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  • Writer's pictureMarnie Hammar

Raising Expectations for Boys: What if ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ Was a Good Thing?

Updated: May 23, 2023

[Featured on The Joyful Life Magazine blog.]

He grabbed the rungs on the ladder for the big slide when another boy started to pull on him, pushing him down. My firstborn son, maybe 5 years old at the time, looked confused, as this other boy was being plain old mean.


I redirected my son to the monkey bars, but the mean boy pursued him. I redirected again, to the tire swing. The other boy’s mom saw what was happening, and instead of correcting her son, she explained his behavior—and without realizing, also her expectations for boys in general: “What are you gonna do? Boys will be boys.”


Though I’d heard this phrase before, it landed altogether differently that day. I felt sad and confused. And maybe a bit angry. Offered up as an excuse for poor choices or behaviors, these words allow for lowered expectations. Sitting under those four words lies resignation.


But there was more here—and I’ve carried that realization with me ever since. What this mama at the playground was expecting, and what I knew in my heart about my boys didn’t match. God’s design and her expectations don’t work together.


Read the rest at The Joyful Life Magazine.

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