If our boys are in trouble, our society is in trouble.
It’s hard to be what you can’t see.
If a young man has not seen what a healthy relationship looks like, then it’s gonna really be hard for them to live that out.
We have a lot of young men that have dealt with trauma, especially the population that I serve and the population that I teach. There are a lot of young men that have not been exposed to opportunities to be able to learn how to process feelings, how to process emotions.
When I’m angry, how do I resolve conflict? How do I approach problems? If I’m dealing with a challenge, how do I push through that challenge? Do I quit? Do I run away?
I think the most important lesson that we can teach our young men is what battles are worth fighting — and what battles are not worth fighting, and how to fight the right way. It’s about actually being able to take what we’re feeling, and to be able to resolve it in a healthy way.
Life is not always gonna deal you a good hand. In life, being a good man means being able to take a bad hand that’s been dealt to you and still deal it well.
I have a young man that I’ve mentored who lost his father. His grandmother has been the only really consistent person in his life. I remember him coming to me telling me, “Mr. Tyler, I can’t read. Mr. Tyler, I can’t do this.” And throughout the entire school year, I consistently stayed with him, encouraged him, pushed him. I challenged him. There were times he would cry through assignments, and I would say:
“You know what? It’s okay to cry.
It’s okay to let it out, but you are not going to give up because I’m not gonna let you.
You can do this.”
This student went from failing to actually becoming an honor roll student. Each day he would run to me and give me a hug, and he looked for that every single day because this was something that he was not accustomed to getting from another male in a healthy way.
I think of that as what I would call a victory story. And to this day, I still have a great relationship with that young man.
I believe that I have a responsibility to really set a good example and teach them what it means to not only just be a man, but to be a good man.
Third Grade Teacher, Charles County Public Schools
White Plains, Maryland