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Editor’s letter: On little boys and future men

  • “It’s 8:00 and I just broke our last clean bowl, so I told them this is a cool thing called ‘eating family style,’ ” Lauren Gottschalk-Scher captioned this photo on Facebook. Lauren Gottschalk-Scher


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hello, friends!

Like most people, I use social media to share a sanitized version of life — triumphs and pictures that make my legs look long, to be blunt.

I am not fearless enough for true candor, which is why I so thoroughly enjoy the Facebook posts of Lauren Gottschalk-Scher, the mother of three darling and rambunctious boys under eight. Like a 21st-century Erma Bombeck, she tells the truth — the whole truth — about motherhood in all its messy, chaotic glory. She’s not styling-up her laundry room; she’s documenting the sofa with the split upholstery and the foam guts spilling out under the subject #couchwatch2018. Or musing — under a photo of the detritus piled in the footwells beneath her kids’ car seats, that “If we all take one thing inside every time we get out of the car, we could have a clean car in 3 years.”

Then there’s my favorite photo (above) which she posted the night she broke the last clean bowl in the house and, with palpable frustration, presented the kids with a trough-like serving bowl and three forks and, “told them this is a cool thing called ‘eating family style.’ ” Like most of her posts, it made me laugh out loud.

I asked her to share the whole joyous truth of her household, but also her thoughts on the awesome responsibility she feels for raising men who respect women. I think it’s something that a lot of parents of sons are thinking about right now: How do we preserve that boyish sweetness — the totally unselfconscious way the little ones run towards you, arms outstretched, in a bid to be picked up and held? And how do we teach them how essential it is to hold back on their basest desires to protect both themselves and others?

Her boys are wild and indefatigable, to be sure, and she shares how often she feels judged in public and how far an earnest, how can I help? goes. But every one of her brood is notably and exceptionally kind — not necessarily to each other, they are brothers, after all — but in the way they look out for kids who may feel excluded and comfort anyone who’s hurt.

Lauren’s decision to prioritize compassion over cotillion-like comportment is a gutsy, unconventional approach. But the more I think about the insidiousness of polished Teflon choir boys, who say yes ma’am in public but view women, privately, as a subhuman class, the more revolutionary I think it is.

Yours in the struggle,

Katy

klukens@gazettenet.com