The definition of tenderness is: soft and delicate, not hard or tough.
This definition by default is the exact antonym to patriarchy. By exact contrast the definition of patriarchy is: a social system in which males hold primary power in the domain of the family, fathers or father figures hold authority over women and children.
I now ask myself if this is exactly what we are teaching our boys, who will become men, husbands, or partners and even fathers. Are we teaching them to become the figure that holds authority over women and children?
If that's what is being taught or if that's the example that we are giving to our male and female children alike then we have made no progress at all.
In my personal experience of divorce, I noticed that in the end we were talking two different languages although in our conversations we ended up always using the language of war.
Ten years later and raising a teenage boy I now understand that at times the blueprint of his father's upbringing spurs up in his conversations, and unconsciously in mine too.
I realized that in raising my children I made the conscious choice of raising them as strong and enterprising individuals, with deeply rooted values and with an unrelenting thirst for living their true purpose in life.
I have to say that my experience with divorce but even more with raising my children on my own has given me the ability to look at life through their eyes too and what I found is that they are much more forgiving of their parents mistakes than we are.
It is in this young wisdom that I am setting my best foot forward and introduce tenderness in handling difficult situations or uncomfortable moments. Letting my son get in touch with the seed of tenderness that is in him. We expect men to show off their muscles yet we are not allowing them to rediscover that soft and delicate nature that is in them.
This gender separation and perception starts very early in a child's life -- dolls for girls and cars or toy weapons for boys. It seems ridiculous to think that if we were to give a doll to a boy we may dent his future virility.
It's not too late to teach them and help them save their inner relationship. That's where it all begins with the inner conversation that a man has with himself.
To my son I would say "You don't have to prove that you are stronger or have more power, cause your strength lies in your inner tenderness."