to give.
He’s affectionate and sweet.
He has bright eyes and a smile that lights up his whole face — a smile reserved for when he means it.
And I hope people will see how spectacular he is all throughout his life.
I hope he’ll create many special bonds.
So I’m teaching him to be gentle with others’ hearts.
And to seek out people who will be just as kind with his.
After all, nobody is born to break hearts. Instead, I think our hands are molded to cradle them.
And in our house, to ‘man up’ or ‘woman up’ means acting with character and integrity.
It doesn’t mean being whoever somebody else says you should be.
So I’m teaching him what it looks like to step into who he is.
It means accepting and embracing his genuine emotions.
Going through the hurt, not sweeping it under the rug.
Crying when he needs to, not holding it all inside.
It means knowing who he is and understanding what he needs.
It means walking in confidence and believing in his own worth.
It means learning to dismiss societal pressure and cruel voices.
It means bravely stepping in to protect others who can’t defend their own hearts.
And boys will be boys?
Children will be children, maybe, and mine will always be my baby.
But I’ll never give him license to treat others badly, even when he’s little.
We casually throw around terms like ‘boys will be boys,’ and then we wonder decades later why so many people truly believe that ‘men just can’t control themselves.’
But as for me?
I don’t believe that at all.
I think we just need to change our words and adjust our expectations.
I watched my son burst out into the world with gusto on his first day, and he’s been high-energy ever since.
Oftentimes his play has been rough and even aggressive… not specifically because he’s a boy, but because he’s a child.
He’s still just learning.
And I get to teach him to channel it all for good.
All of it.
I’ll raise him to be a brave and confident ‘heart holder.’
Someone who can comfortably show and verbalize his own emotions.
And a boy who grows into a man who insists that boys will be good humans.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Cassie Gottula Shaw. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from Cassie here:
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‘I’m beautiful, Mama!,’ she whispered, beaming. I found myself in tears as I watched my baby girl twirl.’: Mom learns lesson from her little girl’s winter coat, ‘She didn’t need affirmation’
‘We’re going to forget much about these days. This life is beautiful, indeed. Even in the hardest of times.’: Mom says ‘we do not remember days, we remember moments’
‘Look at you, puttin’ on lipstick to go to the cemetery,’ my husband teased, whistling at me. I didn’t plan to see a living soul there.’: Woman realizes during quarantine, ‘Fear is no match for God’s love’
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