I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to be a father to a son.
I, and he, are some of the most privileged people on the planet: white males.
Avi is compassionate, goofy and smart. He is the love of my life, but I know I can’t forget that he could be the boy bullying a classmate, or catcalling a passing stranger, or so so so much worse…and that I must remember the same for myself.
I’ve struggled to put into words how best to express my wish for his future. Luckily Tova did it better than I could ever:
So as he sleeps his sweet toddler sleep in his warm, safe bed, I make him (and everyone he meets) a promise:
To give him space to be sad and scared, and not just commend his bravery and strength.
To encourage him to be courteous to all, rather than chivalrous toward women.
To teach him that men can be nurturing, warm, sensitive, beautiful, and vulnerable.
To explain that he has incredible privilege in this world, and he can use it to stand up for and empower others.
I will work hard to let him know that he can both wonder at the size of trucks and appreciate the beauty of flowers.
That being called “girly” is not an insult.
That he can come to me without fear when he makes mistakes.
That I will take time to listen to him, and to answer awkward questions honestly.
Avi, I promise I will do my absolute best to raise you to be someone who gives a damn. To not just believe in people and their stories, but to care.
And I promise to always give a damn, even if I don’t know how to put it into words.