I hear so much about “boys will be boys”, but what does that really mean? Are we just giving them a wide scope to be able to get away with behaviour we deem unacceptable for girls or young women, or is it that we do not want to allow them to be gentle and tender because then we would have to stop and see how far we have fallen from our own lived gentleness and tenderness?
And so instead, are we choosing to turn a blind eye when their behaviour becomes wayward because we do not quite know how to respond to it due to our own level of shutting down and hardness?
Whatever the reason, I feel this “boys will be boys” label needs to be addressed and boys need to be seen for who they truly are, and as women we know exactly how that is – and men, so do you, because we can all feel it.
We do not need to be told how boys or men should be, that they are different to girls or women, that they are tough, hard and strong, and to be completely honest, it is not ok that we as a society continue to instil these ideals, beliefs and impositions onto them, because I know from personal experience that men are extremely gentle, tender and loving and love nothing more than to be held by another and met for who they truly are.
Yes, men have a body that is physically designed to be able to lift or carry more than women, but their inner quality does not differ to ours. They are naturally gentle, tender and sensitive and if you observe them, how they are as young boys, it is not until they begin to head into their pre-school years that their gentleness begins to be replaced by a hardness, a shutting down so to speak, of their natural expression, as if they think they have a particular image they have to live up to – that they should be playing with trucks and cars and not dolls, or heaven forbid, wear a dress in public or want to have their nails painted.
I know a lot of fathers cringe at the very idea of their son wearing a dress or wanting to learn ballet – some because they are afraid of their son being teased by other boys, or because the fathers are worried about what other people will think of them; that if their son does girly things or behaves ‘girly,’ it is a direct reflection of how they are in their own masculinity. This, for some, is a huge challenge.
We have two sons, one aged 3 and one aged 20 months, both of whom are extremely different in their expression. Our oldest loves to wear dresses, have his nails painted, tie his hair up, play with dolls and play ballet. His favourite colour is indigo and he absolutely adores being held and is extremely affectionate and quiet in his mannerisms. He is loving, gentle, tender, affectionate, caring, vulnerable and fragile, no less so than our 8 year old daughter, who, mind you, has a favourite colour of blue.
Our youngest son has the same qualities as his brother. He is loving, caring, nurturing, tender and gentle. His way of expressing this is, however, very different. He has from the very beginning loved trucks and cars, preferring to play with hammers, work tools and he is more vocal in his expression, but this does not make him harder than his brother because he too loves to be held and to hold another.
Both boys are completely opposite in the way they express their inner qualities but those inner qualities are the same, the same as their father, who has over the years dropped the guards and protections he built up over his childhood to now live the absolutely beautiful tender gentle man he is today, forever deepening his love for himself and living that for his sons to feel and see.
Seeing the love our boys are, how they live and hold us in this, for me reflects how I am with myself, and I can see how, as my partner deepens and develops his love for himself, it exposes where I am not loving with myself. At times this can be challenging, because there is a level of comfort many of us do not want to let go of. And if men stay in their hardness and protection, then it does not challenge us to step out of our own protections and hardness we have created over the years.
I know that without the ongoing love and support from Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, I would not be able to support or nurture our boys to love in and from the absolute beauty they are, to see how each one needs to be supported differently to allow their natural expression to shine through.
I am constantly blessed by how gentle, tender and loving they are, and I can see how hard it has been for my husband to break down the barriers of protection he has built up around him over the years to hide his own gentleness and tenderness. It has been a long road for him, one that is not yet over and, like so many of us, we are only just beginning to understand what it is to truly live who we are naturally, without the impositions of society.
For many boys, the pressures, ideals and beliefs of how they should be become too much, so they succumb to how they think they should be. Meanwhile there is a trapped little boy within, just waiting to be met for who he truly is, and when he feels safe, and feels met, what you are met back with is absolutely glorious: the innocence of a man is truly beauty-full.
So why do we as a society continue to push and shove men into these boxes? Why do we paint a picture for them to live up to that is so far removed from who they naturally are? Why is it so important that they remain in and live from that hardness, instead of the natural gentleness and tenderness they are?
Both of our sons are encouraged and supported to express and live the gentleness, tenderness and vulnerability they are. They are supported and encouraged to live the men they naturally are, to not lose themselves and live up to the ideals and beliefs society has for so long pushed upon them.
