Fathers, Please Let Your Sons Grow Up To Be Gentle

(June 14, 2018) With Father’s Day upon us, I would like to make a plea to the fathers of boys. Let them be gentle. I know the natural inclination is to want them to be tough and commanding, but if they have a gentle soul, let them be gentle. It’s no less masculine. In fact, it’s probably even more so. The ideal gentleman is literally that – a gentle man.

Selfie lessons. He’s a natural.

My dad is a gentle guy. He’s almost 89 now, so you know he didn’t grow up in a generation that encouraged gentleness in boys. He grew up like all boys in his small farm town – working hard in the fields, playing sports at school, and talking about sports around the clock. But, he always retained his gentle soul because he had parents who nurtured it.

I don’t remember my paternal grandparents. They died when I was a baby. From what I hear, my grandpa was a gentle guy, too, and my grandma was a FORCE OF NATURE. Grandma probably didn’t fully understand this quiet, gentle soul she had created, but she encouraged him to be just who he was. And, my grandpa did, too.

On my first day of kindergarten.

If you have a son, let them be who there are, not who you are, not who their moms are, not who their siblings are. If they’re gentle, let them be gentle. It doesn’t take away from any other aspect of their being. They can be sports stars and leaders and still be gentle. Most importantly, you’re raising them to be good human beings and potentially good husbands and fathers. My dad has always been the gentle spirit I needed in my life. I don’t know what I would have done without that presence.

It’s easy for parents of boys to push them towards “manly” activities like sports. My dad loves sports. LOVES. “Gentle” and “sports” aren’t mutually exclusive. He played on his high school basketball team, and was an asset as a gentle person. He was the quiet, calm presence on the court, keeping the wild ones out of foul trouble and in one case jumping on the back of one of his teammates who was twice as big as dad to try to pull him away from a fight. Dad did not succeed. Hahahaha.

I bought him a brick at his beloved Busch Stadium.

My dad is one of the best people to ever walk the earth. He is a perfect husband and father. If you want your son to grow up to be a quality human being, believe me, there is no better person to emulate than my dad. Let them be gentle.

Thank you, grandpa and grandma, for encouraging my dad to be who he is and for nurturing his gentle soul. Thank you for him.

My dad with his big brothers as his brothers were getting ready to fight in WWII.

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