The popular image of a household of boys is a household in turmoil, with odd creatures brought inside and strange antics taking place everywhere you look. But like most popular images, it’s a myth.
Part of the myth is that boys like to pick on each other and even strangers and of course hapless parents. But boys can be as compassionate as girls are, and much of it does not have to be taught.
I’ve already mentioned how my oldest son treated his baby brother at first. There was a period of adjustment. But once my second son could walk and they began interacting more, they became best friends. And as my oldest grew he took on his role of protector for his brothers. He’s still protective of those he loves, and caring for all.
My second son has always been especially compassionate. I remember when he was little, not more than two, and I was upset about something. He patted me and let me know it would be okay. He still has a very gentle nature and is willing to go out of his way to help a friend.
My third son was quiet when he was little, much quieter than the other two, and mischievous when he got older. But as he’s matured he has become fiercely compassionate and caring. He won’t stand for hypocrisy or injustice and he’s not afraid to speak up or take action when needed.
My fourth son is a scholar and always has been. He spoke his first word when he was six months old. When he was little he used his intellect to study dinosaurs. Now he studies social concepts and works on solutions to help others. He’s also ready with a helping hand.
My fifth is quiet and you would think he would blend into the background. But he never does. He also stands strong against what he sees what’s wrong. His poetry and his rap are full of awareness. On a personal level, he will do everything he can to make someone comfortable.
My youngest is very involved in the life of the family and those around him. He’ll gladly wash the dishes, carry a load, or speak out against a wrong. He wants to know more about the world around him and find solutions, big or small.
I’m not writing about my boys to brag about them. The point is that they are strong men who aren’t afraid to care, to show empathy and compassion. Too often, even now in the 21st century, there is sometimes the idea that a strong man can’t show any softness. But the truly strong man doesn’t care how others see him. He only cares about making a positive difference in the lives of others.