Category Archives: Boys

Should Women Mentor Boys?

women mentor boys

Recently, I was talking with a male friend who has a high profile position about mentoring and I was pleasantly surprised when he shared that his mentor is a woman. Our conversation led me to think about the numerous young men I have informally mentored throughout the years. I never considered myself a mentor simply because I did not attach a title to our interactions. They would simply reach out to me from time to time to brainstorm or share ideas. What they shared with me helped me to better understand their experiences as young men.When I look back on the mentors who have influenced me, I can count men and women who have shared insight and offered a balanced view of life. My interpersonal and leadership skills were shaped by men and women who mentored me. My mentoring relationships impacted how I viewed myself as a woman as well as how I interacted and engaged with men in my personal and professional life.

Which leads to my question, “Should women mentor boys?” I want to be clear that I am not asking “Can women mentor boys?” because I believe that is a different conversation. When we look at most formal mentoring relationships, they are developed to provide boys and young men an advisor, a teacher to offer support and provide guidance. I am not advocating for dismissing male mentors. I do however believe that cross-gender mentoring can add tremendous value to a boy’s life. This is not about assigning stereotypical roles to men and women but exploring gender specific experiences.

With 80% of single parent households headed by a single mom (According to 2013 US Census), having a male figure in a boy’s life demonstrates the need for male mentoring programs. A male role model in a boy’s life is crucial to his emotional, mental and social and professional development. Clearly, having someone of the same gender who understands some of the daily challenges you face is important, but they also need more. If we are preparing children a for a 21st century world, they need a village of mentors to help them become better leaders in our globalized society. Ideally, having mentoring relationships which are cross-cultural, cross-race and cross-gender expands a boy’s perspective and gives him a better understanding of the world.

Our 21st century kids need a village of men and women to guide them through their personal and professional development. A well-rounded global citizen can not be shaped without the supportive environment of diverse people. Mentoring cultivates a network where boys have accountability partners that cheer their successes as well as challenge their behaviors and actions when they are working against their personal and professional goals. If the goal of mentoring is to guide, support and encourage a mentee to be their best, wouldn’t he have more to gain if he had men and women mentors who can help him with his learning and growth.

Another reason why women should mentor boys is that boys gain insight into women’s roles in leadership. How do we raise men who will support women in the workplace, if they don’t have first hand understanding of the barriers women in leadership face? If we ask, “Can a woman teach a boy how to be a man, isn’t it fair to ask can a man teach boys about a woman’s personal and professional experiences.

We can not expect to raise men who will advocate for women (or vice versa) if we do not give them the opportunity to learn from women in leadership. Leadership development is not confined to gender. I believe that same gender mentoring relationships give boys a solid foundation for manhood, but having a woman as a mentor gives him insight into diverse issues.

Repost from The Good Men Project.com

Preventing Summer Learning Loss- 7 Week Series

RGM Summer Learning

Join me for a 7 Week series on “Preventing Summer Learning Loss”! Summer is a wonderful opportunity to help your son get ahead of the curve. As much as we want our sons to relax and take it easy, it’s imperative that we provide them with enriching experiences and learning adventures.

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging that parents read to their infants.

To participate, sign up for my newsletter to stay updated on interviews on Google Plus,  Twitter chats and Blog Talk Radio.

According to the National Summer Learning Association:

  • All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).

  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains (Cooper, 1996).

  • More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).

  • Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break (Von Hippel et al, 2007).

  • Parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do (Duffett et al, 2004).

Here are a few resources to get you started for a summer of learning:

PowerMyLearning.org helps you find and use thousands of F.REE games, videos, and interactives in all major K-12 subjects and aligned to the Common Core.

I’ve asked Dr. Kwame Brown of Move Theory FUNction Community to share a brain game with my community. Here’s his game of the month: Slingshot which teaches physics and gets kids moving!

Also if you’re looking for something to do with your son, check out Michael’s Craft Stores: Passport to Imagination. They have 2 hour classes from 10:00am to 12:00pm for $2.00 each class. Classes are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until August 1st.