They are allowed to, and encouraged to cry, and we stop and listen to what they have to say and what they are feeling – they are treated no different to our daughter, and no less.
I have been blessed to grow up with many boys in my life, both close to me and from afar, and they have been absolutely beautiful both inside and out… caring, loving and always there to support you when needed. However, even with this, over time they too have fallen into the trap of how you should act to be a man, and I know these boys have grown into men with the hurts of not truly being able to express what they are feeling without being labelled as a “wuss” or “ponce” or worse. But never have they lost that inner quality, for when you meet them from your own gentleness, you see that sparkle come back to life.
Men are naturally teddy bears and it is time we supported, nurtured and honoured the beauty they have within. To do that, we as women have to begin to live our own inner qualities of gentleness and tenderness, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and fragile, to reflect an openness that supports and allows men to begin to live theirs.
Let all sons have the role models they need and deserve, and let’s not live in a way that keeps us shut down from those closest to us, or humanity.
Published with permission of my partner.
By Nicole Serafin, 44 yrs, Woman, wife, Mother, Hairdresser, Tintenbar NSW
It’s a boy! What is true gender equality?
Men – are we set up to fail?
Men and expression – echoes from behind the wall
Thank you for sharing your family with us Nicole, you really highlight how easily, with two very differently expressing boys it could be to go into ideals about how they should be brought up…maybe protecting the 3 year old who is sensitive, and encouraging the one that likes trucks and hammers to be more manly. What you show is boys need the same tender loving support regardless of their outward expression. We still have a long way to go in our society in allowing people to be, without imposing the many ideals and beliefs that surround what it means to live as a man or a woman in this world.
Nicole, this article is fantastic, working part time in a school I hear this all the time, ‘boys will be boys’, which basically seems to mean that boys will fight and push each other and hurt each other and that’s just how boys are.
I have seen these boys grow up from little I know how fragile and sweet they naturally are and that the fighting is not truly them, even if it’s play fighting it feels rough and unnatural and usually someone gets hurt, it doesn’t feel ok to accept this behaviour.
Nicole describing your boys and the way you and your husband allow them to grow up in their own natural expression strongly stands out to what the current beliefs are around how a man should be in society – this must cause huge confusion within them, because it goes against everything they innately know to be true.
The questions of why men are pigeoned-holed in these ways are great questions to ask and ponder. Could it be that by doing so it enables us hide, lie and be irresponsible? That if we do not do this then we become transparent and cannot deny our responsibility, which at present is just too scary and seems too much?
Nicole, I am deeply touched by this blog. There is such a deep honouring of the natural, innate tenderness of your children and full support for their own unique expressions to be lived. To be met in this way, for who they are and not imposing what is expected of them and considered ‘normal’ by societies standards, is a priceless gift and reflection of Love, not only to your family, but to the world.
There is so much in our society that encourages the tough macho image that men and boys are expected to live up to. However, there is one change that I find very beautiful and that is that men are no longer considered ‘sissy’ if they care for and are very ‘hands on’ with babies and young children. In taking tender care of a young child they are able to express their own true tenderness.
I agree Mary, these days it’s not uncommon to see men at daycare centres or looking after young children. Like you say being more ‘hands on’.
There is this idea we have to protect our boys (and girls too) to fit in and thus prepare them by making them hard and tough ( like the saying ‘men don’t cry’) which is a pure lie, look at any baby and you will know there is such a strength in their fragility and awesomeness. And yes to ‘….we as women have to begin to live our own inner qualities of gentleness and tenderness, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and fragile, to reflect an openness that supports and allows men to begin to live theirs.’
Thank you Nicole, for opening up your life so that we may see and be inspired by you.
Thank you Nicole a very beautiful sharing. Our society is very lost when also women start to toughen up, and this is exactly what happened. Men are encouraged to obviously be ‘hard’ as in brave, tough and strong but I found women can sometimes be even harder in the way they push themselves, think negatively about themselves and compare. It is great to realise this is not our natural way for both genders and that to come out of that both are needed to change and claim their true tender nature.
