An interesting article recently appeared on CNN.com discussing ways in which parents need to reevaluate placing gender stereotypes on our children, specifically boys.
William Pollack, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, and author of "Real Boys," believes that for boys to be happy and healthy, they must be allowed to have feelings, to show empathy, and to be able to express the range of emotions encouraged in girls. Pollack is concerned that parents are continuing to adhere to what he calls "The Boy Code" in raising our young men - bringing boys up to be stoic, hide their feelings, to become quickly independent of their parents (their mothers especially). In short, not to be like girls.
Pollack is not saying that we shouldn't respect the differences between boys and girls, whatever we perceive them to be. But the idea of defining male and female as opposites (as we do in this culture) is misguided and leads us into trouble. It implies that boys must not only separate from their mothers but reject the qualities associated with them.
"We know what we get when a boy is raised with the code," says Olga Silverstein, family therapist and author of "The Courage to Raise Good Men." "A mask of masculinity, false bravado, the need to be aggressive and to win, and to ignore or repress feelings of vulnerability. These are the men who seem strong but who are, ironically, weakest in many ways because they're hiding or are unaware of their neediness and are poorly equipped to engage in any kind of honest relationship."
Silverstein goes on to suggest some important ways to ensure that our sons grown into whole human beings:
A child who is fully and deeply loved, who learns to acknowledge his feelings and is well equipped to express them, and who learns to take responsibility for his actions, to value compassion and live it daily - this is the boy who will grow into a man who'll make a loving companion. That's good for the woman he marries. Even better for the man he becomes.
Sheryl Trower, graduate of our Children's Etiquette Certification program in 2006, has had wonderful success with her etiquette school, The Etiquette School of Central Pennsylvania.
Since graduating from The American School of Protocol®, Sheryl has been active in a variety of programs and organizations, bringing her training and expertise to her community. From teaching etiquette classes at The Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to serving as guest speaker for The American Business Women's Association luncheon, Sheryl is making a name for herself in the etiquette world!
When asked recently by a reporter for the Lancaster Gazette about why she chose to become an etiquette consultant, Sheryl replied, "I realized that this is an area in which I can make a difference. As children learn academically and on the sports field, it's important not to miss other skills that can sometimes get lost along the way. As adults, we are often quick to judge the actions of others as our society places a great emphasis on 'socially acceptable' behavior."
Sheryl consults with private clients as well as with schools, local non-profit organizations and churches. She is now working under contract with the School District of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, creating after school programs involving elementary and middle school students. When speaking to her adult etiquette classes, Sheryl emphasizes the value of being one's best: "Etiquette, whether it's in the workplace or in a dining situation, is a soft skill, but those are the ones that could get you the job or land the contract for your company."
Well done Sheryl! We wish you all the best as you continue your career. Thank you for representing The American School of Protocol® so well.
Today, January 17, 2011, is a day of remembrance as we celebrate the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In a world where hate and racial tensions seemed to on the brink of tearing this great nation apart, one man was able to use peace and love to bring millions together and unite for a common cause - the civil rights for all men and women, regardless of color.
In rememberance of Dr. King today, we would like to share a few words from this great man:
"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
..."I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"
May these quotes encourage you to get out there and make a difference in the world. This day is not just a day of reflection. It is a day of action.
The American School of Protocol® strives each day to help our graduates achieve their dreams. We receive countless calls from men and women who are seeking ways to better their communities by teaching character education to our youth. Let us all be inspired by Dr. King's message and never lose sight of our dreams!
Be kind to yourself this new year! We each hold ourselves to such a high standard, trying so hard to achieve those new year's resolutions. Sometimes we need to simply take a deep breath and remember what's really important - loving yourself!
Be good, and you'll never regret it.
Be bad, and you'll never forget it.
If mistaken, be the first to confess it.
If right, be the last to express it.
If wrong, then be quick to redress it.
If it's slander, be sure to suppress it.
Be kind, but let no one suspect it.
Be wise, but let no one detect it.
Be fair, for your friends will expect it.
Be swift, or perhaps you'll neglect it.
If it's borrowed, be quick to repay it.
If it's loaned, make excuse to delay it.
Be selfish, and no one will miss you.
Be a fool, and the demons will hiss you.
Be yourself, and the Good Lord will kiss you.