When can we talk about the 'mental violence' that happens to our young boys who are taught that it is wrong, unsafe, and weak to feel and express emotion?
Sixteen-year-old Simar Singh, founder of UnErase Poetry, shines a light on this in his poem "How To Be A Man."
Dedicating the poem to ‘every father, every brother and every son, who wets his pillows so many times and yet he’s woken up just fine’, Singh implores men to break the silence.
His poem challenges the socially constructed notions attached to manhood in order to change the narrative while raising awareness about mental disorders, especially depression.
When our children lack effective means to release emotions - their natural stress relief - they eventually implode or explode.
Sadly, male depression often goes undiagnosed? Why? Because of the same constructs that got them there - the fear of expressing and sharing themselves ... and not even just the fear, but the literal lack of know-how.
Instead of teaching children how to process their emotions and integrate their brains, our messages can hold them captive. And without the means to effectively process emotions, children are more prone to lash out in unhealthy ways or alienate themselves.
But with thought leaders like Singh and other communities that challenge these limiting beliefs, children of all genders are given a voice to feel and be seen.
When we create safe havens for our children to notice, process, and express their full spectrum of emotions, we create space for them to fully be themselves - which is their birthright.
There is nothing weak with feeling. In fact, it is a superpower.
We are here to listen.