Boys Don’t Need Tough Love

THE male wound is…”tough love”:

“I love you, therefore, I withdraw from you, so that you become a man.”

“I love you, therefore I test you, so that you prove you are a man”.

This presents itself in money-making/job-succeeding especially.

And here’s the actual truth: It is not love to withdraw from a boy – nor a man. It is emotional abandonment and emotional violence.

It is entirely different to allow a boy to venture out, to discover and to invent himself.

That is something a boy does in his own time and WITH his father’s positive reinforcement and loving trust.

A loved boy senses his father’s presence always with him as a benevolent force, protective, emotionally generous and endlessly kind.

A father not only does not require proof, but he never even implies that his son’s worth or masculine identity are ever in question.

He is the presence that presents the world as safe and available for the son to explore within.

A loving father never scares, tests or throws his son into the deep.

There is no “sink or swim” lessons that he needs to “teach” him, because most of all, the father shows his son that he is not meant to do life all by himself.

He does not teach him that suffering and struggling is heroic (it’s actually impossible, unnecessary, lonely and isolating) and that cruelty and toughness does makes a man.

Instead he teaches him that accepting and asking for help is connecting, and that living is to be with and for others, not above and not away.