To raise a son
Once upon the time I was a boy. A boy that grew up with good role models and an amazing dad, to become a good man. A man that today is a father to a son that does everything he can to be a great role model. But before my son was born, there was my daughter. The girl that put her big heart in my hand and held her little hand around my heart forever. Since that day I have been carrying around a fear that is difficult to identify and handle. What dangers awaits her?
Then he came, the little happy boy who loves football, has a charm and an insidious smile that he shows whenever I get mad at him. And with him, a new fear was born. New thoughts started spinning. I have during my whole police career met boys. Boys and men that hurt others. Boys that often has problems with themselves but takes it out on others. Boys that I partly recognized myself in. The ones that had the aggressive attitude, macho-style that meant showing no weakness and tears. This experience, both private and work related got me thinking. How should I raise my son?
How will I manage to bring him into the adult world without letting him fall down in any trap that comes in his way. The feeling is not only based on experienced occasions or police related experiences but has basis in figures. The ones that commit sexual crimes are exclusively men. And the same goes for the ones that abuses and murder. Of those who commits suicide is two-thirds men. The ones who hurt or murder women are men, often someone they knew or have been in a relationship with. Women they claimed to love, gets killed by them.
Boys today have an increasingly skewed view of sex, they misuse porn and continue to educate themselves to a lesser extent. If you look at the huge problems we have today with drugs, the one who sells and earns from the addiction is usually a man. At the same time, the number who seek care for their misuse or mental health problems is almost always a woman. Only one in four of those who ask for help is men. The list can certainly go longer, but I think my point is clear. This is something we need to know about and work towards. The first step, as always, is to raise awareness of the problem and to turn our eyes inward, to begin with ourselves.
When I do, it honestly hurts a little, because how far have I come with my own view of masculinity, actually? I mourn, but hold it together. Tears stay in the chest. Nor do I reach out for help. I can handle it, right?
But at least I have started now. I dared to look in the mirror. This means that I no longer get annoyed at my son when he cries over the slightest difficulty. I have to start there, but the driving force is the same, the safety of the children. For no matter how different we as parents can be, there is one thing that unites us all, the love and the anxiety about our children. What we do is for their best, so is this self-examination. Because although my deepest and inner fears are to be found in the matter of my daughter's safety, it is the son's upbringing that the focus lays on. For the majority of dangers lurking around the corner for her will have a common denominator, the threat will be a man. Boys who are sons of other men and that is where the work must begin, with ourselves.