What’s The Best Way to Teach Boys to Value Girls?

 

A friend recently posed a question on Facebook: What strategies have you used to teach middle-school boys about valuing the worth of girls/women?

My Answers:

Teach boys self-worth and how to value themselves, first, and as an extension, how to value others.
Teach both physical and emotional intimacy. A lot of these things can and should start before middle school, but middle school is better than never.
Teach them the realities of how women are mistreated/undervalued in society (pay disparity, job inequality, etc.), and why it’s important to advocate for those with less power.
Explicitly teach them to value their bodies and women’s bodies via age-appropriate sex education, which includes discussing the realities of the porn industry and how it affects our valuing of sex and women. This also includes explicitly teaching consent (CLICK HERE for pointers on NOT Raising Rapists).
Ensure parents are on board with what you’re teaching and that they’re reinforcing these messages at home and especially in the media their kids are exposed to.
Teach boys to hold others, especially other males, accountable for their sexism and/or misogyny.

The time to be a leader isn’t later. The time to lead is now. Their ability to lead is now. During the preadolescent years, parental influence is paramount. But during the middle-school years, we tend to see a shift in how children internalize parental vs. peer values, so the earlier parents can model and make their ideals meaningful, the better. Likewise, the more we can help adolescents hold each other accountable on some of these issues, the better, because their peer groups become considerable influencers as they age.

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Reach Out and Touch Someone

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Watch and share the video below!

I posted a video reminder below on suicide, depression, and the holiday season. Watch, share, grow. Each of us have the power to be the change we wish to see in this world. You can change someone’s entire life, even change the entire course of history if you seize the moments to connect with others and make this world a better place.

Here’s a Link to a relevant blog post: “How to Write a Suicide Note”

National Suicide Lifeline (U.S.A.): 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

International Suicide Lines (List): CLICK HERE

Find a Depression Support Group (locally): CLICK HERE

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The Rows Behind You

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Last night I adapted the following activity (found online) with my students after a discussion on the psychological impact of the grand jury decisions (and precipitating events) in Ferguson and in NY for the officer who choked Eric Garner. Some didn’t see it impacting their particular clients or how they function professionally in our field. I had them write their names on a paper, ball it up, and try to throw it into a freshly lined trashcan at the front of the class, but they had to shoot from wherever they were already seated. We pretended that whoever made their shot would get an “A” regardless of how they were performing in the class.

Of course, those in the back complained it was unfair as others in the rows ahead of them practiced their shot. After everyone threw, I asked those in the front why they didn’t join the rows behind them in pointing out the unfairness. One student, privileged with front-row seating, said the others should have been sitting closer. Another nearer the front said she didn’t even hear them saying it was unfair (she was so focused on “making it” for herself). One student near the back made his shot and stopped mentioning it was unfair. His classmate slightly behind him rightfully called him an outlier. I told them that in reality, they have the privilege of front row seating in life, and part of their JOB is to advocate for the people in the rows behind them.

I told them to remember anomalies, represented by the guy who “made it” despite adverse circumstances (being near the back). Remember that our front-row privilege makes it easier to assume what others should have done differently (like sit closer despite being disallowed to move, or like how they should respond to oppression). Remember how easy it is to completely miss the cries of injustice from the rows behind us because we’re so focused on “making it” ourselves. And once you “make it,” remember to advocate for the rows behind you.

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How To Write a Suicide Note

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Remember these old commercials? Great message!

I saw this request for how to write a suicide note and a response to it posted on a social media site. The image is somewhat blurry, so I’ll share the wording below. [Question:] How do I write a suicide note the right way [Anonymous Response:] You start writing about all the things you love about life. Here, I’ll help you.

  • Sunsets
  • Sunrises
  • Cups of Coffee
  • A snuggly blanket
  • Puppies
  • Cupcakes
  • Finding a new amazing book

Next, make a list of the people who care about you. Can’t think of anyone? I guarantee there’s more than you think. Me especially. After that, write out your dreams. What you want to be when you get older, what you want to name your kids, what your dream wedding will be like, etc. And finally, you write out your favorite things about yourself. Your laugh, your smile, your personality, your hair, your skin, your compassion for others, anything. Giving up isn’t worth it. Look toward your future because there are so many bright things waiting there.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For many, the holiday season brings laughter and joy; it’s a time for reflecting on fond memories and making new ones. However, for many others gripped by depression, anxiety, addiction, and a host of other relational difficulties, the holidays are shadowed by the same dark cloud that plagues them year-round. Research shows depression and suicide rates are relatively stable, and sometimes lower during the holidays, likely because of the interaction with others and increased support. That means each of us can play a significant role in helping others through an otherwise difficult season. Think of someone you can pour into, today. Think of the difference you can make by giving a different perspective, by reaching out, by being kind. Be that hope for someone else! Be thankful for blessings, yes, but also be a blessing. Someone will be thankful for you! If you or someone you know needs additional support during difficult times, reach out; support is available: National Suicide Lifeline (U.S.A.): 1-800-273-TALK (8255) International Suicide Lines (List): CLICK HERE Find a Depression Support Group (locally): CLICK HERE

