Boys Will Be Boys … But Will They Be Men?

Let me first say this from the outset: I have no problem with little boys.  Believe it or not … I once was a little boy myself.  So this article isn’t going to bash little boys or demean them in any way.

However, it is going to be tough on grown men who still act like they are little boys …

Yesterday, President Trump said, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of.  This is a very difficult time.”

I can’t know President’s Trump heart and soul, but this quote struck me as misguided.  Taken by itself, the single quote isn’t awful, though I would argue that it would be scary for anyone to be guilty of something they may not be guilty of.  I’m sure many can relate to this fear.

But what President Trump is actually saying is that it’s a scary time for young white men to be accused of something for which they may not be guilty.  Logic dictates that this must have been his true message.  I think we can all agree that young black men have been found guilty for centuries when they were actually innocent.  We could in fact argue that most minority men have endured this hardship as well, no matter what the race, creed, or color.

By that rationale, false accusations is not anything new for any young man who isn’t … well … white.  Therefore, I think I stand on solid ground when I say that President Trump’s subtext was meant to specifically refer to young white men.

As a middle-aged white man, I’m here to offer a bit of news.  Men, if you behave yourselves, if you take others’ feelings into account, if you are polite, if you keep your hands to yourself, and if you act as a general gentleman, you have nothing to fear.

My personal opinion as to what President Trump is insinuating is that it’s a scary time for young men because they no longer get to do what they want, when they want, to whom they want without fear of consequence.

There’s an old saying that I’ve heard time and again: “Boys will be boys.”

I often hear this cliche whenever a little boy is almost being held accountable for bad behavior.  I say almost, because when it’s time to serve an actual consequence, the phrase “boys will be boys” often arrives in its stead.

Broadly speaking, it’s hard to make little boys behave.  I recognize that.  It takes routine, boundaries, and actual consequences.  For many adults, that’s an ongoing fight they just don’t want to have.  As a result, though, little boys are conditioned to believe they can do what they want, anytime they want, without much fear of getting in trouble.  And, as children, that’s fine.

The problem, however, is that these little boys can potentially grow into men who can’t break this bad habit.  I’d like to think that with age comes maturity and responsibility, and for most this is true.  With the #MeToo movement’s revelations, though, it’s clearly not the case for all.  We’ve had too many men using their power — whether it be political power, financial power, or physical power — to commit atrocities against others.

Sadly, it appears that for some, hearing “boys will be boys” throughout their childhood may have led to a lifelong motto.

I wish all little boys grew up to be men — real men.  Responsible men.  Loving men.  Kind men.  Compassionate men.  Disciplined men.  Ethical men.  Inspiring men.

Obviously, I wrote this article not only in response to President Trump’s quote, but also because of the ongoing saga between Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh.  I admit this is a very difficult situation due to the fact that both of them, under oath, swear that they are 100% sure of what they are saying.  They are both credible, intelligent, respected individuals.  Yet both of them also have glaring inconsistencies in their accounts.  Like with President Trump, I can’t look into their minds to know who is telling the absolute truth.  But I do know this — no matter how much time has passed, no matter how many details can’t be remembered, no matter how esteemed the accused, we must insist upon a society that makes men and women feel safe to seek justice.  We cannot shame victims into remaining silent.  We cannot, by default, give sexual abusers all of the power.

Therefore, I must disagree with President Trump.  His idea of a scary place is all wrong.

A nation that refuses to give victims the benefit of the doubt, a society that encourages men to objectify and abuse women, a government whose leadership is primarily comprised of powerful white men willing to turn a blind eye towards sexual misconduct, and a country where men prefer to behave like little boys … that’s a scary place.


(Did you enjoy this article?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)