*DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR A FREE ISSUE OF STAND MAGAZINE AT THE END OF THIS POST*
When I first received an email from the Managing Editor of the STAND magazine I was surprised. I wasn’t sure a female-run humor site dedicated to the fits and follies of raising a family of (what used to be!) all boys was the correct platform for promoting a men’s magazine. However, the more I learned about the message embedded this beautiful new publication the more I wanted to be involved.
There is an ancient Japanese proverb which states “fall seven times, stand up eight” and this forms the basis for the mission statement of these thoughtful magazine. Everyone fails at times during their life and true strength comes from picking up ones self, dusting off, and trying again. STAND magazine is dedicated to celebrating men who desire, struggle, and commit to making the world a better place. I am not a man, but I am responsible for the upbringing of two impressionable, open-minded, spirited, and generous boys. They will be the future of mankind, and what better role model could there be for raising the next generation than that of mindfulness and kindness?
My oldest son is a big boy. He was nearly four feet tall and weighed 60 pounds on his fifth birthday a couple of months ago. He has always been a solid rock of muscle, energy and inertia: something akin to a tank or a linebacker, even in diapers. He is gifted with a gentle soul and a sometimes paralyzing empathy toward other people, but every child stumbles occasionally as he learns to navigate a world full of frustration and disappointment.
The other day his preschool teacher told me he’d been involved in an altercation on the playground, nothing major, just the sort of thing that previous generations would have chalked up to boys being boys. He’d pushed another child out of anger and was having trouble taking responsibility for his actions. He was sorry. His embarrassed and regretful tears were streaming down his face and his titanic body had crumpled to the ground. His body language was clearly regretful, but his words were saying something else.
“It was just an accident!” My son sobbed over and over to his teachers.
His mind struggled to find an explanation for how he had lost control. Outside the moment of anger, he couldn’t believe he’d purposefully hurt one of his friends, and he was desperate to place the blame on fate instead. It was just an accident meant that he could be sorry without admitting that he’d made a mistake, had a lapse in judgment, and lost himself for a moment to his impulses. He was afraid his teacher, his friends, and I would think he was a bad person, but by denying his mistake he was missing an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.
Eventually his wonderful and patient teacher walked him through the steps of admitting that he’d gotten angry, pushed his friend, and that he was sorry. The words stung his tongue like wasps as he said them, but through his tears he accepted his mistake and genuinely apologized to his friend. That night I told him how proud of him I was for talking about something so difficult and that even though I didn’t approve of his behavior, I would always support him in learning from his mistakes. I told him he’d probably get angry again, and he might even push someone again, but that the more he thought about how it makes him feel afterward, the less likely he would be to repeat it.
His mind whirred with the new information for a few minutes and then he hugged me and said “Thank you for helping me learn, Mommy.”
My son is at the beginning of a journey of discovery that will last through the rest of his life. He will eventually learn not to push other children on the playground when they cut in front of him in line, but life is full of new and unexpected challenges and he will fall again. I only hope that he will stand up, dust himself off, and walk prouder for it.
Stories like this one are the reasons I connected so strongly with the message of STAND magazine. Everyone makes mistakes in life and it is a sign of maturity to learn and create something beautiful from it. STAND magazine is exactly that: beautiful. From the gorgeous art throughout to the inspirational words jumping off each page. There are stories about the complicated relationship between a man and his father, the struggles of a man suffering from the stigmatized male depression, and even musings on art, literature, and fashion. The pages of this magazine are filled with introspection, philosophy, and an over-arching desire to make a difference in the world for the better, whether through sports, work, or raising awareness about international issues.
As a mother of all boys, I hope that this magazine succeeds so that it will be there when they get to an age when they too will start to question their effect on the world around them. I hope that there is a market out there that is saturated with men who are searching for a connection with like-minded men and who are tired of reading the same clichéd content in “men’s magazines.” And in taking a cue from the mission statement of STAND, I am going to do my part to contribute to the world I hope to see in the future.
I’m raising awareness about STAND and I’d like you to help me. Please enter the contest below to win a free copy of STAND magazine’s inaugural issue by completing some or all of the steps below: following STAND on Twitter and Facebook, and tweeting a link to this article to help connect others to this beautiful message as well. Enter the contest below. You can enter as many times as you want before the contest ends on Monday Nov 23, 2015.