Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Open Letter to Pacifist Boys

Post #194:  High-five a pacifist boy.

Dear Pacifist Boys,

You know who you are, because right now you might feel like you don't fit in.  You just don't understand when your teacher tells you that in order to stop the bullying, you have to learn to stand up for yourself.....when simply walking away seems to always make things better.  You can't quite grasp what your soccer coach means when he tells you, You better man up, boy.  You better let 'em have it. 

You just want to get the ball in the goal. 

When the big neighborhood kids tell you that it's time you stop acting like a sissy, that you throw like a girl.  You've seen your cousin, Abby throw, and boy, would you love to throw like that.

You know who you are.

Every time a big kid kicks you off the swing and you simply move on to the slide (but not without first telling him calmly how unkind that was)...

Every time your brother pulls your hair and you just laugh it off...

Every time you feel completely and utterly uncomfortable when your friends use words like  kill!   burn!   stab!  during playtime...

Every time you walk over to that kid who fits in even less than you do, just to say hi, because no one else will...

They are watching.  The teacher, the bully, the kid who took your swing, your brother, the big neighborhood kids, your friends.  And unbeknown to you, you are slowly altering the framework of their norm.  You are slowly revealing to them a different approach to the world.  You are showing them that it is possible for a boy to perhaps, not be phased enough by conflict to want to confront it with more conflict.  That in the grand scheme of things, the swing wasn't all that important.  That the boy who so aggressively demanded it probably needed it way more than you do.  You are showing all those people around you that maybe there is another way.

And what you don't even realize, is that all those people in the background you don't even notice - all the other kids on the playground, and in your class, those other teachers, and members of your family - they are also watching.  Some are even affirmed because they too have been secretly wondering if there was a better way.  Because of you, one day they may even feel strong enough to also walk away.  Boys like you grow up to be engaged and loving fathers, respectful partners, fair and compassionate human beings.  Sometimes boys like you even grow up to become men like Mahatma Gandhi.   Martin Luther King, Jr.   The Dalai Lama.  Nelson Mandela.  

Pacifist boys, I hope you resist the pressure to change yourself, before you have a chance to change the world.  Because now more than ever, the world needs boys like you. 

The rest of the world, whose very fate depends on boys like you.

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