Also, Groupon has great deals on books and other resources your son will love:
Sesame Street ABCs and 123s Elmo and Friends Bus– $16.99  (74% discount)

  • Sturdy board books
  • Twelve books about the alphabet
  • Four books about numbers 1–10
  • Favorite Sesame Street characters
  • Bus display case

Mighty Machines Children’s 10-Book Bundle-$15.99   (73% discount)

  • Ambulance
  • Bulldozers
  • Diggers
  • Fire Trucks
  • Loaders
  • Monster Trucks
  • Police Cars
  • Tractors and Farm Vehicles
  • Trains
  • Trucks

50 Comic Book Bundle with Collectible Cards– $39.99   (84% discount)

  • 50 comic books, randomly chosen
  • 10 sealed non-sport packs of collectible cards
  • 9 loose non-sport collectible cards

J. R. R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit 4-Book Boxed Set– $14.99  (58% discount)

  • The Hobbit
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Anime Studio Debut 10-$24.99 (50% discount)

  • Animation software
  • Create comic books or animated scenes
  • Ample tutorials cover multiple functions
  • Built-in characters and scenarios to get users started
  • Enhanced drawing tools
  • Compatible with Mac and PC

Kids’ 4-Book Doodle Bundle-16.99  (57% discount)

This set of activity books invites children to explore ancient worlds, ghoulish beasts, and life on the road. Armed with colored pencils, markers, and pure imagination, they can create funny or creepy creatures within the Monster Doodles book, or draw a cheeseburger in every T-rex’s mouth in Dinosaur Doodles.

  • Dinosaur Doodles for Kids
  • Monster Doodles for Kids
  • Superhero Doodles for Kids
  • Travel Doodles for Kids

Preschool Prep 10-DVD Collection– $39.99  (69% discount)

Preschool Prep’s DVDs captivate children with educational material that’s garnered more than 25 awards. By anthropomorphizing numbers, letters, and colors, the DVDs help children aged 9 months to 7 years easily recognize the characters and understand their functions. Advanced lessons in phonics and sight words deepen a budding reader’s understanding and respect for the written word, even when it’s written mockingly on their forehead as they sleep.

  • Meet the Blends
  • Meet the Colors
  • Meet the Digraphs
  • Meet the Letter Sounds
  • Meet the Letters
  • Meet the Numbers
  • Meet the Shapes
  • Meet the Sight Words 1
  • Meet the Sight Words 2
  • Meet the Sight Words 3

8 Things I Want to Teach My Sons About Women

love women

As the mom of two boys,  I often have to remind them (and myself) that I’m a woman first, a mom second. I remember when my teen son was little and he said he wanted to marry a woman just like me. I was flattered and scared at the same time. On one hand,  he must see good qualities in me that he would want in a future wife but on the other hand was it fair to expect his future wife to be a  Star Wars, Pokemon, Hot Wheels, Lego, SpongeBob loving ninja?  I now realize that at that age, the thought of his wife being like his mother was the coolest thing in the world. Now that he’s a teen, he sees me through different lenses and I just pray that I’m giving him (and now his little brother) a balanced view on women.   Here are some things I want to teach my sons about women:

1. All Women Are Not The Same

The last thing I want is for my sons to make the assumption that all people are the same.  It’s easy to make judgments about others when you don’t have all the facts. Appreciate the differences in women based on their character, talents, personality, and interests.  Don’t try to change a woman because of your unrealistic expectations or preferences.  If you can’t accept her for who she is, find someone else who is more compatible.  Also, be mindful that there are good and bad people in the world, regardless of gender. Don’t let a bad experience with one woman influence your perception of all women.

2. Women are Funny

Tina Fey, Aisha Tyler, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Wanda Sykes, Mo’Nique, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Amy Sedaris, Loni Love, Kym Whitley, Betty White, Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho, Roseann Barr, Chelsea Handler, Amanda Seales,  Kathy Griffin, Lisa Lampanelli, Sarah Silverman, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Sandra Bernard, Sommore, Jennifer Coolidge, Gilda Radner, Rachel Dratch, Joy Behar, just to name a few.

2. Appreciate a Woman’s Strength, Don’t Use It Against Her

Both genders get mixed messages about strength. Don’t get caught up in archaic views of traditional male or female roles. While men are expected to be strong, assertive and fearless, these same qualities are not always valued in women.  Be confident enough to admire a woman’s strength and not see it as a threat to your masculinity.

