For many men, the first time they ever have to care for another human is when the obstetrician hands them one. This leads to a steep learning curve that often places a large burden on mothers while keeping the bar for dads embarrassingly low. Just showing up as a dad automatically gets you pats on the back from most of society. It is time to change that.
We present caregiver roles to girls starting at a young age. We give them dolls instead of toy guns (its own issue), and we encourage them to make money by babysitting, rather than cutting lawns. We teach them how to take care of another human, as we expect this to be one of their main jobs down the line. With boys, however, we raise them to run through the woods, gallivant about, and by high school, start earning some money. Never do we think it might be beneficial to build up their warmth and patience, not realizing that they will need it down the line.
As a prospective stay-at-home dad (the sky is the limit), I have worked hard to build the skills necessary to provide for others. I have sought out jobs as a nanny, teacher, camp counselor, and caregiver. Nearly always, I am one of the very few men in these roles. In our attempts to shape boys into a kind and caring men, we need to think critically about what we are preparing them for in life.
Current parents, consider asking a young man to babysit next date night. Teachers, encourage your male students to learn about professions like nursing and childhood education. And guys, learn how to change a diaper or make a meal or do literally anything helpful.
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