Last night I scrolled through my feed, one after another of me too. Too many to count. I sat and I read every single one, tears streaming down my face.
My heart broke for those women, teens, girls, sisters, daughters, mothers, friends. My heart broke for them now and for them when it happened. My heart split wide open for all the ones who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, or still felt they shouldn’t speak out. And then my heart shattered, for my two baby girls down the hall. I don’t want them to be me too, to grow up in a world where it takes a Harvey Weinstein or someone like him to create a movement of people no longer afraid to stand and say me too.
Enough is enough. As mamas (and dads) we can start to put an end to the next generation of me too’s. How? We need to start talking, start listening, start creating a safe place for our kids.
We need to teach our sons and daughters now. Not when they head out on a date at sixteen or, god forbid, when they get home. We need to talk about boundaries, and respect, and for the love, parents, we need to talk about sex! Yes, it is awkward and weird but it gets easier and less weird. We need to discuss what is okay and what is definitely not okay. We need to say those hard words. We need to call it what it is and be real and ask what they know. We need to discuss body parts and feelings in a way that doesn’t create shame.
We need to start listening now so that when they have big things they want to tell us or ask us we have already created a safe place for them to share. And when I mean now, I mean now, whether that child is five or fifteen we need to begin to have age-appropriate conversations. When they come to us we need to put down our phones, and look them in their eyes, and give them our full attention. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. We need to start, and never stop, listening.
We need to prove to them we are trustworthy so when it really counts they will come to us and know, KNOW IN THEIR HEART, that no matter what they tell us, we will believe them. We will love them and fight for them. Because we have already been listening and acting on their behalf.
I am in no way saying that the parents of the Harvey Weinstein’s of the world are the guilty ones. Not one bit. What I am saying is that as parents, we can help our daughters and sons navigate through these hard and challenging times. In fact, we are the ones who SHOULD be helping them navigate. Not the one sex ed class in fifth grade, not the sex ed teacher. US. We can do better than the generations before us.
Because if we don’t start talking and listening someone else will. The kid on the bus, the website they stumbled upon, the book they picked up, the girls in the locker room, the boys in the locker room, their best friend, the show, the billboard, the radio ad, the movie, the magazine.
Don’t think it won’t be your son or your daughter. That it won’t be your family, because you are good people, because you go to church, because you love them, because you’ve had the talk. There are too many, me too’s for us to think that any longer.
It’s time we stop being complacent parents. We need to uncross our fingers, and stop hoping for the best. It is time to step up, to have hard conversations, to make time to listen, not just once but multiple times, on-going, never ceasing. We need to take our head out of the sand so that there are no more who can say me too.
This article originally appeared at AlanaDawson.com.