Theodore Roosevelt once said, “A healthy-minded boy should feel hearty contempt for the coward and even more hearty indignation for the boy who bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals…” Strong words from a strong man for boys.
It all starts on the playground. Boys treating girls disrespectfully is nothing new, however the new trend is that boys are treating girls as lesser boys, and it’s causing larger social problems. It starts as teasing and harassing on the playground and ends up in failed marriages and broken homes. Call it old-fashioned, but boys should treat girls BETTER than the guys.
Instead, boys bully girls, and the girls learn their own manipulative ways to fight back and against each other. (Certainly, girls are not without blame, for in many ways they perpetuate the problem, but that’s a whole other article.)
Girls were made to be different than boys, and it’s a wonderful thing which should be celebrated. Any attempts by a girl to be a boy typically winds up a mess, to say the least. Boys tend to push, wrestle, hit, and make fun of their best guy friends. And they say dumb — sometimes brutal — things to each other, and they tend to get over it pretty quickly. This behavior does not fly well with most girls, beside the fact that it’s just not appropriate in any way. What hatches in elementary school, grows fast in middle school, and is full-grown in high school — the battle of the sexes.
So, yes, boys should treat girls differently. They can and should be friends, but the nature of the friendship must be different than with the guys. There needs to be a much higher level of care and respect. The words and actions in the locker room should be different than in the company of girls because there IS a difference.
In past generations, most dads taught their sons these values. Of course, “the good old days” were not always so good. There were plenty of abusive, chauvinistic jerks out there. But the social norm in the early 20th century was more like Leave it to Beaver or The Brady Bunch than The Family Guy or Friends. In fact, two of the longest-running, most-popular shows in television history are The Simpsons and Married With Children, both of which succeeded to a great extent in lowering the bar of social norms in the 80’s and 90’s. As a society, we laughed, and it made us feel better about being self-centered and disrespectful.
Contrast that with the biblical mandate in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
If that’s not a compelling reason, try this. Here’s a little secret for all the boys who are interested in getting the attention of the girls. The way to become popular with the girls is to be genuinely funny, respectful, hardworking, and protective.
Here is how a good man treats women:
• He never says anything negative about a girl’s appearance. Ever.
• He never hits girls. Ever.
• He is polite to girls. No cut-downs, no cussing, and no sexual comments.
• He apologizes to girls, far more often than he thinks is necessary.
• He encourages and affirms girls, especially his wife. Affirmed women will gladly return the favor.
• He protect girls. He does not allow other boys to be crude around girls, to hit, to mock, or to put down girls. Boys should take pride in being the protective big brother of the girls, and the girls will love it.
Eventually, boys will date and marry and have children. All along the way, boys should treat girls with a higher level of concern and gentleness. If they do, they will reap the rewards of respect and love for a lifetime from the women in their lives.