How To Raise Boys to be Kind Men

What can we do to help young men respect women, recognize consent, and have healthy sexual relationships? Teach them kindness to others – and the courage to go against the crowd.

When Max was just a few months old, I sat cross-legged on the floor with him in a circle of other mothers. The facilitator for our “Mommy and Me” playgroup would throw a question out to the group, and we would each volley back an answer.

“What quality do you want to instill in your child? What personality characteristic would you most like for your son to be known for?” she asked.

One by one, the mothers answered. “Athletic”, “Good sense of humor”, “Brave”, “Smart”, “Strong”.

The answers blended together until it was my turn to speak. I looked down at the tiny human wiggling around on the blanket in front of me, his perfectly round nose, his full lips that mirrored mine. I stroked the top of his very bald head, and said with confidence: “kind”.

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