With all the many hats I wear, the one I am most proud of is that of mom. My son is now a young adult and I admire the man he has become. So this morning when reading the comments Melania Trump said about Mr. Trump’s excuse for using foul language about sexual assault, I got angry.
When my son was playing his last year of Little League he was lucky enough to be part of a team that won the state championship and be part of the regional games which if won, would lead to the Little League World Series. The team was made up of 13 and 14 year old boys... without parents. Just the manager, 2 coaches and the team mom... me.
To say it was nuts those days is an understatement. Coupled with the fact that half of the team hated the manager and decided to throw the games. But that’s not even the worst thing that happened. The two ringleaders snuck out of the team housing late at night to go and drink at a local bar. I DID mention they were 14 right? So they were hungover the next day and juice boxes really don’t help hangovers. They bullied the other kids who didn’t want to throw the games so you would watch some kids trying to win and others blowing plays. The shining example of all this charming behavior is that one young man thought it would be funny to masturbate on another player’s (who they thought was gay) toothbrush and leave his semen on it.
The commissioner of our league was called as there were serious problems going on. Her exact words? “You’re making a big deal of this... Boys will be Boys”
Boys will be Boys is when kids are roughhousing and break a lamp. Boys will be Boys is when the entire team comes over and cleans out your refrigerator AND cupboards. Boys will be Boys when your son and his best friends are watching South Park and laughing way too loud.
By deflecting the blame when a boy does something truly offensive, you are only setting that person up to do worse. You are giving them free rein to do whatever they want with, “Hey I have no control over my chromosomes.” You are giving them excuses, just like his wife and supporters are doing.
Now in this very important presidential election, I am hearing the same thing. Except the ballplayers were 14 and the nominee was 59.
What do you say to the parents who are trying to raise their sons to respect women and treat them with dignity?
Boys can be boys. Be a man.