Change happens each and every day. And, because all of us have different upbringings and different experiences, our beliefs are also vastly different. For me, there is no better example of change than watching my husband become an advocate for our teenager daughter. For change to occur, I believe that there are typically four parts: the incident, the fulcrum (the point at which you have to fall on one side or another), the aha moment and the outcome.
Last year our daughter came home after her first day of school with tears streaming down her face. Through the sobs and, deciphering of teenage rambling, we figured out that she suffered through sexually harassed in the presence of both teachers and classmates. Not one person did a single thing to stop it or help her out of it. Our daughter was 13 at the time.
My husband and I had differing opinions about what our daughter experienced. As a woman, who suffered sexual harassment I was outraged. My husband, who did not experience sexual harassment, believed it wasn’t that big of a deal, and that is wasn’t worth a second thought. Because of this, I went to the principle alone to battle for my daughters’ rights.
In a meeting with the (female) principle, I was told: “Well, boys will be boys…”. The feminist and mother in me were in a rage. I retorted with some snappy comment about girls will be girls, and this girl is going to hire a lawyer.
In the end, going to the superintendent was the only way to achieve the recourse my daughter needed so that she could feel safe in her school?
After hearing about the meeting with the principal, my husband found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. For clarity, my husband is one of the most caring men I’ve ever met, and he loves his daughter to pieces. My husband merely needed the harsh and crushing experience for the opportunity to become a diamond and not a lump of coal.
The aha moment:
He was forced to balance out how he was raised versus what his daughter was facing out in the world. For him this change was simple. He decided that men need to be better, do better and raise boys better. There is no more double standard in this home. The lie that “Boys will be boys” is not acceptable in our lives any longer.
Seeing my husband, my diamond, develop in this way has strengthened our marriage and his relationship with his teenage daughter. For my husband, the experience of being a father to a teen daughter has forever changed the way he thinks and feels.
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