Boys Need Men

My husband is home for school holidays. Lucky, I know. The other day, after taking Tom to the pools, my husband decided to introduce Tom to Toy Story. They sat on the floor – Tom in Dad’s lap. Suddenly, Tom reached up and kissed him on the cheek. I gave a little giggle and Steve turned to tell me that he was given a few random kisses at the pool too.

This was Tom’s first time at a public pool. It is only open during the summer and there are no swimming lessons throughout the year. So he is not water savvy at all. We have a lot of work to do when we move. I’ve seen him fear water and friend’s pools. Kicking and screaming, he would not go in.

Within 45 minutes of being there, Steve sent me this:

Tom in the pool


My heart soared to see him so happy. Fearless to a degree, with his Dad by his side. I later found out he had taught him to blow bubbles and touch the bottom of the pool with his hands. They had even worked on floating. A major accomplishment for him.

He’s been following his Dad around all holidays…walking his walk, talking his talk. Going to him for comfort, fun, bravery.

Have you heard the song Deeper Water by Paul Kelly?

Now a man comes up from amongst the throng
Takes the young boy’s hand and his hand is strong
And the child feels safe, yeah the child feels brave
As he’s carried in those arms up and over the waves

This is it to me. Boys need men. It feels like it’s politically incorrect to say . But it shouldn’t be. My boys are lucky to have their Dad as their base (and best) male role model, but it doesn’t need to be that way if the Dad is not around. They just need good, male role models in their life.

There’s a lot of talk about the fact that we are bringing up a gender neutral society. I think that’s extreme of course. But I wonder sometimes, in our absolute push to say boys can do anything girls can and girls can do anything boys can…both, I must stress are ABSOLUTELY true. Have we forgotten that boys can be different to girls? Are we so over consumed about making sure they know that they can ‘be whatever they like’ that we’re missing the point?

What if they can’t help getting a little macho sometimes? What if they find it difficult to show affection, despite being told their whole life that it’s ok to? What if articulating their feelings is something they simply are not good at? These are generalisations about men I hear you say! And of course they are. But take one person. One boy. And he might be like this. And he doesn’t need to be told “Not all men are like this. You can work on being better at all those things”. No.

He needs someone to take his hand. He needs a man he can relate to and he needs to feel safe and brave. He needs to be carried in those arms up and over the waves so he can learn to be the best man he can be with the best support he has. He needs understanding, and in this instance, he will get it from that important man/men in his life. And he might always find those personality traits difficult, but he will work on them like I try to work on weaknesses in my own personality which are mixture of my hormonally, genetically, culturally wired self.

We are always trying to better ourselves. It’s human nature. And we all need members of the same sex in our life. I need women in my life. Strong women. Role models. Best friends. My mum. Boys need men just as much as girls need women. And those men and women have one heck of a responsibility don’t you think?

Lesson number one: Boys can give their Dads kisses. Always.

Tom and Steve

How important do you think it is for boys to have role model men in their life?

2 thoughts on “Boys Need Men

  • I think boys need positive role models in general. I know same sex couples where one adult is great at diy and many things we think of as stereotypically male and the little boys really love spending time with her and really look up to her. I think it’s great to have all different positive role models, ages, genders, occupations the more the better! I agree though that great dads are awesome!

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