Hubby and boys looking over the bay in Malaga, Spain.

I support women in my work as a business advisor, specifically women who want to escape the 9-5 grind and create freedom, control and independent income from running their own business. I offer that because it’s important to me. Without having made this change in my own life I’m not sure if I’d be here at all.

But that’s not my topic today. I’d like to share another, much more important contribution to the betterment and happiness of women, now and in the future, and our endeavour to make the world a better place.

You see we’re raising two young men. These men will contribute to the betterment and happiness of women, and the world, frankly, because they’re not assholes. We raised them to respect people. This includes women. We raised them to be kind to others and animals. We raised them to be polite – (didn’t always stick but you can’t win ém all). We didn’t have lessons about consent, because when you grow up being taught (and expected to display in your own behaviours) basic human values like respect, courtesy, empathy, compassion, kindness, and generally not being a dick, it goes without saying. It just does.

(With that said though, as a sensible, rational parent, seeing all that goes on in the world, and being a fully paid up member of the #MeToo fraternity, I did mention to my eldest son, in no uncertain terms, that if he ever treats a partner badly he WILL suffer my wrath, to which he indignantly responded ”Well duh! As if I would ever Mum!!”).

Now they’re not perfect, these boys, these young men. They have their moments and they’ve had their struggles. I’m so freaking proud of what they’ve overcome (sometimes gracefully and sometimes not) and how they’ve grown and developed, despite their personal challenges and setbacks, and sometimes despite the disgustingly shitty actions of total assholes. My heart gently explodes with love and admiration for them.

(Not to be confused with the times they’ve driven me freaking crazy and made my brain explode with fury over their mess, noise, annoying peristence, and the seriously irritating and shockingly large number of pens they’ve destroyed to make things from the springs.)

These young men will contribute to the betterment and happiness of women, and the world, frankly, because they’re not assholes. We raised them to respect people. This includes women.

I feel proud, and worried. They are good people and they have to navigate a world that we, back in the day, couldn’t even comprehend. Beheadings on the TV news!? School shootings! (How is that even an actual phrase…?) So much unhealthy, degrading and pornographic material, so prolific and so readily available that one has to make a point of blocking it in order not to see it. So much unreliable narrative, bullying, leaders who shouldn’t be leading anything but a line of lemmings, an uncertain future no one really understands. They have a lot to navigate their way through.

It must be frightening, to say the least, to be a young male, coming of age in this time.

We think the big deal is when we bring them into this world, birthing our babies, such a mind-blowing experience, creating another human! But the bigger deal is when we launch them out, into the wider world, beyond our immediate protection and influence, to find their own way, to make their contribution. I like to say, it’s not the wedding that matters, that’s just one day, what matters is the marriage (for the record, got hitched in jeans and bare feet, so far so good…22 years, I’ll keep you posted). Similarly, it’s not the grades your kids get that matter, not really, it’s the person you send into the world and how they treat others that is truly significant.

As they grow older and begin to spread their wings, I offer them – my beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, curious, wonderful and flawed boys – into this world. I hope they find some sweet updrafts on which to coast and glide, enjoying their gifts and talents. I hope they have the confidence, decisiveness and determination to swoop on opportunities to better themselves and others, and I hope they have the guts and grit to weather the storms that may come their way. I hope that they get to experience loving bonds with people who truly ‘get’ them and appreciate them in all their crazy, goofy glory. Those people will be richer for knowing these guys.

So – World – embrace them and remember, this is confusing for them too. Handle them with care, treat them with kindness. They might turn up in your workplace. You might meet them on the street. If you see them in trouble, help them. If they’re lost, guide them. If they mess up, forgive them. When they’re struggling, encourage them. If they’re doing great, applaud them. Remember they are not the enemy. If you’re fortunate enough to know them, hug them, feel blessed and have fun.

One thing I do know for sure is that they will never consiously, deliberately treat a person badly, they will always respect others’ right to consent and they will, and do, make the world a better place, simply by being in it.

Happy International Women’s Day