4. Listen but Don’t Rush to Solve a Woman’s Problem

Sometimes when a woman is talking, she is venting to release her frustration, anxiety or anger. She just wants you to listen. It doesn’t mean that she wants you to solve her problem or save the day.   If you’re unsure if a woman wants your help, just ask.

5. Don’t Call a Woman Crazy Because You Don’t Understand

Most conflicts arise because of miscommunication. What is spoken or written can be misconstrued. If you’re unclear about what a woman is saying, ask for clarification. Don’t dismiss what she’s saying as irrelevant or “crazy talk” because it doesn’t make sense to you. Feelings are real and just because you don’t understand or can’t relate doesn’t mean she’s being overly sensitive.

6. Be a Gentleman

Being a gentleman is not just about chivalry. At the core of being a gentleman is respect and love for self and others.  Treat people the way they want to be treated.  It takes a man of integrity to be a gentleman, so say what you mean and mean what you say in all forms of communication.  Your words and actions reflect your character, so think before you speak and act.

7.  If You’re Unsure, Ask

It’s the lack of clarity that can get you into trouble.  If you’re unclear, ask for more information. Asking questions helps you to set boundaries and helps you to better understand a particular situation. Respect the response and don’t  use manipulation or pressure to get your way.  As a follow-up, be clear in your responses.

8. Show Your Appreciation

A simple ‘Thank you” or acknowledgment of a gesture goes a long way.  Don’t take for granted what anyone does for you. Also, don’t let people take what you do granted.

Above all else, I want my sons to have self-love so that they are true to themselves.  Yes, it’s important to me that my sons are strong, loving, compassionate companions in the future but I also want them to be appreciated and loved for who they are as men.

Photo: Flickr

Getting Dads Involved in Schools with National PTA President Otha Thornton

I had the honor of interviewing, Otha Thornton, new president of the National PTA. Mr. Thornton shared his plans for the organization and resources for dads to get involved in their local PTA.

Breaking the Cycle of Teen Sexual Violence

How do we address the problem of teen dating and sexual violence?  A conversation with Gordon Braxton, Suzanne Casemento and Quentin Walcott about gender based violence and how to speak our sons and daughters about healthy relationships, dating and sexual violence. We’ll also address bystanders syndrome and how to empower them to speak up.

How to Set Limits on Your Son’s Video Gaming with Dr. Douglas Gentile

 

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Dr. Douglas Gentile, my guest for the teleseminar, shared insight on how parents can set limits, the connection between violent video games, aggression and bullying.

Dr. Douglas Gentile is an award-winning research scientist, educator, author, and associate professor of developmental psychology at Iowa State University.  His experience includes over 25 years conducting research with children and adults. He is the editor of the book Media Violence and Children (2003, Praeger Press), and co-author of the book Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy (2007, Oxford University Press).

He has authored scores of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, including studies on the positive and negative effects of video games on children in several countries, the validity of the American media ratings, how screen time contributes to youth obesity, and what is being called video game and Internet “addiction.”  In 2010, he was honored with the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Media Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association (Division 46).  He was named one of the Top 300 Professors in the United States by the Princeton Review.

 

 

Understanding Your Son’s World with Author Rosalind Wiseman

I had the pleasure of interviewing author, Rosalind Wiseman with Joanna Schroeder, Executive Editor of The Good Men Project. Rosalind Wiseman’s new book, Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Your Son Cope with School Yard Power, Locker Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Realities of Guy World, shows what’s really happening in boys’ lives.

Ms. Wiseman shared key points about communicating with your son, understanding the social roles of boys as well as what boys need from parents to get through the daily challenge living up to the “Act Like a Man” box.

 

 

The Zimmerman Verdict: The Message to Our Sons

My son told me the verdict in the Zimmerman trial.  Three simple words: “Mom, not guilty”.  My 15 year old who has been watching this trial from the beginning. At first I tried to register if he was joking just to see my reaction. As I turned on the news, I stood quietly for such a long time, he had to ask me if I was ok.

Painting by*S-Daniels

Painting by*S-Daniels

My first thought was, “Are you ok?” I was shocked, disappointed and slowly became outraged. Until I looked at my son and realized that this wasn’t about me. It was about the countless “Trayvon Martins” who have died because of gun violence.

