How does one family create three boys who express their masculinity so differently?
This is the story of three little boys. Three boys raised by the same two parents: a stay-at-home dad and a work-away-from-home mom. They were given the same gender neutral toys as babies. They have mutli-racial and mutli-cultural community and extended family. And like most siblings, they are very different kids.
Boy #1: This kid has never met a sport he didn’t like. No matter the shape of the ball or stick, he is on board. He yells himself literally hoarse at sporting events.
Boy #2: This kid has never met a computer he didn’t like. No matter what format, he figures them out in no seconds flat. “No screen” days are hell for him.
Boy #3: This kid has never met a doll/stuffed animal/action figure he didn’t like. He creates epic dramas for them with weddings, divorces, breakups and the like. He will also use the salt and pepper shakers if they are the only thing available.
Of these three kids, one identifies as gay. . .and it’s not the one people usually think. I know this because these are my kids.
We’ve been raising our family in the way the right wing fears. Our family doesn’t have regular gender roles. We’re Buddhist. We’re honest about the gay, lesbian and transgender people in our lives. We live in a culturally diverse area because we want our kids to be exposed to and learn about families different from our own. A lot of noise gets made about these kind of things.
How will our kids learn what it means to be a man? How will they know the difference between right and wrong? How traumatized are they going to be by knowing men marry men and women marry women?
Personally, I think my husband is doing a great job teaching them what it means to be a man. My sons learn from him that men are strong, smart, silly and creative. But what about me? What I am teaching our sons about what it means to be a woman? My sons learn from me that women are strong, smart, silly and creative. Because those are the values we want our children to hold dear. They are not learning them from him or from me, but from both of us.
Dad shows them how to be smart and creative by showing them how to make them pancakes in all different shapes. I show them how be strong and silly by singing operatic-like songs in my loudest voice about how they are not getting ready for school when they should. The fact that my husband’s job involves cooking and running the kiddo taxi service doesn’t make him less of a man. And he knows that. He has nothing to prove, and that’s pretty damn manly.
Christianity isn’t required for knowing the difference between right and wrong. It never has been. My husband and I feel it is our job to teach our children how to be compassionate, sharing and loving. And not to brag, but I think we are doing an okay job. If you hand our sons two or three of anything, the first thing they do is offer one of them to their brothers. Even cookies. A few weeks ago I did parent-teacher conferences for our two oldest kids. As I said before, they are very different. They have different strengths and areas to work on. They were two very different meetings, but they did have one similarity. Both teachers told me how kind my kids were. That make me want to sing an opera about how proud I am of them.
Then comes the subject of homosexuality. My kids have always known that some girls marry girls and some boys marry boys. How has this hurt them? Not at all. Not even a little bit. In fact I think its been a huge benefit. I mentioned before that one of my sons is gay. It’s #1. The one who loves sports. The one who thinks putting a fedora on top of jeans and a tshirt is dressed up. The one who wouldn’t wear pink if I paid him. Because my kids have had healthy role models of gay men in their daily lives, and although we’ve never talked about it, he knows he doesn’t have to be a stereotype to be gay. He has such confidence and ease with who he is. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
As my children grow up and become adults, they will figure out for themselves what it means to be a man. That’s their right. No one gets to tell my kids who they are. Not even me. So maybe in twenty years, one will be sunburned from too many pick up games of basketball, one will be ghostly pale from too many hours in front of a screen, and one will be trying on lipstick to star in his own dramas. All of those options are great. Although, as a mom I will worry about one getting skin cancer, one having a vitamin D deficiency, and one. . .well, I don’t know what I’ll be worrying about him yet. They are my sons. Who they are is perfect and awesome, and it’s been my privilege and honor to guide them along the way. I can’t wait to discover what kind of men they become.
RSVP for #StopSexism Weekly Calls
Join The Good Men Project Community.
The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission.
Register New Account
Your ANNUAL PLATINUM membership includes:
1. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to participate in ANY of our new Social Interest Groups. We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time. We now offer 500 calls a year!
2. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to ALL LIVE CLASSES. Learn how build your own platform, be a better writer, become an edit or create social change. Check out our training sessions. As a Platinum member, you can take them all.
3. Access to our PREMIUM MEMBER LIBRARY with our recorded ConvoCasts and classes. ConvoCasts are a new form of media—and you are in them! Only Platinum Members get access to our recordings. And recordings of our classes are really valuable for those who do not have time to take the live classes or just want to review.
4. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you log in.
5. Weekly conference calls with the publisher and other community members. Our weekly calls discuss the issues we see happening in the world of men in a friendly group setting.
6. PLATINUM member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a platinum member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL PLATINUM membership is $50/year.
Your ANNUAL GOLD membership will include:
1. Free access to any ONE Social Interest Groups.Try them out! We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time.
2. Free access to any ONE of our live classes. Each month, we have the following: Learn how to be a Rising Star in media, build your own platform, become an advanced writer, become an editor or create social change. Check out our classes here. RSVP for any one class—if you want to take more, just upgrade to an Annual Platinum Membership.
3. Invitation to all Weekly Conference calls with the Publisher and community. Connect with other members online and by phone!
4. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
5. GOLD commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a gold member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL GOLD membership is $25.
Your ANNUAL BRONZE membership will include:
1. Invitation to weekly conference calls with the publisher and community. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
2. BRONZE member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a bronze member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
3. NO Ads! An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
If you want additional exclusive access to our trainings, classes and live events, choose the Platinum or Gold level above.
Bronze membership is $12 per year.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Read more in Raising Boys