I Will Shape My Sons’ Understanding of “Women”

Noelle Elliott Boys

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A few weeks ago I told my four sons we were going downtown to march.  

I packed the posters I’d made the night before into the back of my SUV and, on Saturday morning, I woke up before sunrise and got my workout in, finished a bibliography that was due for graduate school and made pancakes for breakfast.

My husband took our middle son to a birthday party and gave me a kiss and said “I'm proud of you” as I loaded the other boys and headed downtown.  My youngest son thought we were going to a parade and as we approached, he declared it a pink parade with, in his words, “a lot of mommies.” My nine-year-old son was proud of the sign he was holding with a silhouette of princess Leia on it and my thirteen-year-old son wanted to hide.

I was raised by Republican parents who loved Ronald Reagan and are both generous and progressive people. Of their three children, I am the only one that has gone to the left side.

It has given me an interesting perspective on politics: I can't generalise a group of Republicans because the people I love most are just that. Sure, we disagree on many things, but one thing we can agree on is showing love instead of hate towards our fellow humans.

Say what you will about Donald Trump, but what I know is that he is the opposite of what I hope my young boys to grow up to be. But, they will figure that out on their own. What matters most to me is this tremendous opportunity I have to be the closest and first idea of what a woman is to four young boys. I'm it. I'm the woman that will form their ideas about what a woman does and what she is capable of.

My actions speak far louder than words ever could. What matters to me is they see a woman who fights for what she wants. A woman who goes back to school at the age of 39 because she wants to advance in her career. A woman who supports other women and does not tear them down. A woman who supports men and does not tear them down. A woman who can simultaneously have everything she wants. A woman who loves not only them, but others as well, fiercely and isn't ashamed to show it.

What matters to me isn't that they think like me, it's that they form their own opinions and follow their guts and do what is right—and I'm giving them the tools to do just that by example.

My boys see that their father and I are a team. We respect each other. But more importantly, we respect other people. And someday when they meet their significant other, whether that is a man or woman, we hope they will be lucky enough to find a soul mate.

What matters most to me, is that I'm raising gentleman to be free thinkers and to see all sides of a topic before forming an opinion.

I couldn't have been more proud of them as we marched alongside our mayor and several friends that day. They asked what different signs meant. They asked if I hated Donald Trump. But the best part was that they were curious, and it opened a dialogue that otherwise would have felt forced.  

I explained that I don't hate anyone. That every single person deserves love and respect, even if I don't share the same opinions as they do. I love my parents. I love my in-laws and my father-in-law who was an Army Colonel and fought for our freedom. I love my siblings, even though they don't agree with me. Nothing will or can change that. But I'm also not afraid to be the pink sheep in the family. More importantly, I can't sit back and let things happen that I believe are unjust. What matters to me is that they see that if you really want to change something, you have to work hard and not expect someone else to do it.

And at the end of the day, my family still loves me. Just as I will love them.

When we returned home, I couldn’t find the posters that we had made and was disappointed that we had left them at the March. Later that day, I saw that each of them had displayed their poster in their room.

Strong young gentleman in the making.

One poster read Love Trumps Hate, the other read, A Woman's Place is In the ReSistance and the last said Rise Up.

What matters most to me, is raising young men who will remember those exact things.  


About the Author

Noelle Elliott

Noelle is the mother of four boys and wife of one. She lives in the Midwest where she works as a publicist. She is a contributing writer for Family and Sassy magazines and has been featured in various print and on several websites including Elephant Journal, Erma Bombeck and Tabata Times. She is the creator of the successful staged show, The Mamalogue and author at where she writes about her lofty mission to raise the next generation of gentleman.

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2017 | February's theme – What matters most to you?
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