It seems you grow taller by the day.
I have no more babies.
Your personality, style, and sense of humor are evolving.
You’re making friends and learning to be one.
You’re refining your interests –
sports, clubs, the arts…
You’ve hit that age
when we can no longer
hide the world from you, nor you from it.
The turning point comes suddenly.
No more scripting, hovering, or follow up.
You’re officially a young man.
You face your own monsters now.
Make your own choices.
And live with them.
As your parents,
we want this for you.
We want you to dream, work, plan, partner,
and use every good thing you are
to create a life worth loving.
We want you to be successful and happy and independent.
But I have to be honest.
As your mother,
I want more.
In this world where women and girls
still struggle for equal regard and opportunity,
I want your help…
and your commitment.
I want you to use your maleness
to create safe spaces for women and girls.
I want you to be the voice of reason when we’re treated unreasonably,
and the hand of friendship when a friend is hard to find.
If you hear other boys laugh about violating girls,
I want you to refuse to play along.
I want you to remove yourself from not only the situation,
but also from people who get their joy from others’ pain.
I want you to be the one.
The brave one who stands up.
The honorable one who protects and respects.
The kind one who remembers – when it matters most –
his sisters and mothers and grandmothers and aunts
who may have taught him well,
but who loved him even more.
I want you to be that one.
Because if a man is only as good
as the good he does,
he is made better by the good he IS.
Be the one, Son.
Not just for me.
For all of us.
Tara Jaye Frank is CEO of TJF Career Modeling, Corporate Culture Advisor for Hallmark Cards, Inc., and the author of Say Yes: A Woman’s Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose, written to help women from all cultural backgrounds chart a career course they can believe in and achieve. Tara consults and speaks on women’s leadership and diversity and inclusion. Follow her on Twitter @tarajfrank, Instagram @tarajayefrank, Facebook at Facebook/tarajayefrank, or visit her at tarajayefrank.com.