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We’re living in a society that in an effort to cut back on violence, we may have gone to the extreme with rules like zero tolerance in schools.

Most men I know have had their fair share of scrapes with other boys by the time they reach adulthood. Granted, my boys aren’t fighters and I wouldn’t want them to be in a school where violence, bullying – physical or verbal – was encouraged. But I do recognize that in the real world, boys and men need to work some things out and there are measures of what should and shouldn’t be tolerated. I don’t know a parent, especially one who is African American, who would tell her or his son not to fight back if a situation turned physical.

My sons are tall for their ages and it scares me to think of what could happen if, in an effort to defend themselves, they were mistakenly seen as the aggressor.

All responsible parents should tell their sons and daughters for that matter to listen to and obey orders from law enforcement, keep their mouths shut and show their hands at all times. That’s just common sense.  But it should be a different story if it’s a boy -to boy or man- to- man altercation.  So, I ask you, what will you tell your sons? To walk away, stand up and fight like a man, or maybe even to kill or be killed if the situation calls for it?

Are we raising our boys to be men…or victims?

What Do We Tell Our Sons?  was originally published on

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