Let’s be honest, most of these deaths were black on black crimes and the growing crime rate in Chicago sheds light on the fragility of the life of young black males. As the mom of two boys: a teen and a toddler, I have a visual daily reminder of the developmental stages of black boys.  While most adults coo and play with my toddler, they’re apprehensive about my 5’10 teen son.  I look at my son through society’s eyes, I wonder if he will be approached by the NYPD for Stop and Frisk?  At what point will women clutch their handbags and men shift uncomfortably when he steps on an elevator? At what point will he start thinking less about his comfort level and more about making others feel safe around him?

Jonathan Lethem asks in his book, The Fortress of Solitude, “What age is a black boy when he learns that he is scary?” Last night the bigger question became, “What age is a black boy when he learns the value of his life?” My son learned the answer to this question at 15 years old.  When I asked him what he thought and felt about the verdict, he simply responded “I’m shocked”.  As an adult, I was barely able to process the information, so I knew that he was still trying to make sense of it all.  He summed up his thoughts in a simple Facebook post: “I guess Florida doesn’t care about the life of teenagers”.

His post made me look at the verdict through his eyes. He wasn’t thinking about the complexities of the judicial system or why the jury acquitted George Zimmerman.  He was thinking about the value of his life. I thought about how Zimmerman’s defense attorneys gloated about their victory as if they’ve just won an NBA Championship. There was little remorse or respect for the life of Trayvon Martin.

Children are polarized thinkers until they become teenagers. At this point, the world is no longer black and white, so they start to question the areas of gray that don’t make sense to them.  They start to question the integrity, intelligence and common sense of adults.  How can we tell them to be fair and to think before you act, when we are guilty of doing these things.

How do we explain to them that Stand Your Ground Law gives an adult the right to kill a teen boy? How can we tell them that they are the future but we do little to protect that future?

 

 

Man of Steel Summer Movie for Your Son #SeeSteelFirst


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Warner Bros. All opinions are thoughts are my own and I delighted to share this opportunity with you about the Man of Steel movie premiere at Walmart.

Man of Steel

My family is a proud group of superhero geeks. While we each have our favorites, one thing we all agree is that the ultimate superhero is The Man of Steel-Superman.  This summer has amazing movies coming up and Man of Steel is heading the way.

Every summer, we get excited about the summer movies because there’s always something that we all want to see. However, it’s our annual ritual to go to see at least one movie during the summer. This is not easy being that my son is now a teen and prefers not to do much with us.

The great thing about summer movies is that they give us an opportunity to connect as a family. For the past few years, when my husband has returned from a year of military deployment, we could always rely on a summer movie to get us back into the swing of things. This summer our choice is Man of Steel. My son is particularly excited because the movie comes out on his birthday weekend. In addition, it’s Father’s Day weekend, so I get to make two of the guys in my life very happy.  The trailer for this movie looks amazing and the storyline is one we’ve never seen before because it takes us into the life of Superman-the man. The movie explores Clark Kent’s struggles with his identity and how he fits into this world.  What teen boy can’t relate to this?


I am so happy to share with you that Walmart is offering you the opportunity to see the movie before it debuts on June 14th! Walmart is selling advanced screening tickets.  Thanks to Walmart, you can avoid the long lines and crowds, and purchase your ticket without stress or fuss at any Walmart store. Just go to your local Walmart, head over to the Electronics Department and purchase your ticket for the June 13th 7:00pm showing.  In addition to your tickets, you’ll also be the first to pre-order on DVD & Blu-Ray as well as get a free digital comic book with story by Man of Steel writer, David Goyer.

Man of Steel Tickets

 

So you can see the movie before everyone else on June 13th and be the hero in your family.  Get an early start on your weekend fun thanks to Walmart.  Don’t just sit there reading my post- Go! If you’re in NYC, the closest Walmart store is 2100 88Th St North Bergen, NJ 7047 Tel: (201) 758-2810.  They still have tickets, so hurry!

PS. Meet our newest Superman fan!

