All it takes is a simple click of a button to turn on the TV, and within seconds you could probably find coverage of the disgusting comments about women that have come from a person who could potentially be the next president of the United States. In an effort to protect his children from thinking that these horrifying statements about women are acceptable, a father from Michigan wrote a letter to his sons about what it means to "be a man" — and it's powerful.
Derek Steele addressed his 7-year-old son, Caleb, and 4-year-old son, Ethan, on Facebook, writing that although they're too young to understand what's going on politically right now, they need to understand what it means to be a man.
"Men do not, at times, talk like that," he wrote. "Sure some individuals with an X and Y chromosome like you may say something like that, but we do not call them Men. We call them perverts, abusers, or rapists — not Men. Real Men don't do that and wouldn't even think to say that. You will hear a lot of people tell you what Men do or what it takes to 'be a Man'. The vast majority of it will be total garbage. If you want to be a Man, forget about masochism or sexual conquest. Being a Man is not about that."
Derek proceeded to paint a picture of what it really means to be a man:
It's about protecting those around you who are weak or innocent — maybe a child being bullied or your own children. It's being awake at all hours of the night to warm a bottle, change a diaper, change the sheets on a wet bed or even worse. Men get puked on, pooped on, bled on and cried on. It's about being open with someone, vulnerable and accountable. It's admitting your mistakes and failures — in all its ugliness — and seeking forgiveness, over and over and over again. Real Men play dress up and enjoy tea parties and will make a complete fool out of themselves just to hear a child laugh. They cry, even weep, when the situation calls for it. They respect, honor and cherish women because all of them are human.
If you are looking for the right way to talk to your children about this sensitive issue, Derek's words are a great start. Derek finished his letter by explaining that being a man is the "hardest work you'll ever do" but encouraged them to speak up and be angry if anyone tries to excuse terrible behavior by saying it's a manly thing to do. "Don't let them define you down by their conduct," he said. "In short — be a Man."