A curious observation made recently is that men are the ones expressing themselves with openness, gentleness and warmth and women are the one who have become hard, task focussed and at times lacking in feeling. I’ve also found it easier to have conversations with men who are just being themselves, whereas women in a constant rush often find it difficult to just be Interesting to explore how this turn around happened.
Great observation Kehinde – I have found the same too. It is so gorgeous to talk with men when they are connected to this part of themselves, and I noticed too that there seems to be a rushing around and toughening up of the women too, maybe to do with the perception that that is what is needed to succeed in a ‘man’s world’….
Beautiful Nicole, loved it. I am not a boy anymore, but boy o boy do I love the path of returning to who I truly am, being caring, tender and feeling very loving. Striving to succeed, to cover up the striving to care, somebody once said to me. That was so true for me for a very long time, as is for many many men.
Nicole the whole concept of “boys will be boys” is really horrible both for the boys/men and the women/girls in the world. Take a recent example, a conversation at work was going on and two colleagues where speaking about the way their male partners had behaved. They advised that “boys will be boys” when the topic covered things they were hurt by, it was like a broad brush excuse as to why the men/boys where not being responsible and loving. Yet nothing about how the way these men acted was true/loving or indeed anything that constituted being in a relationship. To me this shows the importance women (and men) have to actually speak up and not accept “boys will be boys” and instead bring things back to “is that loving and honoring”?
Beautifully said MA. What comes to mind as well is that saying the casual “oh boys will be boys” does not ask us as women to look at why we are accepting such abusive behaviour. Instead it is taken as how men are naturally – which is not true and hides the true issue: our lack of feeling self-worth in life.
Well said MA and awesome example to bring. I have also heard this being said from some neighbours when their boys and male partners behaved in ways that are clearly not loving or acknowledging their gentle tender side. I even heard one mother say that her boy has to really toughen up, that it can’t be that he cries after a soccer match if he has not caught the ball (he used to be goal keeper) . As long as these ways of being are taught to the boys and as long as then the following behaviour to reflect this teaching gets brushed off, true expression in all that they are will be quite a challenge, especially without the loving support and reflection of others that have been able to reconnect to that side of themselves.
I like how you have shared Nicole that although despite the differences in your two sons – one wanting to play with Dolls and dresses and the other preferring to play with hammers and trucks (I personally loved both) they have the same affectionate qualities and both are naturally who they are.
This is the truth of it – just because we may prefer different expressions of who we are does not mean we don’t hold that gorgeous quality of tenderness and affection as well.
A beautiful sharing Nicole. In reading this, is it possible that we as women add to this picture of the tough man because if men truly are in their tenderness, it exposes when a woman is not – and we as women have long identified ourselves as the delicate ones when in fact we can be quiet hard in ourselves too. i watch my husband and a few other men I know who are so gorgeously tender in their movements and how they are and it is so inspiring to see but yes – sometimes I am asked to look at my own movements and it can feel uncomfortable if I resist the depth that I can also go too. So saying boys will be boys feels like a justification for the set-up we have long been part of – keeping men tough and women not wanting to go deeper.
First paragraph was like BOOM! Men Love it when we show our vulnerability, gentleness and sweetness. But when I am hard and being rough with myself I notice how my two sons and husband don’t feel safe to be fragile. I totally agree that a man expressing tenderly does ask us to drop our guards and surrender to our loveliness and doesn’t need to do anything, be recognized, impress anyone or tick boxes.
Aimee spot on, as Men we always notice when a women is not themselves and not in their vulnerability and that hurts us, it’s little wonder why so many men carry on being not who they are and whilst its no excuse it does show the real power that women have to inspire men back to the tenderness they are.
We all, both boys and girls, men and women are trapped in a false image of how we should behave and express in life and all images do not allow the true gender qualities to be lived in full. Only when we let go if these images, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, tender and delicate again, we will experience a complete different world, one that is about a quality of life and the importance of living this in full as this quality will eventually free us from the impositions we have put on ourselves and onto society.
