I want my boys to be strong

I want my boys to be strong. I am not talking about the size of their biceps or the weight of their bench press. As long as they are capable of carrying the groceries in from the car, then that is all the physical strength I need from them.

I want them to be strong in life.

I want them to be strong in feeling.

I want them to be able to feel all kinds of emotion and still thrive. I want them to take risks, to take on challenges, to look adversity in the eye, to scrape themselves off, to always find a way to keep going. I want them to know they are good enough. To know they are enough. They are imperfect, but they are enough.  I don’t think they can do that, without having real strength of feeling.

Strength to women it seems, is the ability to do all things at once, and all things well.

Strength to men, is not being perceived as weak.

Weak at anything.

I have counselled  fathers who have cried about not being able to provide. “Please don’t let them know I cried.” “They will think I am weak”. When a footballer cries on the football field, there are still some who see it as a sign of weakness. But how can he experience that true exhilaration of holding a premiership cup if he has never allowed himself to feel that pain?

We need fathers to say to their sons “me too”.  Or uncles, or friends, or grandparents. We need to be able to say “I know it hurts”. “I know it is embarrassing”. “I know you don’t know where to go from here”. Sometimes we need to let them lose. We must let our sons know that emotions need to be felt, to be lived and breathed and talked about and cried about, and shared. Only then can our kids know real joy. I have seen time and again well meaning parents trying to protect themselves and their kids from negative experiences creating a world that must be feared instead of lived. Instead we need to let them experience it all whilst they have the safety of the home to bounce from. Only then can they take those risks again. Only then can they believe in their ability to survive. To get up again. To turn to someone for help. To make real connections.

I want my kids to be happy. Of course everyone does.

But in order for that to happen. I need them to be strong.


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This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Me

    Greta post Martine !!!!! Certainly very true. I think all parents should want the same for their children – boys or girls.
    Have the best week !

    1. Martine

      Thanks Me, absolutely true for all children

  2. Janet Dubac

    I agree! This is exactly what I want my kids to be. I need them to be strong and I want them to be happy. You’ve really chosen the right words for this and I am really grateful. Thank you for sharing this very good read Martine! I really appreciate it. 🙂

    1. Martine

      Thanks Janet, and thankyou for sharing 🙂

  3. Rachel

    What a lovely post. You’ve summed up so well what I also for my boys! I want them to know it’s ok to not get things right all the time and that they won’t win every race they enter. They need to be strong enought not to let that stop them from trying. But they also need a safe place where they can express their disappointment and ackonwledge their feelings of anger or sadness when life deals them blow.

    1. Martine

      Very true Rachel. I think a safe place to land is certainly as important as having the ability to try and take risks.

  4. Mrs Holsby

    Beautifully put…. I don’t think I have much more to say than that. I want to grow a man that I would like to meet, and he needs to be all of those things.
    I think about it too. How to get it right.

    1. Martine

      Thankyou…ad yes that is all we really want isn’t it…someone we would like to meet!

  5. Great post, I totally get what you’re saying. I think it is very important to let boys and men know that there is nothing wrong with showing their emotions, especially when it comes to crying, whether they be tears of sadness or tears of joy. We were the first of most of our friends to get married and Dave was crying before I had even made it down the aisle, and cried a few times during his speech. He got a bit of ribbing about it from our friends afterwards but I backed him up and told them there was nothing wrong with a bloke showing a bit of emotion. Especially when it comes to things as overwhelming as weddings, funerals and the birth of children. Needless to say, as each one of them has eventually gotten married they’ve all shed their share of tears at their weddings and been just that little bit more open with their emotions and its been a really good thing.

    #teamIBOT was here!

    1. Martine

      My hubby cried at our wedding when giving the speech and i love that he can show that kind of emotion in front of all of his friends. And yes having children often makes the toughest exterior melt away!

  6. Hello there, I do model emotions for the kids, and also recovery from emotions, and tell them that emotions can be fierce but are usually brief, especially anger… and we can apologise and move on. My husband is terribly unemotional, very flat and that must have an effect on the kids. Maybe I make up for it!

    I’d like mine to be strong too, and brave… and able to care for themselves when they need to. Big, big topics.

    1. Martine

      You raise an excellent point about the recovery of emotions Seana. So important to let our kids see that it is ok to have these feelings, we just need to know there is a recovery period!

    1. Martine

      Thanks Vicki!

  7. Robomum

    I have a young boy and I’ve been concerned with strength lately. He fights almost every meal and I worry about his energy levels. Everyone tells me that he will eat when he’s hungry and eventually he will grow into an eating machine.
    Building resilience in kids is just as important, as is teaching them that it’s OK to show emotion.
    Strength of character can’t be seen, but it makes the man.
    I agree with every word you’ve written.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Robomum, and good luck with the eating thing…it can be very frustrating, but I too find those things are often short-lived.

  8. My middle born, boy, is a BIG crier and I don’t have a prob with this, but dad kinda does. so he said to me the other night, do you still love me when I cry? I said, I love you BECAUSE you cry. It’s a hard journey for our wee ones, thank for this great post!

    1. Martine

      Gorgeous sentiment Emily, your little boy will grow up just fine 🙂

  9. Nathalie Brown

    Love this post hard, so important to be able to share emotions no matter what they are x

    1. Martine

      Thanks Nathalie x

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