On Friday 14th May 2021, Non-governmental Organization, CONCERN FOR THE BOY-CHILD INITIATIVE GHANA observed for the second time in Ghana, WORLD DAY OF THE BOY CHILD and also launched its Founder Ms. HELENA ADUTWUMWAA's maiden book on life lessons for boys, DEAR BOYCHILD, with over 100 boys (in 4 different batches due to COVID-19) of King David Academy located at Taifa, Accra in attendance.
There were Question & Answer sessions, Eye screening, refreshment, and so on. Each boy in attendance got a free copy of the book 'Dear Boychild' sponsored by the NGO's Patron, Mr. Albert Ofori Wiafe. To say the boys were excited that someone cares to show concern for them also is an understatement.
The boys raised placards with inscriptions like ‘Boys also need Attention and Care, ‘Boys also get Molested’, ‘Raise boys right’, ‘Boys too matter’, ‘Teach boys good moral values', etc.
Boys and girls alike are equally important and in this race of life, none should be left behind.
WORLD DAY OF THE BOY-CHILD (WDBC) was inaugurated on 16 May 2018 founded by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh of Trinidad and Tobago, and currently celebrated in over 23-countries worldwide. WDBC celebrates all the positive elements that boys bring to their families and communities. It also highlights the issues and challenges that boys face as they develop. Institutions, governments and organizations, and individuals throughout our global village will observe ‘World Day of the Boy Child’ (WDBC) on 16 May 2021 under the theme, “Guiding the Boy Child: Positively Impacting the World.”
Within every boy is a man eager to make an impact in the world. Within every boy is a loving husband, a caring father and a reliable friend. There is a leader who succeeds against all odds and a hero who will fight for justice. However, within every boy, there are also emotions that must be guided and character that must be developed. There are fears and insecurities. There is pressure from peers and society to live up to their expectations. Within every boy is a cry for help to be the man he wants to be.
It is no secret that society is doing our boys a great disservice in terms of emotional support and guidance. For so long, society has told boys that they have to be “tough” and “strong,” and that showing emotions is “weak” and “feminine.” This often results in them not knowing how to express emotions like sadness and displeasure because they have been taught to suppress those emotions. But we all know that bottling up emotions is never a good thing and does not set anyone on the right path to navigate the numerous pressures of life.
Teaching Boys that expressing their emotions is a taboo causes long-term harm to their relationships with each other and with people of the opposite gender.
Subscribing to these archaic beliefs about how a boy is supposed to handle his feelings is what leads to them not having proper outlets for them.
Research shows that boys actually need more emotional support, but because of societal expectations, and gender stereotypes, we are not giving it to them. There are biological differences between the way boys’ and girls’ brains develop. In fact, boys are more emotionally vulnerable even while still in utero. But, for some reason, we are not talking enough about those differences, even though they are the roadmap for the kind of emotional support and guidance we should be giving our boys. It is becoming increasingly clearer that if we don’t, we will continue to be putting our boys in danger and hence society.
Because we raise them in a society that expects a man not to show weakness "Barima nsu", to wit “Men don’t cry", they prefer to keep issues to themselves, and consequently end up becoming emotionally derailed, unempathetic, incompassionate, inconsiderate, insecure, etcetera. Some end up using drugs, alcohol and getting involved with criminal groups for solace, and the repercussions come back on society.
Boys are naturally loud, boisterous, adventurous, constantly moving — and it can be exhausting raising them even in their early years. They need patience, attention, care, love, emotional support and constant monitoring, counselling and guidance to be able to grow well to impact the world positively. By not acknowledging that boys have feelings as much girls, and knowing how to give them the proper support and guidance, we are only setting them up to keep repeating a damning cycle of toxic masculinity and oppression.
Various criminal activities like shootings, robberies, killings, domestic violence, ritual murders, and so on happening around the world which mostly boys/men are the perpetrators, are enough evidence for us to take a serious look at how we raise boys. There must be a paradigm shift.
If you love your son, stop trying to make him a tough guy, and give him the space and guidance to be a fully formed, emotionally secure, well-rounded and well-guided man, and not abuse his wife/girlfriend, kill, steal nor perpetrate other social vices and put his own life and that of others in danger. There is an African proverb that says “When men fall it is women and children that suffer.”
As a society, If we collectively consciously raise boys right by imbibing in them good moral values and guide them, they will grow and become Responsible, Well-behaved, Peaceful, Empathic, Secure men and thereby positively impact the world.