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Suicide Question and Response 

on NOT raising rapists…

Paradigm Shift

Rape Culture Needs a PARENTING Paradigm Shift

“Nobody ever says I wanna be a [RAPIST] when I grow up.” I liked those late ’80s commercials stressing the importance of making early anti-drug decisions by choosing NOT to be a drug-user. As a passionate advocate of abuse prevention, I teach my children, and admonish others to teach their children, NOT to be rapists and NOT to be abusers (sexual, physical, emotional, or otherwise). People usually ask, “How? What’s a practical way?” My response: “Explicitly!” We don’t teach our children much else in vague terms. We don’t JUST say, “Mind your manners.” We say, “Don’t put your elbows on the table.” We don’t JUST say, “Respect others’ things.” We say, “Don’t go upstairs without their permission, or don’t run in their home, or don’t jump on their couch.” Well, I’d much rather your son run across my couch than rape my daughter! Likewise, I’m sure you’d much rather my daughter put her elbows on the table than rape your son (or daughter). Yet, we shy away from telling our growing children such needed truths, like:

  1.  Don’t let anyone hit you.
  2. If someone keeps trying to have sex with you after you’ve said no… 

Oh, wait…

  1. Don’t raise your hands to hit someone unless it’s in self-defense (from some kid who didn’t learn these life skills).
  2. Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t understand what sex is, whether due to age, maturity, or intellect.
  3. Whether it’s their body, money, or property, don’t take advantage of someone else who’s not as intellectually capable as you.
  4. Don’t have sex with anyone unless you both agree and both understand the purpose and possible outcomes of your actions.
  5. Whomever you’re having sex with should be making a clear, conscious choice – so they can’t be drunk, passed out, unsure, etc.
  6. Don’t blame women when men rape. This includes questioning their dress, company, friendships, consensual sexual history.
  7. Don’t say/think men can’t be raped…by WOMEN. Genital arousal from stimulation does not equate with consent.

The list really can go on and on, and I’ll likely add to it, but feel free to add more below.

Yes Means Only One Thing

Yes Means Only One Thing

As a Christian mother, I want my children to wait for marriage, but should they choose not to do so, I want them to wait for consent. It’s no different than my not wanting them to drink, but should they choose to do so, I don’t want them to drive drunk. I know I’m weighing more heavily on sexual assault because it’s something I’m passionate about preventing and because I know there are more parents telling their children not to hit than parents telling their children not to rape. I believe both are needed. At any rate, this is the parenting paradigm shift I’d love to see grasped in more homes. I want my daughter and sons to be safe from abuse and/or sexual assault, but I also want my sons and daughter to understand the equal importance of not being an abuser/assailant.

In closing, I’ll leave you some sobering stats:

  • 75% of parents say they have had a conversation with their teen about what it means to be in a healthy relationship

  • YET, Only 28% of teens say they have had a conversation about dating abuse with Mom, and fewer than half as many (13%), say they have had a dating abuse conversation with Dad
  • 71% of teens whose families have been affected by the economy in the past year have NOT had a conversation with a parent about dating abuse
  • In comparison, more than 8 out of 10 of these teens say they HAVE had a conversation with a parent about:
    » Money (92%)
    » The economy in general (86%)
    » Family finances (82%)

At some point, we must admit we emphasize what we value! Let’s value our children, their safety, and their futures!

10 Tips on Rape Prevention

10 Tips on Rape Prevention

Preparing for the Storm

He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.

Have you ever watched people prepare for an impending hurricane? If you live near coastal regions prone to such destructive weather, you are probably all too familiar with storm preparation. In fact, you have probably already weathered some storms and learned from your experiences. Some time ago, my daughter experienced a medical emergency that reminded me of how important it is to prepare for upcoming storms, even if we have successfully braved the tempests of the past.

When she was about 18 months old, my daughter had her first febrile seizure. This is a seizure due to a spiking temperature. I can say with confidence that I felt the Holy Spirit guide me to immediately rush her into the sink to cool her off. He calmed me as fears arose due to her limited responsiveness following her seizure. When my daughter was almost two, she again experienced a spike in her body temperature due to an ear infection, and again, she had a seizure. This time, I didn’t feel God’s presence as keenly as I did before. I didn’t hear His voice calming me as I did before. Instead, I felt distinctly alone, and this time, all I heard was deafening silence.

There was very little time to think, but I immediately began praying over my daughter and telling her she would be okay. I rushed her to the bathroom and lay her flat in the tub, cooling her with the running water. Those ten minutes felt like an eternity. As I prayed over my daughter and begged God to heal her and spare her life, I remember doubts creeping in. As her lips turned blue, I remember thinking, “There’s nothing I can do,” but that was far from true! I remembered God’s word tells us the prayer of faith will save the sick (James 5:15). True to His word, God’s Holy Spirit brought back to my remembrance the scriptures I needed to recall at just the right time (John 14:26). Thus, I continued to pray, in faith, for my daughter’s healing and protection, and I continued to tell her she would be okay.

The entire ordeal taught me the importance of hiding God’s word in my heart (Psalm 119:11) and being prepared before the storm hits. In the midst of the storm, there is very little time to think, very little time to grab your bible, and it is hardly the time to start learning to pray in faith. We can be sure the storms are coming, for God’s word declares that in this world we will have tribulation and He is a shelter in the storm (John 16:33; Isaiah 25:4). His word also tells us that when we hear His words and put them into practice, we are like a wise man who built his house on the rock, and like that wise man, we have to have that firm foundation in God’s word before the storms arise (Matthew 7:24-26).

Study to show yourself approved ~~~~~ + ~~~~~ Hide God’s Word in your heart