To My Sons: How to Be Great Men in a Messed Up World |

To My Sons: How to Be Great Men in a Messed Up World

admin September 13, 2013

There have been a rash of blog posts addressing both boys and girls — mostly girls — since Miley Cyrus’ now infamous twerking at the recent music awards.  I know as little about that as possible (didn’t watch the video, don’t really know what twerking is).  But the instructions to boys and girls and the point about how we’re busy telling little girls not to be immodest while we leave the boys alone struck a cord.

I have three boys.  I have a daughter, too, but she’s so feisty I don’t worry much about her. 🙂  And as independent as she is, she understands modesty.  It’s kind of the perfect combination, really — an independent spirit who will be unlikely to follow the crowd or be taken advantage of but a modest heart.  The boys, though…they’re younger, they’re less independent (in a way) and there are so many messed up messages aimed at boys today.  

I have avoided this issue up until now but I have to say something. I hope to actually be able to share this letter with my sons someday when they are older.

To My Sons,

Every few months, some celebrity is chastised for immodest conduct.  What prompted this particular letter was a young woman dancing inappropriately while dressed immodestly on stage during a music awards show.  But really, the details don’t matter.

Boys, when this happens, girls are admonished to be more modest.  They’re told that they must dress appropriately, and they must not act like that.  I agree — it’s inappropriate.  But the biggest reason given by many for why they must do this, is because they might ‘tempt’ you into looking at them and thinking inappropriate thoughts.

I love you boys.  And you are all so smart.  You know right from wrong as well as your sister or any girl.  And you should know that if you see a woman dressed or acting inappropriately that you ought to look away.  Or, depending on the situation, maybe she needs some help.  Maybe it’s a cry for attention.  Don’t give in to the temptation to take this behavior as a sexual come-on.  What she needs is a friend, someone who loves her, for her.  Choose carefully whether you should walk away or be her friend.  But don’t tread into those waters.  Don’t get romantically involved with her, at least not for all the wrong reasons.

It’s hard.  Society is going to tell you that you’ve hit the jackpot when you meet women who are ‘easy,’ as they call it.  They mean women who will have sex with you soon after you meet.  You, as men, will be expected to believe and act the same way.  You will be expected to want to sleep with lots of women and to brag about your prowess.  Don’t give in to this.  There’s nothing to brag about in sleeping around, not for men or women.

Unfortunately, you’ll see a lot of double standards.  You’ll see that women are blamed for dressing inappropriately and that men who lust after them are excused.  But in our home, that behavior from you will never be excused.  You are to treat women with all the love and respect that you treat our family and anyone else you come across, no matter what they are wearing or how they are behaving.  That’s what we’re called to.

Sadly, though, you’ll see another double standard.  When young girls are taken advantage of by older men, it’s called perversion, and it is.  But when young boys are taken advantage of by older women, they’re called “lucky.”  I hope you never have to face a situation like this.  I hope an older woman — or any woman — never makes you feel uncomfortable.  You don’t have to give in, you don’t have to do something sexual, and you are not less of a man because you say no.  In fact, a real man can stand up and say “I’m not ready.”  And I hope if you ever felt that someone was hurting you, that you would tell us so that we could help you.

The whole culture surrounding sex and love and respect is pretty messed up.  It makes me sad for the world. Here’s what it should look like, boys.  You’ll have plenty of friends who are both boys and girls, and you should.  Someday you’ll be grown, and you’ll be looking for a wife.  I hope that you find a woman who is lovely and who shares the same values you do, who is willing to wait with you until you are both ready for the relationship to move forward.  I hope that you come to understand that sex, within marriage, is a beautiful thing.  Sex, as a sport, is cheap and lonely.

I believe that you can be just as strong as any woman, in ‘avoiding temptation.’  And this cultural nonsense about how boys just can’t help themselves?  Sure you can.  You may look at a woman and feel lust (and we’ve all had private thoughts like this), but you are capable of saying no.  You are capable of avoiding any action.  You are capable of having respect for her, and for yourself.

