Celebrating International Men’s Day

Picture the following: a stressed out dad, running to the store. A 8 year old little girl, annoyed to go grocery shopping again.

Dad with baby

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Dad: Hurry, we have to go and get the things so we can celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday!

Kid: It’s not fair! Why is there no Kid’s Day?!

Dad: Sweetie, EVERY day is Kid’s Day.

I’m sure I’m not the only kid whose had this conversation with their parents. It’s a conversation I hear echoed online in certain communities every March 8 when International Women’s Day comes along.

When is International Men’s Day?

But instead of my snappy reply that every other day is Men’s Day, I can say clearly: November 19! That is officially International Men’s Day!

So I guess the question is: what are you going to do about it?

Here’s a list of suggestions:

  • Idolize the right men
    • Instead of just glorifying characters like Superman or the Incredible Hulk for their tremendous strength and fighting abilities, let’s shine the light on extraordinary men who have advanced our world. Men like Alan Turing, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi highlight the best traits such as compassion, empathy and dedication.
  • Stop thinking the worst about boys:
    • There are so many sayings that immediately put boys down, the most prominent one being ‘boys will be boys’ to excuse any kind of bad behavior. Let’s believe in our boys. Let’s let our boys cry, come to adults for help, and talk about their emotions. Let’s not push them to handle their problems by sucking it up and using violence. The same goes for grown men. Fathers are not ‘babysitting’ when they take care of their children while the mother is away. They are parenting.
  • And perhaps the most important: Thank the role models

My father has always been a key support for me. A quiet man with an ever present mustache (seriously, I have never seen his top lip in person), he has introduced me to everything from astronomy to dinosaurs and computer programming. Perhaps most importantly it was never anything forced on me: instead, he saw my natural interest and fostered it. It was never ‘oh, that’s not something girls do.’ He was the assistant coach for my soccer team for more years than I’m sure he enjoyed, but he never complained. He would make up stories of Thumbelina (my favorite fairy tale character for a period) going to the zoo and going on safarias so the stories would have a bit more action in them, just the way I like them.

This International Men’s Day, I’m going to be sending him a special thank you (unfortunately we live on different continents, so the big hug I would prefer is not possible). He raised two daughters who are now with equally awesome, respectful and adoring men—and one who is now raising a boy (that’s me and my little guy). With him as a role model, I think we’re going to be more than okay.

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