I’ve had a number of articles published lately, but none have gained the traction that this one has (it quickly became a “featured article” in Elephant Journal). I believe that’s because the topic is exceptionally relevant. It’s time for men to hear how much they – and their happiness – matter.
I had a heart-to-heart with my 12-year-old son yesterday.
And believe me when I say that it was a coup d’état. He’s not the emotional type. He’s very strategic, extremely focused, and remarkably driven. He doesn’t wallow, and frankly, doesn’t have patience for kids who do.
But he’s also human—and I could tell that things were brewing. And because I am deeply committed to raising my two sons with a full bandwidth of emotional intelligence, I gently, without prodding, asked him some questions.
And believe it or not, he responded.
He talked, I listened. I didn’t push back, I didn’t point out the things most parents would point out. I just held a safe space for him to be real, without judgment. He talked about what’s been tough for him with his buddies, on the sports field, at home.
He opened up about which kids were doing what, although never in a way that betrayed them (which, I have to admit, made me super proud of who he is). He told me how the bad times seem to last in his memory, while the good times quickly fade away.
It was one of my favorite moments of the year thus far. Not only did I get to see the deeper layers of what’s going on behind his beautiful eyes, I also paved the way for more of these moments.
Just as importantly, it reassured me that I’m helping him become a man who can communicate his emotions (read more…)