Our boys had to get physicals done for school so we went to a nearby clinic. We didn’t have their blood type information so that test became part of our scavenger-hunt-like wander through the hospital. Jordan, who has a fear of needles, decided he wanted to go first and get it over with. Pepper rubbed his back and shoulders as he had his head down and didn’t watch. An older man in the wakting area (seated just two feet behind Jordan) noted Jordan’s fear and told him “boys don’t cry” and to “be a man” because he was a man and never cried.
It took me no time at all to be shouting at him that men and boys do cry. That I cry. He flexed his bicep and held it up pointing to it saying he was a man. Pepper was telling me to stop. I visualized making the man cry which in my mind was quickly followed by my arrest. I backed down. I know I can not change him. But I do not need either of my boys believing that they should not cry or that such gender stereotypes should be tolerated.