Very beautiful article Nicole. I so agree that the catch phrase ‘Boys will be boys’ should be challenge and exposed for the cover-up and excuse that it is. Kathleen Baldwin and myself have written an article for a website that begins to explore this and we cite Ex-Police Commissioner Ken Lay , who last year called upon us as a society to consider that our lack of self-reflection and our collective complacency underlie gendered violence. It is the cultural beliefs and attitudes we have not addressed in ourselves that we unwittingly pass down to our children. Lines like, “Boys will be boys”; “What did the girl do to provoke him?”; “What were you thinking, going out dressed like that?”; “The girl was asking for it” – show the deck is stacked against women who often go to a default position of blaming themselves, deferring to these cultural attitudes – See more at: http://www.unimedliving.com/relationships/gender-equality/why-wait-let-s-discard-out-of-date-and-abusive-attitudes-about-gender-now.html#sthash.HwdG8ZuE.dpuf
This is one very awesome blog Nicole; thank you for writing what is so very important for all of us, both men and women, to hear. The expectations society has for men is massive and so very deleterious to, not only their well-being, but for the well-being of all those around them. To honour our little boys as the naturally tender beings that they are and to let go of the destructive belief that they are supposed to toughen up and close down their innate feelings as they grow, will open a long closed doorway to what a man truly is, and it is up to women to pave the way and be there to welcome them through it.
Very well said Nicole, it was a joy to read this wonderful blog – thank you.
ps: there is a great collection of free audio and quotes here: http://www.unimedliving.com/voice/audio-by-category/men-audio.html on what it is to be a true man.
Yes, very well said, Nicole and Nicola. As a man it is very confirming to read.
Nicole, I can feel you know how beautiful you are by the way you have expressed about the boys snd men in your life. This is so key for us as women. Understanding that our way of being either supports or negates the exquisitely tender and delicate essence we all derive from, genders aside, is fundamental if we are to return humanity back to the oneness of Love and true harmony. Thank you.
This is a great point Peta. The most powerful inspiration and support for a return to our true nature and true expression is offered by someone who is already living this for themselves.
So true, as when someone lives this way it will touch all and the offer of returning to this natural state of being, just by the expression of that livingness, is reflected to everyone around.
Until we collectively realise as a society that our greatest strength is found in our openness; our ability to be vulnerable and allow ourselves to feel and sense all that is there, we will keep endorsing an image of masculinity that serves to annihilate our expression of this. Deep down we are genderless. However the genders exist as a seeming polarity until we learn to balance both the energies of the maleness and femaleness, the movement and the stillness.
So true Liane, both these expressions are within us, the energy of stillness and motion. We cannot have one without the other if we are to know true harmony.
Yes, both are necessary in our daily lives, as one will support us in our activities and the other in our repose time, so that we can bring all of us to all we express.
Hugely important point Liane, the blend of male and femaleness is found in us all, but we get so wrapped up in the identity of being a man or a woman, and for men this results in a battle with ourselves as we struggle to balance our natural feminine qualities with the skewed masculine identity we feel is expected of us.
‘And if men stay in their hardness and protection, then it does not challenge us to step out of our own protections and hardness we have created over the years.’ So true, Nicole, and it works both ways, for if we don’t let go of our protection then it is harder for men to express their tenderness.
Nicole, you have put focus on something that definitely needs to be addressed. This label we have placed on our boys keeps us all in protection and anyone who has brought up boys will have been aware how sweet and sensitive they are, but when this is not encouraged or allowed the boys easily adopt the tough model – but at a price, for it requires them to shut down and deny their true nature. When I observe fathers with their children I can see how it brings out their tenderness and I’m sure that being a father has helped your husband to come back to this tenderness, plus of course being with you once you started to let go of your protection for we as mothers provide a huge reflection for the family.
Gorgeously highlighted and expressed Nicole you raise some gems here worth a decent ponder…On ‘boys will be boys’: “Are we just giving them a wide scope to be able to get away with behaviour we deem unacceptable for girls or young women, —– or is it that we do not want to allow them to be gentle and tender because then we would have to stop and see how far we have fallen from our own lived gentleness and tenderness?” Quite, i imagine in many cases, and also deeply sad so too especially when we’re on the receiving end of a man’s harshness, when deep down he is the entire opposite.
When women open their eyes to themselves and stop trying to behave like men, women and men then have the space and clarity to see that men are also deeply sensitive and precious. And when a man is met in his essence, he melts into who he is and can then bring this to the world.
