In light of Women’s Day a few days ago, I decided to write a letter to my boys about women and how to treat them. As I got into writing it, I realized that I would need to wait until they are a little older to give it to them, but I felt compelled to share it with all of you. Here it is:
To my precious boys,
You are being raised in a house full of testosterone and boy energy with just me, your mom, as the only girl in the home. I want to take a moment to write to you about women. I really want to take some time to share my heart with you as a woman and as your mom. Women are different than men as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, but, my sons, but we are absolutely equal in value and dignity. Women are beautiful, resilient, and brave creatures. And women have as much dedication, skill and will as men.
As you know from the women in your life, we are very strong. However, women constantly fight an uphill battle of being treated as lesser than. In order for women to succeed in the workplace, we have to prove ourselves and often times work harder than men. In general, women are paid less than males and women bosses have to fight against strong stereotypes like being called “ice-queens”. Many girls and women all over the world don’t have the privilege of obtaining an education. As a result, they are left with much fewer options for their lives. I hope that by the time you read this, we will have made much progress, but as it stands 20-30 million people (80% of whom are female) end up being trafficked as a result of corruption, poverty, and oppression. As you can see, women and girls are vulnerable at times, and as a result, you will need to stand up for them. Your privilege is a responsibility, my boys.
Look out for your friends who are girls, as men can take advantage of them. Care for them and help them if the need calls for it. Walk them to their cars when it’s dark and keep an eye out for them.
Our culture makes women into objects to be consumed. However, women are made in the image of God, and are to be respected and honored, not consumed.
Men will rate women based on how pretty they are or even on what they bodies look like, trying to place value on them according to their looks. This is wrong. It belittles us and tells us that our value comes only from our appearance. In addition, magazines and advertisers highlight women who are “pretty” and who have “nice bodies” and as a result, the strong subversive message constantly played is that we should be quiet and beautiful, rather than wise and strong. Our culture places so much value on appearance, but remember that beauty is not only what we see when we look at someone, but it is also who we are on the inside. Many pretty people are ugly inside- don’t be fooled.
When you are looking for a girl to date or eventually, a woman to marry, remember these things. Outer beauty is fleeting. What will last is character. When you do date a girl, treat her with respect. Open doors for her- this is not insulting or demeaning, it’s honoring. Bring her flowers. Take interest in what she is interested in. Look her in the eye when is speaking. Listen to her and take her seriously. Know that her body is her own, and it’s not yours to do with what you want.
Eventually if you marry a woman, you will have to work hard at staying close. You will have to work on communicating and you will die to yourself again and again, as will she. Marriage is hard work, but it’s also a beautiful gift. Your wife can be your best friend. Treat her like it. Treat her like you want to be treated and she will respect you. Put her needs before yours and show her that you care about her whole self. Remind your wife that she is beautiful. You will need to do this on the regular because our culture is constantly screaming that she is not enough as she is, just like the culture will tell you that you are only as good as your accomplishments, and what kind of job you have.
My boys, I know that you already respect women and understand that God values us every bit as much as you. You’ve been raised in a church and a home that honors and empowers women. You have incredible examples of men in your life who respect women and have modeled that to you, but I want you to hear my heart as your mom and as a woman. We have come a really long way, but we have much farther to go in order to be treated equally in dignity, value, and opportunity. We are different from men and that’s a good thing. It’s absolutely possible to recognize and appreciate differences between men and women and yet value and honor them equally. Boys, you are incredible and I know you will become men who respect women, protect them and treat them with honor. You make me proud every day. I am eternally grateful to be your mom.
Love you forever and ever,