Superman fan

 

Purchase tickets to the exclusive pre-screening of Man of Steel [PG-13] on June 13th, 2013 at 7 PM at your local Walmart! Tickets can be purchased in the Electronics Department and include an exclusive digital comic book written by David S. Goyer, author of “Man of Steel”, as well as an exclusive opportunity to pre-order an HD digital download or Blu-Ray copy of the film.

  • Go to your local Walmart
  • Visit the electronics department
  • Purchase your EXCLUSIVE Man of Steel prescreening tickets (available in 2D or 3D)
  • Take your family to the theater location noted on your ticket and watch the EXCLUSIVE 7 p.m. premiere of Man of Steel on June 13th!

Learn more here!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Warner Bros. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

5 Tips for Raising an Exceptional Man

If you ask most parents what do they want most for their children, the response will more likely be: to raise happy, healthy and successful children. We sometimes forget that what we want for our children has to be what they want for themselves.  It’s more important to raise children that have an understanding of their values and do their best to live by them.  You may raise a successful child, but if he has no compassion, love or integrity, what good is his success to the world?

Raising boys to be men

The key to raising better children is simple: Live your life as a better person. Yes, this is easier said than done. We are not perfect and sometimes our best isn’t good enough.  Even in our challenging times, our children can learn from us and gain a better understanding of how to pick yourself up when you fall down.  These five tips are a springboard for you to  live life with grace.

1. Teach Your Son to Be Open to Life’s Blessings

Saying yes to life allows wonderful blessings to come to you. Say yes to new opportunities and success. Say yes to a life that you live by your standards. Say yes to making your own decisions and not seeking approval of others. Say yes to a fulfilling and rewarding career. Say yes to a relationship that energizes, supports and stimulates you. Say yes to a promising future. Say yes to living without guilt, resentment or regrets. Say yes to spending more time on your self improvement. Say yes to living an authentic life. Say yes to taking chances and freeing yourself from fear. Say yes to happiness and achievements. Say yes to a well-lived life.

2.  Teach Your Son That Love is Unconditional

When was the last time you allowed love to lead? Withholding love as a means of control only leads to distrust and resentment. Loving unconditionally means loving without judgment. Free yourself from unrealistic expectations and accept the person you love for who they are. Do not expect your needs and wants to be fulfilled by someone else. Allow those you love to express themselves without fear of rejection. Do not punish yourself or loved ones for past mistakes. People use the word love very loosely, but do not stop to think of the implications of using the word. Take the time to be responsible in how you show love. Allow yourself to love and be loved.

3. Teach Your Son to  Take Healthy Risks

Everything in life involves a risk.  Are you allowing fear of rejection and failure to dictate your life? Fear inhibits success. Take chances and free yourself from limiting beliefs. Taking risks empowers you to take charge of your life. Be curious about life; experiment and try new things. Set goals for yourself and take action. Step out of what is safe, comfortable and familiar to you. Examine what feelings emerge when you are thinking about taking a risk. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”  Concealing yourself in a safe container prevents you from exploring other possibilities. Embrace the unknown and anticipate success. You will never know the outcome if you don’t take the risk.

4. Teach Your Son to Make the Most of Opportunities and Failures

It is possible to get through the difficult times in life. Learn from failures and take responsibility for your life. Listening to your inner critic can sabotage your dreams. Silence the critic by reaffirming all the things you are capable of doing. Dream big and be excited about your future. Find and release your untapped talents. Believe in your abilities and discover what you have to offer the world. Think about all the things you can’t do and try to do them. Think back to a time, when something was difficult and you were able to overcome the challenge. Continuing to live life in a safe container doesn’t help you gain anything in life. Take the necessary actions to achieve your goals. Stop assuming and start achieving!

5. Inspire  Your Son to Leave a Legacy

What’s your legacy? How do you want to be remembered? The life you live defines who you are and the choices you make will determine what impact you will have on the lives of others.  Never underestimate the power of your words and actions. You were uniquely created to make a contribution to the world. It is your right and your obligation to make your mark in this world. Surround yourself with people who are supportive, positive and encouraging.  Show appreciation and gratitude to those around you. If you have a message to share, then share it with the world. Staying small and thinking small will not get you where you need to be in life. Starting today, have a new perspective on life. Start a new chapter in your life.