I am so blessed to be your mom. You each have amazing personalities, unique talents, and special characteristics. I know someday you will grow up and be strong men. Kind men. Respectful men. Successful men. Men like your grandfathers. Men like your father.
Someday when you go out into the world, you will find yourself working with all different kinds of women. You will work for women, beside women, and you will lead women. If you are as blessed as I pray you will be, you will spend your life with a woman who is your best friend and soul mate.
First I want to tell you this: always be proud you are men. Do not take on the wrongs of other men. There are men who abuse their power and use their position to hurt those underneath them. Do not take on their attributes; do not take on their guilt.
Do not look up to men who abuse their power. I want you to recognize that is not true strength.
It’s not attractive. It’s not what real men do. It’s not what strong men do. It is not what God calls you to do.
You’re going to work with and do life with some amazing women. As men, you will often be placed in positions over them. This means you will have immense responsibility; it also means you will have incredible opportunity – to show real strength.
You can show your strength by how you see them, hear them, and value them. You can mentor them, sponsor them, and promote them.
When she speaks, listen to her ideas. Don’t interrupt her; and when she is interrupted, make sure you bring attention to it and give her another opportunity for her input to be heard.
Recognize how often her ideas are attributed to someone else; set the record straight in meetings and conferences and allow her to own her own credit.
Call women by their professional names. Introduce them with the titles they have earned, just as you would your male colleagues. Speak honorably about them in the workplace. Talk about their contributions and their abilities, their effort, and their value.
If you see a woman being harassed or diminished verbally, speak up. Defend her immediately. Show all who are watching how you won’t stand for it. Be strong.
Ask women for their opinions and ideas. Trust their opinions and skillsets. Value her expertise, and her take on different things.
When a woman says no, accept it. It’s not a question. It’s a sentence.
Respect all women. Young women. Older women. Serious women. Funny women. Women of all color. Women of all sizes.
Someday you are going to date women. Remember to treat each woman how you want the man that is dating your future wife to treat her. Respect her. Treat her with kindness.
Remember that women lead governments. They run code blues. They arrest criminals. They protect children. They investigate cures and conduct research. They teach our next generation. They guard and raise the most precious treasure: children.
And just like you, at times they fail. They make mistakes. They make errors. They need grace and forgiveness and understanding.
Be proud that you are men. Be Godly men, men of character, and men of respect. Those are all things to be proud of. You are each made uniquely, and I believe in you. I know there will be times where you feel frustrated, beaten down and overcome with responsibility. I know it is not easy to be strong men.
I also know you are not mine, you are God’s.
And you are brave enough.
Sasha K. Shillcutt is an anesthesiologist who blogs at Brave Enough.
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