If you slip up and give in to temptation, I won’t love you less.  If you do it in a way that hurts another, I will be angry, but I will still love you.  Sex, love, and marriage are thorny issues, boys.  And you may make mistakes, and you may get hurt.  I pray that you don’t, and it’s possible not to — your father never dated anyone but me.  I did date others and I can tell you that it’s not worth it, not until you’re ready to say “I do,” should you find the right person.

Real men know how to control themselves, how to rule in their homes peacefully, how to show the utmost love and respect to others.  They know how to treat women well, and they expect women to treat them well, too.  Don’t ever hurt a woman, but don’t let a woman hurt you either.  You can stand up for yourself respectfully, and you can walk away. I wish I didn’t have to tell you any of this.

I wish it were uncomplicated.  I wish you would not become aware of the mixed up and rather awful messages that the world is sending you.  I hope you know that if you ever feel confused or upset by anything you think, or see, or hear, that you will come to us and ask.  I hope you know that nothing will shock us, nothing will make us love you less.  We’re here to help you sort things out and walk through this world.

I love you, boys.  I know you’ll grow up to be great men.

Do you ever fear for your boys?


This is the writings of:



  1. I love this. I don’t love that it’s needed, but it’s so well written. I have two boys, both who are still very young. And my husband and I have already had talks about this. And how navigating the world of respecting ourselves, others and sex is not going to be an easy task. I hope that when the time comes I can communicate as well as you have in this letter.


  2. Well said, Kate, and you’re right, we don’t see this directed at boys often enough. I do believe one of the big reasons women should be modest is to make it easier for men to not see them and be tempted to lust, but that is both to help the men and to help the women who don’t want to be viewed as objects. You are right, though; we need to be telling our boys (often) the right way to treat and view women, and also how to take their thoughts captive when they are tempted to lust. And we need to teach them to treat women with dignity even when those women are dressed immodestly. Most of the time, the women have no idea about modesty and the real reasons for it. Those women need to have male friends who will be able to show them their value as people, rather than objects, so I liked what you said about being friends with them, not always turning away because of the way they are dressed.


  3. Katie this is the BEST thing I’ve read that’s addressed to boys. Thank you so much! I just had my first (a boy) and I’ve been thinking and praying how I’ll one day address all of this stuff. I love it. I might just print this out to keep and maybe tweek a little. But it’s amazing. And thank you for addressing the fact that women can sexually abuse boys. In all of this talk about modesty, that’s never addressed. I also love that you make it clear that lust affects everyone, men and women, and we all have the power to stop those thoughts and seek forgiveness.


  4. I do not have any boys, only my 5 years old daughter from my previous marriage. I absolutely love your letter, and wanted to tell you it needs to be spread around so that every guy knows how to be respectful. My ex husband was disrespectful towards me, and abusive, in front of my daughter. I left him and it took me 2.5 years until I found someone who was respectful, and loves my daughter just as much as if she was his own. My fiance and I Thank you for sharing your letter, it means a lot. If a boy happens to be born in our future, we will be sure to share this with him. Have a great day!


  5. Without a doubt THE best thing I’ve read in response to the Miley Cyrus / Robin Thicke incident. Excellent message. 🙂


  6. You hit the nail on the head! Thank you! Very true and addressed from a very good angle. I will save this for my boy for later.
    This is so true that the women are looking for love actually when they seek out sexual relations and make themselves easily available.


  7. I really enjoyed this post. So true! I have an adult daughter & adult son who are 13 months apart & we have a 15 yo daughter at home. One thing I cautioned my now grown son in his teen years was that HE was responsible guarding her heart. For not letting the relationship between he & a girl get too close. I’d observed over the years & unfortunately first hand experience that when a girl gives her heart to to a young man she will almost always give her body. Even if she has high morals & standards. I believe that if young girls need to share personal things in their life, it needs to be with another girl, older woman, mentor. I also believe the same to be true for guys. Intimacy in relationships often leads to physical intimacy.


  8. This is a great letter! Thanks.


  9. […] On Raising Boys :: To My Sons: On How to Be Great Men in a Messed Up World || Modern Alternative […]


  10. Well written words to your boys about the difficulties they’re going to have when it comes to sex/sexuality and male-female relationship navigation in today’s society. I appreciate the words being a mom to a boy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

Meet My Family
Love our content? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get our FREE Nourished Living Cookbook!