I try and make sure that my boys exercise as soon as they wake up. Nothing fancy. A couple of suryanamaskaras, some pushups, squats, pullups. That’s it.
I want them to be physically strong. It is imperative. If I had daughters, I’d want them to be as strong as possible too, but if they (hypothetical daughters) refused to exercise, I’d let them slack off. With sons, they do not have that option. So I’ll try every trick in the book to ensure compliance. Encouragement, criticism, scolding, begging, bribes, motivation. But what works best, always, is competition. Between themselves and with me. Now, competition, is considered toxic masculinity. I don’t fucking care. My sons will compete, get hurt, cry because they lose and then fight harder to win the next time. No prizes for coming second. I don’t mind being a bully. I don’t mind calling them names. I will suck it up, and be disliked, because it is my job to make them strong and tough. So we wrestle, punch each other, and sometimes draw blood. It happens. Boys will be boys.
Each time we rough house, there are scrapes and tears, but my boys will beg for more. It’s their favourite time of the week. And when the dog joins in, everyone is going to hurt for days afterwards. They prefer the violent games to structured exercise and training. Go figure.
The trick will be to turn sibling rivalry into an appreciation for the joy of competition and finally turn that into a mentality of competing with oneself, more than anybody else. That’s the goal.
Now, if it is just me, and my relentless tyranny, my sons will rebel as soon as they are strong enough to rebel. Which is where my wife comes in. When my slave driver mentality becomes too much, they have someone to run to. Thankfully, she tolerates my harshness towards them, and understands my inability to be gentle with them, and compensates. She’ll give me a good dressing down if I go too far. And I do.
A child needs both parents. And the child needs both parents to play yin-yang to bring balance to their development.
I’ve no idea how to be a mother. And I bet, my wife has no idea how to be a father.
If I try and temper my “toxic masculinity” I’ll be doing my children, and society, a disservice.
Society seems to be pushing boys to become more like girls. Men to be more like women. Not convinced that it’ll end well. Strive for equality of opportunity, by all means. Just don’t tell me that everyone is the same. We aren’t. Each of us have our own ways to be valuable or destructive. What we should be doing, is help each person achieve the best, that is possible from their potential. Not make everyone achieve the same. That’s just stupid. And that’s my toxic opinion.