I love the message of this blog highlighting how we have the opportunity to allow children to express in their own way without imposing our beliefs and ideals of how they should be. We have reduced what we are to fit into a very narrow label and container and it does not really serve ourselves or others.
Jenny you are spot on when you say ‘We have reduced what we are to fit into a very narrow label and container and it does not really serve ourselves or others’. We have voluntarily rolled ourselves in long lines of sausage meat and are queuing up to be made into chipolatas! What a truly gross reduction.
So beautifully said Nicole. There’s a trend around today to accept that Men might have more feelings than we think. But this is just a watered down version of the brutal hardness you out here. What I have found thanks to the Esoteric healing sessions I have had is the idea we have of boys and men is the exact opposite to how we naturally want to be. This is the most delicate, warm, affectionate, intimate and tactile human being you can see. I for one say yes to being and living that.
“Delicate, warm, affectionate, intimate and tactile”, yes please lets have more of that. Thank you Joseph for distinguishing between the trend which encourages men to express their emotions more openly and what is referred to here which is to actually express their gorgeous tender essence.
So many men walk around believing that they have to be tough. Just today I reminded a man I was talking to that men are actually as sensitive and delicate as women, but they think they have to portray an outer hardness. I could see the relief in his eyes when he heard my words. We need to help men release themselves from the self-made prison encouraged by society.
Beautiful Rebecca. I’ve seen both men and women melt when I remind them of their sweet and sensitive nature. People are crying out for the space to simply be themselves.
Absolutely Leonne… People are indeed crying out for the space to simply be themselves in this world that provides so many images and pictures it becomes confusing and complicated… when simply being ourselves is such a harmonious, loving and joyful way to be.
Yes Rebecca that is exactly what is needed. The relief that man showed proves both that the imposed toughness is not natural, and that if they are given permission men want to return and restore their natural sensitivity they knew so well as children.
It’s vitally important that we address how we raise boys because if they become shut down, tough, hardened and unable to connect to how they feel or to express that, it can then lead to all sorts of issues such as alcoholism, drug use, violence and being very uncaring with their body and health. Pressuring boys and men to not be themselves is a form of abuse which no doubt leads to other forms of abuse, if not in some cases suicide.
This is very beautiful in my body Nicole. Just recently I really got to feel the responsibility that I hold as a woman and moving in my own tenderness when around a teenager that I know, as this invisible support is far more powerful and potent, than any words that could be said. And even if that holding is not accepted at that time for whatever reason, it is out there, and can’t be taken back, so is forever lingering, waiting for the moment where it is realized and felt.
This is something that I reflected on today, that is how I am consistently with others especially young people and what do I reflect to them. In how I am does it allow another to honour or feel their own tenderness and delicateness whether a boy or a girl?
Julie what you have so eloquently expressed is becoming my understanding as well. For years I have attempted to ‘talk my way into’ the men in my life but an energetic practitioner pointed out that we communicate far more with our bodies than we do our words and I have since found that as I place more emphasis on the quality of the way that I move and touch people, rather than what I say then this has been far more effective.
This is beautiful Nicole seeing young boys and men share there innate tenderness is an inspiration for us all because it not only shows other men and boys that there is another way to be, but also reflects to women and young girls an opportunity to explore and honour their own innate sacredness and stillness. It really is a godsend for us all. Thank you for sharing.
Nicole, I love how you have highlighted that both boys have different ways to express their inner qualities, but those inner qualities are the same. This equally relates to us all. Thank you.
Yes, it is a good point to make sure we don’t pigeon hole anyone in their expression of who they are, while at the same time knowing that we are all the same inside.
Great call Nicole. Allowing boys to be who they are in expression and honouring their innate tenderness would have to be the best antidote to the alarming and rising suicide rates of young men in this and other countries. We need to drop the ideals and images that have been imposed on them
This shows us how much indeed we can close ourselves as parents from our own children by taking on these ideas how the should be or behave. Children love to be accepted by their parents so easily they will go in a role to please them. which puts barriers in true contact.
Nicole, thank you for sharing so beautifully expressed and so very honouring of boys and of men. And how amazing it is for your 2 boys to be growing up honouring who they truly are and allowing them to simply be without trying to put any ideals or expectations onto them about how they should be.
