Society is reeking with teen violence; racial, bullying, school shootings. Why now? What has changed? This topic hit me full force when I watched the video below on the way we are raising our children. Little boys are taught from a young age to “Man up,” “Don’t be a wimp,” “Toughen up,” “Don’t be a girl,” which translates to don’t express anger, don’t talk about feeling depressed, boys aren’t allowed to be sad, emotions are forbidden. Respect is often attributed to violence among peers who are usually taught from a father, or a father-type figure.
Can a boy still become a man when he has tears rolling down his eyes? YES. He becomes a man who is capable of expressing emotions and allowing his anger to be released. Anger that is held in and oppressed can bring about a foundation of bitterness and unfortunately an explosion of emotions that deems that child to having a conduct disorder instead of just feeling misunderstood.
Moms, Dads, Educators and individuals who directly care for little boys…. give the same amount of emotional confidence to those little boys as you do little girls. Stop pretending these tiny creatures should show no emotion. Affirm his anger, let him talk about it; tell him it’s ok to cry, comfort him. Be comfortable in your own emotions to share the anger, the pain, the hurt.
Maybe, the violence can be curtailed one little child at a time.
Is there power in touch? Can you force feelings through creating a physical connection with someone you’ve never met? Richard Renaldi, has a project “Touching Strangers” where he captures affection through strangers that have never met before. Most individuals profess and even exhibit with body language that he/she is at first uncomfortable with the intimacy. However, the photograph captures a beautiful and true display of warmth between two or three people who’ve never met.
Amazing that individuals can touch one another, physically and awkwardly at the beginning and somehow touch into emotions. Imagine if we touched with affection those who are important to us? Those who we mentor? Those children we are responsible for raising?
I often hear the complaint, “At that moment, I don’t want to (or don’t feel like) touching him/her,” whether that is a spouse, friend, or child. This photography project simply proves that emotions can and will follow actions. Reaching out and hugging, holding a hand, patting the back, can be awkward and difficult, but it can be far-reaching and facilitate extracting emotions that support that simple action; creating a foundation for connection, and a building block for developing a positive relationship. Imagine the possibilities between a parent and child…
Let us not miss an opportunity to reach out, touch physically and connect emotionally.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” HA! I know all too well from personal experience and the tears that stream down my young clients’ faces this is unfair, and a blatant lie. Words cut through self-esteem, confidence, and joy creating a feeling of worthlessness, under appreciation, and pain. Why? (The answer is a whole other topic.) But why not as parents or care takers of children and our younger generation, shower them with positive words, instead of insults and criticism? Create an environment for cultivating a beautiful little person on the inside and out. See this video about how words affect a simple beaker of rice….
What kind of child do you want the responsibility for? Beautiful and positive (the white rice), dark and dead (the black rice), or simply rotting? You have a key role in young people’s lives and in those lives which you come in contact with every day.
As a parent, an adult, and as a human being, I am challenged to cultivate the individuals I cross paths with; using words to grow and build up children, clients, family, and friends.