“Meanwhile there is a trapped little boy within,” This is an absolute gem of truth and wisdom that the world would benefit from as headline news. I can feel how many people it would bring to a point of humble agreement. The letting go of the push and hardness adopted as a way to live, would drop – at least for a few moments. What a powerful experience and blessing to the universe if we all feel this at the same time.
Yes I have had that experience when many years ago, sharing with Serge Benhayon something and the response was just that ““Meanwhile there is a trapped little boy within,” It stopped me in my tracks and made me reflect and from that day I saw and see men very differently now…
When men and boys express themselves it is very beautiful. It can be confronting when a boy honours his tenderness as it shows us how we have negated this in ourselves. I am deeply appreciative of men and boys who do allow themselves to express- it is very healing for all.
I agree Kristy – there is a strength in actually expressing tenderly or from an honesty that is often unappreciated in society but which is very beautiful to receive from another
” I am deeply appreciative of men and boys who do allow themselves to express- it is very healing for all.” – yes so true and deeply deeply needed!
I totally agree Karina. A man’s strength is in his sensitivity and openness.
The way you and your partner are raising your children, is supporting them to know who they are from the inside out and giving them permission to live that. What an amazing gift you are not only giving them but also to the world as we all want to live that.
I agree, your kids will be living reminders to all those that they meet that we all share the same known quality.
That is just the most gorgeous photograph. Thankyou also for sharing this article. I have a son who is the most tender and sensitive of people, aware of what is going in in the world around him, robust and resilient also. Even at his young age, he feels he needs to be tough and fit in, already worried about body image and popularity. Raising him with the awareness of the pressure that boys and men are under gives my son the opportunity to overcome these social and culture pressures that are gagging and ultimately killing men.
Love your sharing and we are in a similar situation as well – there has been hardening to what is felt yet not really toughening – and now it’s coming back to gentleness and more connectedness and it’s lovely to see and feel.
Mary, this indeed would be a great place to start begin some research, considering the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. And yes, maybe we could consider that it may not be so much to do with lifestyle choices, but with their energetic state of being which comes from the way men perceive themselves to be.
I think it would be fair to say that the current view of men and boys is quite evil. This notion that men don’t cry and that boys are role modelling this and in many cases encouraged to tough it out is destroying the sense of self that every person needs to appreciate within themselves. I would say it is confronting for most men if their boy wears dresses but isn’t that a fantastic marker for any man of how comfortable they are in their own skin, that they can support a son to just be who he wants to be.
So true Stephen, I agree and it is a huge marker for the man when he can gently and tenderly allow his son to explore his expression unfettered by any prejudices or fears. Your comment confirms to me how much pressure we put on our children to conform to a set of rules rather than to celebrate their inherent qualities and allow them to discover who they are.
These archaic rules don’t serve anyone and have never truly served anyone, the hardening and the suppression of what is truly felt is reflected in the immense number of mental and emotional illness resulting in medication to push it even further into the body – so much healing is required…
And what will support this healing is talking about the subject, getting it out into the open, and at the same time letting go of these rules that we have imposed on OURSELVES and allowing our children to just be who they are, because my feeling is that children innately know who they are, they just get waylaid by the pictures, ideal, beliefs and expectations of those around them when they are growing up.
Absolutely Stephen. Especially because it is hurt that leads a man to seek to harden and toughen up as they naturally would not do this in their essence. Hence thinking that a man crying as being wrong is contrary to allowing them to open up, heal their hurts and move and embrace more of their delicate tender essence.
Well said Joshua – and more so that in hardening and toughening up men hurt themselves far more than the rejection they may have initially felt.
Love your expression Stephen and it is for all of us truly fantastic when we all, boy or girl, man or woman, are feeling awesome in our skin, and bringing that to our livingness all of the time…
We live in a world where men are killed for wearing dresses and where whole towns ostracise families for having a gay son. Men are even victimised for being gentle let alone gay. There’s a lot of pressure on men and boys to be who they are not. I say this knowing that at the heart of every man is a gentle man.
We do men such a grave injustice through so many imposed ideals that prevent them from expressing their innate tenderness and joy. No wonder the suicide rates are so high, we leave them nowhere to go when we enforce them to enjoin a code of behaviour that can go so deeply against their grain.